Pikeville, KY. – Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR) is excited to announce that Sabrina McWhorter has been named Manager of Business and Innovation. She will serve Boyd, Greenup, Carter, Elliott, Lawrence, Lewis, Nicholas, Robertson, Rowan, Fleming, Bath, and Montgomery counties while directing the work of SOAR’s Business and Innovation team.
Cole Atkinson has also joined the SOAR staff as a Business and Innovation Champion. He will serve Estill, Powell, Menifee, Morgan, Johnson, Martin, Pike, Floyd, Magoffin, Wolfe, Lee, Breathitt, Knott, Owsley, Perry, Letcher, and Leslie counties.
SOAR’s work supporting businesses and entrepreneurship is made possible through a partnership with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s KY Innovation office. Our Business and Innovation team specializes in assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs whose business or idea has the capability to expand in existing markets or create new markets by leveraging technology.
“We are excited for Sabrina to move into this new and expanding role with our Business and Innovation team,” said Joshua Ball, Chief Operating Officer at SOAR. “Our work is about connecting the dots, listening, and opening doors. Our team has the passion to not only serve, but to work to better complement the vast resources across Appalachia Kentucky in place to support our businesses and entrepreneurs.”
Sabrina spent almost a decade as a Veterinary Technician before she took the plunge and decided to open and run a small business. With no background in business ownership, she leveraged technology to further her knowledge and grow her clientele. Through her personal experience, she developed a passion for helping other businesses succeed and grow. Sabrina previously served as a Business and Innovation Champion for SOAR and is excited for the opportunity to transition into a leadership role.
“During my time with SOAR I have witnessed the talent that Appalachia has to offer. I have been privileged to wake up every day thinking of the entrepreneurs and startups in our communities and walking beside them as they build their businesses,” said McWhorter. “As the Manager of Business and Innovation, I look forward to working with our partners to expand the support and resources for the entrepreneurs in the 42 counties we serve. We have a big job ahead of us, but our team is ready for the challenge.”
Cole comes to Southeast Kentucky with a lifetime of travel from places such as Hawaii, Alaska, and Key West. He relocated here four years ago and stayed because it became his home. He takes pride in bringing new life and ideas to downtown communities that benefit and engage local businesses.
“I believe that bringing small business opportunities back to the Appalachian region will propel us into economic prosperity while maintaining the rich heritage of these mountains,” said Atkinson. “SOAR’s mission emphasizes the fighting spirit of Eastern Kentucky – a spirit that is ready to take on challenges, bridge community gaps, and champion a unified path towards a better tomorrow.”
Cole joins Tal Jones as a Business and Innovation Champion. Tal serves Garrard, Lincoln, Rockcastle, Jackson, Clay, Laurel, Pulaski, Wayne, McCreary, Whitely, Knox, Bell, and Harlan Counties
SOAR’s Business and Innovation team is a dedicated, free resource for entrepreneurs across Eastern Kentucky.
They can walk with you through each step of improving your business, help you execute, and make recommendations based on their past experience as business owners.
Earlier this year, SOAR released its Complete Guide for Entrepreneurship in Eastern Kentucky. This easy-to-read guide provides checklists and other resources to meet a scalable business or entrepreneur where they are at — from idea to launch.
Need a champion for your business or idea? Find the rep for your county to get started today!