September Lunch: The AppHarvest Story

Venture Connectors was pleased to welcome Matt Gosnell, Vice President of Development for AppHarvest., as the keynote for our September lunch. He shared how he’s helping to efforts to scale the Morehead, Ky.-based controlled-environment-agriculture company to 12 indoor farms by the end of 2025. AppHarvest went public in February 2020 via a merger with Novus Capital Corp., special […]

Venture Connectors was pleased to welcome Matt Gosnell, Vice President of Development for AppHarvest., as the keynote for our September lunch. He shared how he’s helping to efforts to scale the Morehead, Ky.-based controlled-environment-agriculture company to 12 indoor farms by the end of 2025.

AppHarvest went public in February 2020 via a merger with Novus Capital Corp., special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), for $475 million. Matt talked about some of the challenges the company has faced in its early days as a publicly traded company. He also shared other milestones in the past year, including the acquisition of robotics company Root AI and the groundbreakings on its fourth and fifth facilities.

Prior to joining AppHarvest, Matt worked in municipal finance in Chicago, management training and conflict resolution in South America, and most recently as Project Developer for a U.S. Department of Defense office responsible for reducing costs through renewable energy programs. Matt oversaw projects with investments exceeding $250 million and covering more than 1,000 acres. Matt received his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Kentucky and holds a master’s degree in international relations from Columbia University.

Dec. 2 Virtual Lunch: The Reconstruct Challenge

Venture Connectors was pleased to feature Bryce Butler and Mallory Sanborn with Access Ventures at our December virtual lunch. They gave an update on the organization’s Reconstruct Challenge, a regional prize competition that’s testing local and national innovative solutions to solve social and economic inequities within our community. One of the competition’s winners, mRelief, was the event’s Featured Startup. […]

Venture Connectors was pleased to feature Bryce Butler and Mallory Sanborn with Access Ventures at our December virtual lunch. They gave an update on the organization's Reconstruct Challenge, a regional prize competition that's testing local and national innovative solutions to solve social and economic inequities within our community. One of the competition's winners, mRelief, was the event's Featured Startup. Founder Zareena Meyn shared how the nonprofit is helping to restore dignity by transforming access to social services.

A Louisville-based private operating foundation, Access Ventures launched the Reconstruct Challenge over a year ago. Through this prize competition, it awarded $300,000 each to six innovations that are working to increase access to affordable housing in Louisville and Southern Indiana. This unique approach took the risk of funding ideas that had yet to be tested in our region. With an unexpected pandemic, that risk grew even more. At the December lunch, Butler and Sanborn talked about what they've learned, the impact the innovations have had so far, and what's to come.

Before starting Access Ventures, Butler was the Executive Director of the BlueSky Network, a venture philanthropy family office in Southern Indiana with activities around the world in microfinance, clean energy, sustainable agriculture, mobile payments, and entrepreneurship/innovation. Butler was also the Executive Producer of a documentary about poverty, gang violence, and those trying to chart a new path through dance set in Guatemala City that premiered at the United Nations in April 2014 called BBOY for Life. Previously, Butler worked in Organizational Design & Development at a global manufacturing company and served as an Executive Pastor at one of the 50 fastest growing churches in the United States. Following graduation from Iowa State University, he served on active duty for four years as a Captain with the U.S. Army. He has a master’s degree in theology and a bachelor’s degree in economics.

Sanborn is a Senior Associate at Access Ventures, leading initiatives around affordable housing and equitable employment. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double major in economics and global studies and a minor in entrepreneurship. Sanborn previously worked with Social Entrepreneur Corps in Guatemala, where she served on a team of eight people focused on developing logistical models, expanding market segments, and creating sales strategies to target consumers within a six-hour radius of Antigua. After that, she worked at Village Capital, an impact fund focused on finding, training, and investing in entrepreneurs working in markets typically overlooked by investment capital, which led her to her current role at Access Ventures.

November Virtual Lunch: Social Entrepreneurship for a World in Need

At our November event, Colleen and Maggie Clines, sisters and co-founders of Louisville-based Anchal Project, shared their story of social entrepreneurship, and how it is helping to change the world. Anchal Project is a nonprofit social enterprise that addresses the exploitation of women by creating opportunities that support empowerment. Anchal’s one-of-a-kind pieces have been featured in The Guggenheim Museum, Madewell, Anthropologie, Vogue and Better Homes […]

At our November event, Colleen and Maggie Clines, sisters and co-founders of Louisville-based Anchal Projectshared their story of social entrepreneurship, and how it is helping to change the world. Anchal Project is a nonprofit social enterprise that addresses the exploitation of women by creating opportunities that support empowerment. Anchal’s one-of-a-kind pieces have been featured in The Guggenheim MuseumMadewellAnthropologieVogue and Better Homes & Gardens. The organization has provided nearly 500 exploited women with alternative careers in textiles and design since it was founded in 2010.

