In what was once an abandoned furniture store, the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) is operating an internationally recognized, high-impact program for Appalachian entrepreneurs. YBI was founded in 2001 and has since developed successful digital businesses, strengthened women and minority entrepreneurship, and furthered advanced manufacturing technologies in Ohio’s Mahoning Valley. In fact, their team raised $63 million in capital and generated $7 million in revenue as of 2020.
ARC funding has played a role in this growth, primarily through the purchase and installation of equipment used by both entrepreneurs and Youngstown State University engineering students. Now, thanks to a $1.35 million POWER grant awarded in March 2022, YBI is expanding their support services to seven counties in Northeastern Ohio.
Their “Lake to River Small Business Success” project will help Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) access capital, develop business plans, adopt advanced technologies to enhance operations, and more. YBI’s strategies for distributing this support include technical assistance workshops and “tech enabling,” business counseling, bootcamps, and more.
As part of the announcement of $21 million to 21 POWER projects, ARC partnered with YBI to host a roundtable discussion of new and seasoned POWER grantees at America Makes.
YBI is one of many ARC POWER grantees using entrepreneurship to build Appalachian businesses and transform coal-impacted communities. We’re proud to support their efforts to make business incubation accessible by providing tools to be successful.
ARC’s POWER Initiative is awarding approximately $25 million in grants to projects that help diversify economies in Appalachian communities affected by the downturn of the coal industry. Applications will be accepted through April 29, 2022. Learn more and apply today.