International Economic Development Council workshop offers free support to small businesses in Appalachia

FRANKFORT, Ky. – More help is on the way for small and home-based businesses in eastern Kentucky.

Gov. Steve Beshear today announced the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) will offer a free one-day workshop on the “Tools for Supporting Local Businesses for Economic Resiliency” in Prestonsburg. The workshop will address ways local leaders can better support small and homegrown businesses in Appalachia.

The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Friday, May 9, at the Big Sandy Area Development District in Prestonsburg. Sign up or learn more here.

“Entrepreneurs are the backbone of Kentucky’s economy,” said Gov. Beshear. “This event is a great opportunity for our economic development and community leaders to better understand the needs of our local small-business owners throughout eastern Kentucky.”

During the workshop, IEDC will provide strategies and tools to local leaders who work with small businesses to promote expansion and create more jobs. Growth within these businesses will help the region diversify its economy and be resilient to future job losses in the coal industry or when impacted by other disasters.

“IEDC is committed to assisting communities with preparedness and economic recovery before and after both natural and man-made disasters,” said IEDC President Jeffrey Finkle. “Whether it is the loss of a major employer, floods or a hurricane, IEDC works with local communities to diversify and grow their economy to be resilient to future disasters. One of our important goals is to respond quickly to community-altering events to aid communities in becoming more resilient.”

The Tools for Supporting Local Businesses for Economic Resiliency workshop comes after Gov. Beshear, Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, community leaders and local residents announced their action plan for eastern Kentucky’s Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Initiative. Among the initiative’s main goals is to increase business recruitment and incubation in the region.

The workshop follows an announcement from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development of a new Kentucky Innovation Network office in Pikeville. The office, one of 13 throughout the state, will provide planning and funding assistance to startup companies in the Appalachian region.

Kentucky’s 350,000 small businesses employ nearly three quarters of a million people statewide. That’s nearly 97 percent of all employers in the state employing half of Kentucky’s private-sector labor force. According to the Kauffman Foundation Index, Kentucky ranked seventh in the nation for entrepreneurial activity last year and fifth over the past two years.

The Tools for Supporting Local Businesses for Economic Resiliency workshop is funded, in part, by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, Atlanta Regional Office.

With more than 4,000 members, IEDC is the largest nonprofit membership organization serving the economic development profession. Through training workshops, technical assistance projects, monthly web seminars, research papers and guidebooks, and mentoring, IEDC works with communities toward disaster recovery and economic resiliency. To learn more about IEDC, visit www.iedconline.org

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.




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