How SOAR is Training Entrepreneurs to Restart Eastern Kentucky
Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) took flight in 2013 as a collaborative effort to address challenges and explore opportunities in Eastern Kentucky. SOAR was created as a platform for the people of Appalachia Kentucky to be engaged, embrace new ideas, leverage resources, and build capacity to create a 21st Century Appalachia. The organization has succeeded in part by recognizing the importance of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial training to revitalize a region full of economic opportunity.
Executive Director Colby Hall and Director of SOAR Innovation Ryan Jones discussed the importance of private sector partnerships, the need to identify specific regional strengths and target strategic industries, and the important role entrepreneurial education plays in a successful economic development strategy. Facing a regional shortage of more than 30,000 jobs, the team at SOAR made a compelling case that Applachia’s future depends on entrepreneurial support and thriving, homegrown companies.
More than anything, we learned how SOAR is leveraging CO.STARTERS and private sector partners to create the entrepreneurial ecosystem Eastern Kentucky needs.