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KY innovation - State update

Anthony Ellis
KY Innovation, Acting Executive Director

Anthony Ellis serves as both General Counsel for the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Executive Director of KY Innovation.


KY Innovation is responsible for preparing Kentucky for the economy of the future. Its programs and operations include, among others: 


  • Statewide partnerships such as Kentucky Commercialization Ventures, the KY Innovation Hubs, and the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation
  • The SBIR/STTR Match program
  • Venture and seed investment programs
  • The Kentucky Angel Investment Act and Kentucky Investment Fund Act tax credit programs
  • Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit and Kentucky Small Business Credit Initiative, 
  • The STEP export initiative
  • KYPTAC, which aids Kentucky businesses in obtaining government contracts
  • The Opportunity Zone program


In his role as General Counsel, Ellis manages a wide range of complex matters on behalf of the Cabinet, as well as the Cabinet's legislative affairs agenda. His responsibilities include developing policies and procedures, managing and negotiating contracts, handling government procurement and drafting RFI/RFP, providing board governance for the Cabinet's various public and public/private boards and commissions, drafting and advocating for legislation, addressing HR and risk management issues, managing outside counsel activities, and handling all litigation on behalf of the Cabinet and its related entities.


Ellis is a member of the Bar in New York and Kentucky. Prior to joining the Cabinet, Ellis worked for law firms in New York and Louisville, including representing the Commonwealth against Perdue Pharma for its role in the opioid epidemic. He also worked in private practice representing clients in a wide range of corporate and litigation matters that included counseling companies throughout their life cycle from creation to growth decisions, capital infusions, sale, and wind downs.  Ellis also has experience as an entrepreneur, starting and supporting his own businesses throughout his career. 


He supports numerous charities within the community, is an advisory board member of Northeast YMCA in Louisville, and previously served on the board of Brightside, Inc. and Doctors and Lawyers for Kids.


Ellis lives in Louisville with his wife Laura, their daughter Ainsley and their dog Bella.

2021 State of Innovation Annual Address and 2022 Outlook