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Appalachian Regional Council

Regionally, the Appalacian Regional Council (ARC) is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local governments. The ARC’s programs address five key goals:

  1. Investing in entrepreneurial and business development strategies that strengthen Appalachia's economy;

  2. Improving the education, knowledge, skills, and health of residents to work and succeed in Appalachia;

  3. Investing in critical infrastructure–especially broadband, transportation, including the Appalachian Development Highway System, and water/wastewater systems;

  4. Strengthening Appalachia's community and economic development potential by leveraging the Region's natural and cultural heritage assets; and

  5. Building the capacity and skills of current and next-generation leaders and organizations to innovate, collaborate, and advance community and economic development.


The ARC supports a variety of activities to promote entrepreneurship and business development in the Appalachian Region, including:

  • Giving entrepreneurs greater access to capital, including support for microcredit programs, revolving loan funds, development venture capital funds and other creative financing models.

  • Educating and training entrepreneurs through youth education programs and adult training initiatives.

  • Encouraging sector-based strategies to maximize the economic strengths of local communities; and

  • Providing strategic support for business incubators, makerspaces, and other forms of technical assistance.


ARC also sponsors in ongoing research to support the Region's entrepreneurial ecosystems. For instance, Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Appalachia is a suite of three research reports and resources to support entrepreneurial development in Appalachia. This research, released in October 2018, includes three reports which outline core elements necessary for a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, analyze community case studies to provide insight into the unique challenges faced by communities in Appalachia, and offer recommendations to support future economic development across the Region. A companion website at documents and compares entrepreneurial activity in each of Appalachia's 420 counties, and includes a working inventory of over 1,000 support services available to entrepreneurs across the Region.  For more information about ARC, go to  Below are key resources that can be quickly downloaded:


Click here to read the Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Appalachia report.


Report Series

1. Literature Review (PDF: 1.6 MB)

2. Ecosystem Development Case Studies (PDF: 2.5 MB)

3. Building an Entrepreneurial Future: Ideas for Appalachia's Ecosystem Builders and Champions (PDF: 1.3 MB)

Read the Press Release.


Find data and resources about Appalachia's entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Entrepreneurship and Business Development Links

Research Reports
Additional Resources
Examples of Projects

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