On October 6, 2021, ARC presented our annual conference, Appalachia Envisioned: A New Era of Opportunity, to more than 500 Appalachians. At the conference, we unveiled ARC’s new strategic plan, which will turn feedback from community conversations, focus groups, and a public survey into actionable investment strategies that emphasize Appalachia’s strengths and will help communities overcome economic challenges.
The virtual conference, co-hosted with the Commonwealth of Virginia, also featured ARC partners who work daily to strengthen Appalachia through sectors like outdoor recreation, entrepreneurship development, and leadership and community capacity. We are excited to share their stories with you all here!
Appalachia Envisioned: A Conversation to Kickoff a New Era
Preserving and Promoting Our Region’s Nature and Culture
Appalachian communities of any size can find economic opportunity in the outdoors. To fully reap benefits, communities must plan holistically. Vibrant downtowns with food and lodging, infrastructure, and preservation are all key to a thriving tourism ecosystem. Learn more about outdoor recreation planning in this session, so your community can create jobs, attract new businesses, and increase quality of life for community members.
Sparking Innovation through Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
Entrepreneurship is a critical pathway to economic opportunity in Appalachia. To help entrepreneurs thrive, communities need environments that cultivate creativity, equip startups with necessary tools, and provide access to capital. Beyond traditional business development, panelists show how impact investors and supporting technical assistance providers find new ways to measure return on investment and build sustainable non-profits by supporting social enterprises.
Inspiring Strength with Leadership and Community Capacity
Behind strong communities are passionate leaders with the capacity to innovate, collaborate, and create change. ARC’s Appalachian Leadership Institute was designed to help leaders, from all walks of life, develop those skills. During this session, hear how program alumni are using leadership skills and capacity-building strategies to strengthen their Appalachian communities.