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NKU Creates the Collaborative
for Economic Engagement

New space connects entrepreneurs, businesses to data, talent and capital.

NKU log Collaborative for Economic Engagement
Group Shot: (L to R) Regent Lee Scheben, Dr. David Schneider, President Ashish Vaidya, 
Matt Hollenkamp with St. Elizabeth, and Covington Mayor Joe Meyer
Collaborative for Economic Engagement logo

Sept. 10, 2020 —  Northern Kentucky University and the City of Covington unveil the Collaborative for Economic Engagement, a one-stop innovation hub for businesses and entrepreneurs to accelerate economic growth in the area. The university and city leaders celebrated the new space with an official ribbon cutting on Sept. 10 at the Pike St. location.

The Collaborative for Economic Engagement will leverage regional agencies and programs as well as NKU's expertise in data analytics, health, logistics and entrepreneurial innovation to provide the tools that entrepreneurs need to thrive. Given the financial impacts of the pandemic, the Collaborative for Economic Engagement will play an essential role in helping the local economy move from recovery into growth.

"A key element of NKU’s economic engagement strategy is to catalyze a prosperous, equitable, and inclusive regional ecosystem through economic development and entrepreneurship,” said NKU President Ashish Vaidya. "NKU, Covington and other regional partners created the Collaborative for Economic Engagement to support local entrepreneurs and small businesses. This will serve as a gateway to NKU's resources and expertise while building on our legacy of being a steward of place."

NKU is utilizing Covington's Innovation Alley space at 112 West Pike St. for the Collaborative for Economic Engagement to create a "front door" and one-stop for entrepreneurial engagement and outreach, counseling and mentorship, and programming and education. It will facilitate easy connections to what entrepreneurs need: access to data, access to talent, and access to capital.

“We’re thrilled to welcome NKU and its expertise and talent back into Covington and look forward to the center on Pike Street becoming a regional hub for not only entrepreneurship and innovation but also the broader business sector,” said Covington Mayor Joe Meyer. “Covington has long been a proud supporter of small businesses and believes the Collaborative will supercharge the exciting energy that’s long been a hallmark of Innovation Alley.”

The Collaborative for Economic Engagement also plans to expand the regional services into rural counties by developing an extension located on the NKU Grant County campus. The Covington space is NKU's first expansion from its main Highland Heights campus since the Grant County Center's creation in 1998.

If you have questions or want more information on the Collaborative, contact Valerie Hardcastle, NKU’s Institute for Health Innovation executive director, at or David Schneider, NKU’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship director, at

About NKU: Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 15,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit