Growing Economic Opportunities in Appalachia

Entrepreneurship and business development are cornerstones of the Appalachian economy. Creating opportunity across a variety of existing and emerging industries and sectors helps communities increase their resilience during periods of transition. To fuel the Region’s economic expansion, ARC focuses on the entrepreneurial ecosystem by investing in, and nurturing the growth of, business technical assistance programs. These programs increase access to capital and offer other support services for Appalachia’s entrepreneurs in sectors like local food, agriculture, outdoor recreation, advanced forest products, small manufacturing and more. We also cultivate economic opportunities by investing in local and regional assets with growth potential to offer quality jobs for the Region’s workers.

ARC has supported small startups and internationally competitive manufacturing facilities; neighborhood retailers and global exporters; and emerging entrepreneurs and advanced business clusters. Each investment leverages additional support from public and private sector partners, propelling economic opportunities across the Region.

Investment Impact

Fiscal Year 2020
Invested in 72 Projects
Fiscal Year 2020
Jobs Created or Retained
Fiscal Year 2020
Students and Workers Educated and Trained

Learn more about ARC’s Investment Process.

Enhancing the Reach and Competitiveness of Business and Industry

Historically, Appalachia’s strong manufacturing sector has offered significant potential for growth. That tradition continues as ARC investments develop networks and support innovative plans and processes to enhance the sector’s competitiveness.

However, helping local ventures and regional manufacturers produce high-demand goods and services is only part of the process. Connecting them with today’s global marketplace through export and other distribution strategies helps Appalachian businesses tap into national and global demand.

Strengthening Entrepreneurial Ecosystems for New and Existing Business

Characteristics of a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem include market access, capital, talent, business assistance, infrastructure, a supportive culture, and regulatory support. According to Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Appalachia, there are over a thousand entrepreneurial support services in the Region—each offering an important element to their local entrepreneurial ecosystem. By creating a supportive environment for entrepreneurs, communities can spur local and regional economic development; help the region diversify its economy; create jobs; and increase the flow of capital, finance, goods, and services into the Region.

Building Economic Resilience in Appalachia

Preparing a community to absorb, resist, and recover from an economic shock—such as an economy-wide recession, industry restructuring, or other major economic disruptions like COVID-19—is the definition of economic resilience. ARC’s study Strengthening Economic Resilience offers quantitative analysis exploring factors that increase a community’s ability to buffer an economic shock, and a guidebook of case studies and suggested strategies for economic resilience at the community level.

Investments in Action

Automotive Industry Drives the Economy in West Virginia

The West Virginia Automotive Supply Chain Expo facilitates business-to-business networking to revitalize West Virginia’s economy.
2 men in blue polos working in an industrial setting
Robert C. Byrd Institute
Appalachian Hatchery