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Non-profit that boosts nature-based businesses in Appalachia expands to Kentucky

The town of Pikeville is woven into the valleys of eastern Kentucky coal country.
The town of Pikeville is woven into the valleys of eastern Kentucky coal country. The Washington Post

A non-profit that works to boost nature-based businesses in Appalachia has expanded to Kentucky.

Accelerating Appalachia provides a series of workshops for small entrepreneurs. The goal is to connect businesses from rural and urban hubs in Central and Southern Appalachia to build their customer base, supply chain and investment opportunities, and to provide mentors and networking.

The workshops cover everything from business planning to marketing.

“We get into every aspect of your business,” said Sara Day Evans, founding director of the program.

Evans said Accelerating Appalachia focuses on businesses that serve needs for food, shelter, clothing and energy.

It is believed to be the first business accelerator dedicated to nature-based businesses, Evans said.

Evans and Jennifer Flynn, chief operating officer, hosted an event in Lexington on Wednesday to announce the non-profit’s expansion into Kentucky.

The spring 2016 program will be made up of four workshops of three days each, spaced out over 12 weeks beginning in late February. The meetings will be in Pikeville, Lexington, Louisville and Asheville, N.C.

The deadline to apply is Jan. 9. Need-based scholarships are available to help participants, according to a news release.

Entreprenuers and nature-based businesses from Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee and Ohio can apply, with preference given to applicants from Appalachian areas.

Applications are available online at Acceleratingappalachia.org.

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