Young entrepreneurs blazing a path in East Ky.

Johnathan Gay

April 16, 2014

A pair of announcements this week highlights the entrepreneurial talent in the eastern half of Kentucky.

In Clark County, Martin County native Briand Endicott announced a new effort to promote his planned distillery. Endicott will appeal to the 3.5 million households of Fox 29’s The Crowd Funder Show. The show, broadcast to viewers in New York and Canada, will air sometime this summer and is positioned to help small businesses raise funds.

Consider Endicott’s philosophy:

Promoting Kentucky, his heritage, and the legacy of Daniel Boone, Endicott hopes to bring more attention and focus to his efforts to raise the funds he needs for the distillery to open in early fall in Winchester, Kentucky.

A native of the area, Endicott is passionate about Kentucky’s heritage and has based his brand on the tale of Lulbegrud Creek and Daniel Boone. Boone, who first explored the bluegrass region of Kentucky in 1769, used Lulbegrud Creek as his winter camp and expressed his pleasure with the area calling it, “the beautiful level of Kentucky.” Endicott’s own family heritage is also historic to the Commonwealth and the United States. The first Endecott on record in the US was John Endecott, the first Governor of the Colony of Massachusetts. Endicott is also a McCoy descendant of the storied Hatfield and McCoy feud. While emphasizing his heritage Endicott also hopes to promote cleaner and more sustainable products.

“It’s not just about making a product,” Endicott notes, “It’s about telling a story that needs to be told and creating a moonshine and bourbon that is clean and simple, the way moonshine and bourbon used to be made, with Organic and non-GMO grains.”

Endicott plans to use his product to promote Appalachia and its native fruit species. “No one is using these native fruits. I believe that working with local growers, I will have a moonshine that is uniquely Kentuckian and especially Appalachian!” (From his Press Release)

A second release from another client of the Kentucky Innovation Network highlighted a different sort of business: manufacturing. Shane Wallingford is a native of Tollesboro, Lewis County, Kentucky. He cut the ribbon on a new factory that’s already employing 10 new workers.

A group of nearly 100 citizens were on hand in Lewis County to cut a ribbon formally launching JSB Industrial Solutions, Inc. Wallingford launched JSB to manufacture “ball mills”, machines used to pulverize heavy substances into powder. Ultimately, these mineral powders are used in applications such as mortar, cement, pigments for paints, coal for furnaces and limestone for slurry applications.

Wallingford recently completed his Master’s degree at Morehead State in Engineering Management. He pursued an ambition to become an entrepreneur and own his own business while completing his degree and working in diverse fields such as mining machinery, paper making equipment, and fabrication industries.

Both cases involve young owners busy with another career but intent on becoming entrepreneurs. If our EKY economy is to change, we’ll need more stories such as these. The Kentucky Innovation Network can help.

Johnathan Gay is the Director of the Kentucky Innovation Network office at Morehead State University. He provides free business consulting services to East Kentucky entrepreneurs. He has worked with both the above businesses. To learn more, visit www.kyinnovation.com and contact Gay.