Colleen, CEO, values how design can become the tool for sustainable solutions to gender inequality, social injustice and environmental degradation. She combines this passion as a social entrepreneur and impact designer through her work at Anchal. Colleen leads the overall strategic and operational planning for Anchal’s programs, partnerships, expansion and execution of its mission.

A Louisville native with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Kentucky, Colleen earned her master’s in landscape architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2013, she was named one of Public Interest Design’s Top Global 100 designers, one of Louisville Business First’s 2016 Forty under 40, and earned the 2017 NAWBO Humanitarian Award.

Maggie, COO and Creative Director, spearheads Anchal's design aesthetic and product development. Responsible for visually communicating Anchal's story through creative content, she has successfully developed, designed and grown the organization into an internationally recognized brand. Maggie passionately manages Anchal's production and product design oversight, facilitating the success of multiple custom collaborations and innovative design solutions.

Maggie holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from UK and shares Colleen’s belief that design can be the catalyst for social innovation. She believes education is the first step to creating positive change; her drive for social impact started at a young age and guided her through design school.

Both have shared Anchal’s story through numerous speaking engagements, with Colleen focusing on Anchal’s mission and design-thinking model, while Maggie focuses on Anchal's unique, socially conscious business model.

November Lunch: Portland Revitalization Update

At our November lunch, Portland Investment Initiative founder Gill Holland gave an update on the historic neighborhood, including an announcement about a 24-unit affordable housing project called Montgomery Street Apartments that will be opening soon. Holland also led a lively discussion with a panel of business leaders, including Mike Mays of Heine Brothers’ Coffee, Farm […]

At our November lunch, Portland Investment Initiative founder Gill Holland gave an update on the historic neighborhood, including an announcement about a 24-unit affordable housing project called Montgomery Street Apartments that will be opening soon. Holland also led a lively discussion with a panel of business leaders, including Mike Mays of Heine Brothers’ Coffee, Farm to Fork Catering’s Sherry Hurley and Ben Smock of Canopy on Portland's progress in the past few years. Read all about it in Business First here and on WAVE3's website here.

Thanks to our panel for sharing their expertise and insights about doing business in Louisville!
 

June Lunch: The Business of Doing Good

At our June lunch, Fund for the Arts President and CEO Christen McDonough Boone and Metro United Way Chief Development Officer David Lopez talked with a “room of disruptors” about how their organizations are leaning into the changing business landscape in unique ways. They discussed why businesses must address our community’s social needs, arguing that […]

At our June lunch, Fund for the Arts President and CEO Christen McDonough Boone and Metro United Way Chief Development Officer David Lopez talked with a “room of disruptors” about how their organizations are leaning into the changing business landscape in unique ways. They discussed why businesses must address our community’s social needs, arguing that people move to a region for a job but they stay because of culture and a healthy ecosystem. Click here to read more in Insider Louisville!

Fund for the Arts is the regional arts agency that raises $9 million annually through a united arts campaign, drives arts access, education and innovation throughout the region, and supports more than 100 organizations, artists and initiatives. Boone led the creation and implementation of the community’s cultural plan, Imagine Greater Louisville 2020, released in 2017. Before joining the Fund for the Arts, she served in leadership roles for some of the country’s most treasured cultural institutions. She has raised more than $250 million for regional nonprofit organizations, including Actors Theatre of Louisville, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Cincinnati’s Fine Arts Fund and The Parklands of Floyds Fork. She served as Director of the Greater Louisville Project and founded the Boone Group, coaching and consulting in nonprofit and community development. Boone also serves as the Chair of the national Private Sector Council for the Americans for the Arts, and locally on the board of Greater Louisville Inc., Louisville Downtown Partnership, Center for Nonprofit Excellence, Arts and Cultural Alliance, the Governors Scholars Program and as Chair of the GSP Foundation.

Metro United Way is committed to changing lives in our community by fighting for the education, financial stability and health of every person in Bullitt, Jefferson, Oldham and Shelby counties in Kentucky and Clark, Floyd and Harrison Counties in Indiana. Prior to joining Metro United Way, Lopez was the founding Executive Director of Teach For America – San Diego, where he partnered with local philanthropists and business leaders to start the Teach For Innovation Awards – a set of prizes that recognized the most innovative education practices in the region. He got his start in the nonprofit sector in 2008, leading an education outreach program for United Farm Workers, an organization started by Cesar Chavez. Before transitioning to nonprofits, David spent nearly a decade as a technical sales and marketing professional – a career that took him all across the country, including to Louisville for the first time back in 2006.