Kristel Smith serves as the Executive Director for Entrepreneur Services at CEDET for the Eastern Region Innovation and Commercialization Network. In her role, Ms. Smith prepares businesses, communities, and industry clusters for strategic growth and development. She creates companies and business models, and integrates innovation and intellectual property to deliver solid financial business positioning and growth.
Kristel is skilled in developing key partnerships, advisory boards, and educational models for startups, businesses, and other organizations. Entrepreneurial in experience and thinking, Kristel connects universities, communities, businesses, and government leaders.
Her educational background includes a bachelor of computer science, an MBA, and an international economics study at the School of Economics in Austria. She completed Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaching and Leadership Institute (Scotland) administered by the University of Kentucky and Venture Capital Institute at Emory University, and is a certified FastTrac Administrator and a facilitator through the Kaufmann Foundation.
Among other accomplishments, her strong background and experience at Procter & Gamble and IBM provide Kristel with a well rounded and exceptional ability to analyze and lead and position organizations for growth and change.
Jason Rainey joined the Kentucky Small Business Development Center at Eastern Kentucky University as Director in 2014 with a passion for the people of east Kentucky and more than a decade of experience in lending environments. He has a diverse background that includes strong experience in financial lending as well as business management consulting and training. His personal experience as a small business owner allows for a unique perspective as he assists SBDC clients with their own business planning and analysis.
During his time with USDA Rural Development, Jason worked in a leadership role with distribution of the American Recovery Reinvestment Act Business & Industry loan program monies, totaling $59.6 million dollars directly invested into Kentucky businesses to save and create jobs. He also served as the lead Business-Cooperative Loan Specialist in Eastern Kentucky serving 23 counties.
Jason earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and a Master in Business Administration from Morehead State University and currently serves as President-Elect of the MSU Alumni Association, Inc. He is a former Board of Regents member and Student Government President at Morehead State University and former gubernatorial appointee for the State Board for Proprietary Education. Jason resides in Lexington.