Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

May 16, 2014

Business grant

MSU graduate starting her own high-tech pursuit

ASHLAND — Morehead State graduate student Kayla Keeton, who received her undergraduate degree from MSU last spring and is now studying for her MBA at the school, has received a $5,111 grant from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to help her start Belles of the Bluegrass, a high-tech wedding planning business.

While professional wedding planners have been around for decades, Keeton hopes her use of technology will distinguish her business from most other wedding planners. For example, she plans to use Skype to allow those unable to attend the wedding to participate electronically and even greet the bride, groom and wedding guests. They won’t be able to touch each other, but they will be able to see and talk with each other as time permits.

Morehead State was one of 10 colleges and universities participating in the seventh annual Idea State U competition at the Lexington Center. The contest is designed to identify and support the next generation of Kentucky innovators and entrepreneurs.

While still an undergraduate student, Keeton and classmate Beth Richmond of Rowan County developed a precursor of her plan as an undergraduate project. Her grant-writing plan built on that class project but was considerably more complex and detailed startup costs and projections for spending and revenue.

Statistics tell us many new businesses fail, often within the first year, and Keeton’s selection as an outstanding young and innovative entrepreneur and the small grant she has received certainly do not guarantee  Belles of the Bluegrass will be successful. But there are reasons to believe it will be.

For one thing, Keeton comes from a family of small business owners. Her father, Dwight Keeton, owns Bear Traxx Construction in Louisa, and her uncle, Tony Grimm, owns the construction company founded by Keeton’s grandfather, Foster J. Grimm. Keeton can just turn to her father and uncle for sound, practical advice on owning and operating a small business, even though construction companies and wedding planners may seem to have little in common.

Just as important, Keeton is not starting her new business on a whim. She has carefully studied the market and put together a business plan good enough to impress the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. That’s impressive and solid evidence Kayla Keeton is a young lady who not only has dreams but has a plan to realize those dreams. While she is from Louisa, Keeton plans to start her business in Morehead where many MSU students fall in love and begin planning for their wedding. Keeton hopes to capitalize on that potential market.

We congratulate Kayla Keeton on her grant and wish her well in business.The time is near for her to turn her childhood dream into reality.

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