New “Startup Appalachia” Entrepreneurship Effort to Help Align Development Efforts of Public and Private Grant Makers
On November 8, 2011, ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl and USDA Rural Development Undersecretary Doug O'Brien met with state Rural Development directors from Central Appalachia, ARC representatives, and members of the Appalachia Funders Network steering committee in Abingdon, Virginia, to discuss a new entrepreneurship effort called Startup Appalachia. Inspired by the Obama administration's Startup America initiative, Startup Appalachia is envisioned as a framework to help align and coordinate the efforts of public and private grant makers to promote economic development in Appalachia. By leveraging new funding partnerships, the initiative may dramatically increase the impact partners have on Appalachia's economy. Current areas in which partners have opportunities to align their efforts include entrepreneurship education; angel investment networks; food systems; energy; and health care.
The meeting was hosted by the Appalachia Funders Network, a group of public and private grant makers working together to invest in and foster economic development in Central Appalachia.