The report highlights 10 successful grant projects as case studies, demonstrating the impact of the strategies used to address community challenges.
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 19, 2023—A new report released today shows that Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) investments in business development projects facilitated the creation or retainment of 29,352 jobs and the establishment of 1,944 new businesses in the Appalachian region. Additionally, ARC’s business development grant projects attracted $923 million in private investment to the region, resulting in increased economic opportunity for its 26.3 million residents.
“While there is still much work to be done to bring economic parity to the entire Appalachian region, I am proud of the progress across our 13 states as a result of ARC’s business development grants,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “As we look forward, I believe that Appalachia will continue to be a leader in this country as our job training and entrepreneurship opportunities develop and expand. I’m eager to see all the growth the future holds for the region’s 26 million residents.”
The 220 ARC business development projects evaluated in Making Connections for Stronger Businesses and Resilient Communities: Evaluation of ARC Business Development Grants Closed Between 2017–2021 addressed challenges in their regions in a variety of ways. Some include:
- Making connections with people and organizations that are committed to creating vibrant futures for the communities they serve
- Devising new strategies to attract capital into rural areas in need of investment
- Breaking down barriers to employment
- Leveraging technology to increase access to existing and new markets.
“In Kentucky, and across Appalachia, ARC funds are bringing jobs and opportunities to our people,” said ARC 2023 States’ Co-Chair, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. “ARC funds are helping our students learn trades, improving infrastructure, making our communities safer, and bringing jobs and investment to the region. These targeted grant funds are building a brighter future for families across Appalachia.”
Eighty-five percent of grant projects were reported as being entirely or mostly successful, and 66% of projects have continued beyond the close of their grant, demonstrating sustainability and continuing impact.
In the report, grantees describe long-term impacts of their projects, such as increased awareness or enhanced reputation for their projects that extended their reach to new populations; new partnerships and community connections that brought new capacities to the projects; new ways to leverage technology to support rural entrepreneurs; stronger entrepreneur ecosystems; and community improvements that increased community pride. Grantees with case studies in the report include:
- Hatfield McCoy Regional Recreation Authority
- Wayne County Business Technology Enterprise Center, PA
- Garrett County Government, MD
- Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, Inc., GA
- The Behrend College Northwest Pennsylvania Innovation Beehive Network, PA
- LindenPointe Development Corporation, PA
- Coalfield Development Corporation, WV
- PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship Inc., PA
- Mountain BizWorks, NC
- Rainsource Capital, Inc.
About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development entity of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.