Entrepreneurship and Business Development

Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia

A High School Shark Tank in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia

“Revolutionary Unique” was one of the many businesses pitched at the Dare to DreamCompetition for high school students in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Creating a brighter economic future for Appalachia means investing in leadership skills and capacity of young doers, thinkers and leaders today. That’s why ARC…
Investment in Action
Ohio

Athens

Ohio University’s Innovation Center: Incubating Appalachia’s Biotech Startups

Behind every thriving community is small business. Behind a lot of successful small businesses are incubators, which provide the support and resources startups need to succeed. For 38 years, Ohio University’s award-winning Innovation Center (IC) has offered much-needed space for Appalachian Ohio’s innovators, helping them bring…
Investment in Action
Georgia

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs: Supporting Businesses of All Backgrounds

For over 20 years, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) has empowered entrepreneurship in Appalachian Georgia through small business loans to candidates who might otherwise be overlooked. ACE’s founder, Grace Fricks, is a former social worker, who made it the organization’s mission to target support to women, people of…
Investment in Action
West Virginia

Boone

The Natural Capital Investment Fund: A Path To Success

In 2016, the Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIFund) partnered with the Hatfield McCoy Trail Authority and Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College (Southern) to drive recreational tourism development in the coalfields of southern West Virginia. Through ARC POWER funding, the partners launched a revolving loan…
Investment in Action
Ohio

Athens

ACEnet: Building Ohio’s Hardwood Sector

Since 1985, the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet), based in Athens County Ohio, has held steadfast to its mission of growing the regional economy in 32 Appalachian Ohio counties by supporting entrepreneurs and local sector growth. With ARC support ARCnet operates the Food Venture Center in Athens, and Business…
Investment in Action
EdVenture Group's SWEEP Program in WV
West Virginia

Calhoun

SWEEP: Training West Virginia’s Entrepreneurs

“About 80% of West Virginia businesses have 20 or less employees,” said Alyssa Keedy, the Advanced Career Education Coordinator at the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE). Why is that the case? One reason is a disconnect between West Virginia workers and the skills needed by local employers. With many…
Investment in Action
West Virginia

Benefit U Built for West Virginia’s Entrepreneurs

From 2005 to 2015, 94% of the national job growth in the U.S. was in self-employed/independent contracting positions. The Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER)’s launched the Benefit U project in West Virginia, in partnership…
Investment in Action
West Virginia

Appalachia’s Hardwoods Branch Out

ARC investments in West Virginia’s hardwoods manufacturing sector allow for entrepreneurs to receive the support they need in producing/marketing hardwoods goods, and for the development of a hardwoods industry strategic plan.  In 2018 and 2019, ARC helped support entrepreneurs in the production and marketing of value-added hardwoods manufactured goods, the…
Investment in Action
Georgia

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs Helps Small Businesses in Georgia During COVID-19

TJ Kaikobad and his wife, Danielle, of Cyra’s Simple Goodness Restaurant in Dalton, Georgia, recently received ACE’s Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award.Photo courtesy of Erik Voss With ARC support, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) in Cleveland, Georgia, is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) providing access to capital and business…
Investment in Action
South Carolina

Spartanburg

Sparks Center SC: Launching local businesses

Since its conception in 2005, Sparks Center SC, located on the Spartanburg Community College Tyger River campus in Duncan, South Carolina, has specialized in business incubation, soft landings, workforce employment services, and special projects which assists in spurring economic development. Between 2009-2019, the Sparks Center has worked with over 100…
Investment in Action
West Virginia

Summers

Sprouting Farms: Growing West Virginia’s Local Food Economy

First conceptualized in 2014, Sprouting Farms’ mission is to help farmers realize economic opportunities in the New and Greenbrier River Valleys by accessing land and capital, building assets, and developing successful business plans. . 2016, with support via ARC’s POWER Initiative to diversify the Region’s coal-impacted communities, The New River…
Investment in Action
Virginia

Montgomery

Appalachian Community Capital: Investing in the Investors

With COVID-19 related funding from ARC, ACC was able to support the Parkway Theater’s renovation and survival through the pandemic. Access to capital is one of the biggest obstacles to small business and entrepreneurial growth in Appalachia. In 2013, with seed money from ARC and other partners, Appalachian Community…
Investment in Action
Brick building repurposed from school into working kitchen
Virginia

Montgomery

New River Valley Regional Commission: New Vision in Prices Fork, Virginia

The New River Valley Regional Commission, a local development district in Appalachian Virginia, is using ARC support to renovate an unused school building in the rural Prices Fork area into a multi-use commercial and housing facility via a partnership with over 20 other public and private partners. The ARC funded…
Investment in Action
Man in blue polo works on computer
Tennessee

Hamilton

LaunchTN: Investing in Tennessee’s Entrepreneurs

LaunchTN —  a public-private partnership focusing on early-stage capital formation, market access, commercialization resources, talent development and retention for entrepreneurs across the state — has stood up eight Entrepreneurship Centers in Tennessee. With ARC support, three of these centers are dedicated to assist Appalachian entrepreneurs as they develop business plans,…
Investment in Action
Three individuals work on computers in office lobby
Ohio

Mahoning

The Youngstown Business Center: Ohio’s Additive Manufacturing Sector Blooms

Founded in 2001 in what was an abandoned furniture store in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, The Youngstown Business Center (YBI) has since grown into a sophisticated multi-building campus offering comprehensive services to Mahoning Valley’s entrepreneurial and added manufacturing business sectors. By 2015, YBI was recognized as the number one high impact…
Investment in Action