LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A local investment firm wants to help people looking to start businesses in Kentuckiana. 

Access Ventures announced Wednesday that it has created Render Capital, a $15 million regional fund to provide capital to local entrepreneurs during startups' early risk stage — a time when some don't appeal to banks.

"A place that entrepreneurs have typically gone is what's called a community developing financing institution, which is a CDFI," said Bryce Butler, a managing partner with Access Ventures. "The Saint Louis Federal Reserve Bank did a study and found there should be at least 6 CDFIs in our market. And today, there are about 1.5."

Access Ventures also announced it was launching Render Competition, an annual competition that will award eight startups an investment of $100,000 each to help them grow.

"The competition will focus on innovation, scalability, and the potential for a significant regional impact," the company said in a news release. "We want to add to what works well in Greater Louisville and spark progress within our sectors of focus.

"For this reason, we especially encourage applications from businesses working to solve problems and innovate within the following key verticals: advanced manufacturing, health innovation, food and beverage, logistics, and technology including artificial intelligence, data science, and internet of things."

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