Calling all entrepreneurs in Eastern Kentucky

Just because you don’t have a million dollar marketing budget or an office in Silicon Valley doesn’t mean you’re not an entrepreneur. If you sell something at a store, from your home, or online — you’re an entrepreneur. SOAR Innovation’s mission is to help you be a successful one.

Meet the SOAR Innovation Team

Sabrina McWhorter SOAR

Sabrina McWhorter

Director of Business & Innovation
Kristin Brown, SOAR Innovation rep

Kristin Norman

Digital Strategy Coordinator

Latasha Friend

Client Success Coordinator

Kacy Hicks

Startup Engagement Coordinator

SOAR Innovation now covers all 54 ARC counties

Shaping Our Appalachian Region serves the 54 Appalachian Regional Commission counties in Eastern Kentucky.

SOAR Holiday Gift Guide

We champion small businesses and startups across Kentucky’s 54 Appalachian counties.

We do this 365 days a year, but we know the holidays present an opportunity to keep your dollars local with businesses — and people — invested in your community.

That’s why we’ve created our Holiday Gift Guide!

It features unique gifts, products, and services that can be purchased from the convenience of your smartphone, computer, or device. We have gifts for:

  • Everyone
  • Women
  • Men
  • Pets
  • Kids
  • Home
  • Experiences

Take a look, download the guide, or share it with others!

Want to start a business or learn more about how we support entrepreneurs? Download our Complete Guide to Entrepreneurship and a member of our team will set up a time to chat.

Applications open for the 2024 Startup Appalachia Pitch Competition

The application for the 2024 Startup Appalachia Pitch Competition is open. The competition is presented by Community Trust Bank and supported by KY Innovation.

We are looking for Appalachia Kentucky’s next big idea! Startups are the backbone of communities across America, and we believe ideas can start, launch, and scale across our region.

Apply now for a chance to win $10,000. The deadline is December 31, 2023.

Attend Vision2Venture 2023 hosted by Shaping Our Appalachian Region.



Cultivating Entrepreneurship in the Classroom

Vision2Venture was hosted on December 6, 2023 along with The National Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education (EntreEd),  the Southeast South-Central Educational Cooperative, Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative, and the Kentucky Education Development Corporation (KEDC).

During this program, participants acquired the skills necessary to incorporate entrepreneurial concepts into their teaching methods.

From this workshop, teachers will work with their students to create an innovative entrepreneurial pitch to win cash prizes.

First Place will receive $1,500, Second Place will receive $1,000 and Third Place will receive $500.

The classroom pitches will be recorded and submitted to a panel of judges by February 21, 2023. 

Stay tuned to watch these classroom pitches!

Support our clients in going to the next level

As our clients grow, so does the need for specialized services and support. From website enhancements to strategic marketing, communications, and content creation, our clients are always looking for ways to grow and reach new customers.

That’s why we are compiling a list of service providers to support our clients.

If your business is customer-focused and outcomes-driven, let’s talk.

Considering starting a business?

Read the Complete Guide to Entrepreneurship in Eastern Kentucky

Before you can turn your idea into a thriving business, you have to lay a strong foundation. Pulling from our experience working with hundreds of entrepreneurs in Eastern Kentucky, we’ve created a five-part, step-by-step guide to help beginners get started.

Get help with business basics

Early entrepreneurs, tap into our direct services

We can help those just starting out on their entrepreneurship journeys get the essentials set up with the least amount of time and money. Reach out to your SOAR Innovation rep today to get started with any one of these six services.

Business planning

Website services

eCommerce services

Google services

Digital media services

Systems for success

Grow your business with SOAR Innovation

Accelerate your growth

Help for entrepreneurs ready to take the next step

When it’s time to build on the basics, we’ve got you covered. Use these resources to steadily improve your operations and marketing — and prepare your business for funding opportunities.

Join the CO.STARTERS accelerator led and taught by the SOAR Innovation team and other experts. You’ll join peer entrepreneurs from right here in our region for practical guidance and step-by-step execution of business processes — all in a group setting.

Reach out to your SOAR Innovation rep to learn how to join the next cohort.

Win seed capital

There are very few, if any, grants available for for-profit businesses in Eastern Kentucky. However, there are resources in place for services related to raising capital and investing in your idea.

Local Funding Partners

Invest 606 Pitch Contest

Let’s make it official

SOAR Innovation has many programs and tools to help entrepreneurs in Eastern Kentucky. Let us know which ones you’re interested in receiving more information about. You’ll also get email updates in the future about entrepreneurship events, news, and milestones in your county. 

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CO.STARTERS, networking events, or Startup Appalachia Pitch Competition.
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