A weekly email from the Appalachian Regional Commission
In the Region: A weekly snapshot of news, announcements, and other tidbits from the Appalachian Regional Commission
ARC NEWS ROUNDUP  |  October 4, 2018  |  VOLUME 3, ISSUE 39


ARC Spotlight Image offers data about entrepreneurial dynamism across the Region and in each of Appalachia’s 420 counties.

New Research and Resources Available to Appalachia’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Research released this week by ARC finds that while there are marginally more high-growth companies in Appalachia compared to the rest of the country (1.7 percent in Appalachia in comparison to 1.5 percent in the country), there are slightly fewer stage 2 companies in the Region in comparison to the rest of the country (15.3 percent in Appalachia compared to 15.6 percent in the country). However, Appalachia lags behind the country when it comes to new businesses. Just over 26 percent of the Region’s companies are considered startups whereas nearly 31 percent of companies in the rest of the country are considered startups. Metrics about startups, high growth companies, and stage 2 companies are a way to measure entrepreneurial ecosystem dynamism.

Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Appalachia, conducted in partnership with EntreWorks Consulting, the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, and the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship includes three distinct reports and a companion online resource dashboard. The first report outlines seven core elements necessary for a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem: market access, capital, talent, business assistance, specialized infrastructure and facilities, community culture, and regulatory/government support. The second report analyzes these core elements and measures entrepreneurial dynamism in eight Appalachian communities: Asheville, North Carolina; Athens, Ohio; Cattaraugus County, New York; Chattanooga, Tennessee; New River Gorge/Greenbrier Valley, West Virginia; The Shoals, Alabama; Garrett County, Maryland; and Southwest Virginia. The third report offers recommendations to support future economic development across the Region. A companion website at documents and compares entrepreneurial dynamism in each of Appalachia’s 420 counties, and includes a working inventory of over 1,000 support services available to entrepreneurs across the Region.

“Entrepreneurs diversify local economies and help make communities more resilient and dynamic. This is why fostering entrepreneurial growth is one of ARC’s priorities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas at a press conference yesterday at the Olean Business Development Corp with other entrepreneurial leaders from Cattaraugus County. “There is no good reason why the next world-changing entrepreneur can’t come from Appalachia. These resources can help make that happen.”


ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas (left) discusses how reliable broadband is helping small businesses like Rodgers & Sons stay competitive.

Broadband Brightens Cherry Creek, New York

For years, businesses in Cherry Creek, a small town (population 440) in New York’s Chautauqua County, had a big problem. If a customer came in with a question, wanted to place an order, or was ready for a purchase, the business’ internet connection might not be ready for them. Satellite-based connections were sensitive to changing weather patterns, and could easily be disrupted by a storm or even a cloudy day. Hotspot connections, which came with data caps and extra fees, were equally unstable. This was the experience of Cherry Creek's Rodgers & Sons, a 35-year-old family business specializing in snowmobiles and other winter weather equipment. Without reliable internet, they often lost sales and missed out on other business development opportunities.

The Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development Board recognized the impact unreliable internet access was having on businesses in the community. Spotty internet was also preventing students from doing homework, families from accessing health care and other services, and workers from being productive. Using ARC support, Southern Tier West commissioned a feasibility study to determine the best broadband options for the community. With that analysis, Southern Tier West partnered with a local provider to bring broadband to Cherry Creek and the surrounding areas. Now, in addition to Rodgers & Sons, over 200 other local businesses, residences, and institutions have reliable, strong broadband service. Plans are in the works for infrastructure expansion, which could bring an additional 300–400 customers online. “This is a quality of life issue,” said Southern Tier West Executive Director Richard Zink. “It gives hope to small businesses and others.”


ARC Seeks Proposals to Create the Appalachian Leadership Institute

Help create the Appalachian Leadership Institute! ARC is accepting proposals from partners to develop a leadership program preparing state and local leaders to work for future improvements in the Region. Proposals due October 19, 2018. Read the RFP.

ARC Seeks Proposals to Complete the Development of Web-Based Grant Management System 

ARC is seeking proposals from qualified developers and/or companies to complete the development of its existing custom hybrid grant management system (ARCnet) into a fully web-based grant management system with an end-to-end electronic process. Proposals due November 16, 2018. Read the RFP.


Hart County Fiscal Court Receives Nearly $214k for Water Line Expansion, Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, Kentucky

Warren-Based Incubator is Showing Some Energy, Crain’s Cleveland Business, Cleveland, Ohio

'Small Towns' Project Moves Forward in Henry County, Martinsville Bulletin, Collinsville, Virginia

How to Rewrite a Region’s Story, Pacific Standard Magazine

Embracing My Eastern Kentucky Roots Gave Me Strength, Purpose (Op-ED), Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington, Kentucky


Sustainable Management of Rural and Small Systems Regional Workshop
Morehead, Kentucky
October 11

Small Communities, BIG Solutions Conference
South Charleston, West Virginia
October 22–23

7th TransTech Energy (TTE) Business Development Conference
Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
October 23–24

Partnerships and Pathways for Progress Conference
Monaca, Pennsylvania
November 1–2
Map of the Appalachian Region

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 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.
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