APPALACHIA KENTUCKY – Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR) Innovation powered by KY Innovation is now accepting applications for the first-ever women founders CO.STARTERS CORE Program, a 10-week, women-led, live-facilitated virtual program built to provide you with the tools you need to build and grow a thriving business. Starting the week of January 25th, women starters throughout Appalachia will meet virtually, once a week, with other women-entrepreneurs to turn ideas into action and prepare for success. The deadline to apply is January 11, 2021. The application fee is $50.00.
Women entrepreneurs are critical to economic growth. A McKinsey Global Institute study found that advancing women’s equality could add $12 trillion to the global economy by 2025. Yet, women raise smaller amounts of capital, exhibit higher levels of risk aversion, apply for fewer funding opportunities, and receive less investment than their male counterparts. A whopping 97% of venture capital is issued to male CEO businesses.
“SOAR believes that women entrepreneurs have untapped potential,” said Ryan Jones, director of SOAR Innovation. “This program will create greater opportunity and equality for the mothers and daughters of Appalachia, open new markets, create jobs, increase household incomes, and lead to greater economic and social transformation by strengthening and diversifying what entrepreneurship looks like in Appalachia.”
Women entrepreneurs who participate in the CO.STARTERS CORE program will be able to confidently move forward with actionable next steps for their business, identify creative solutions, find both short-term and long-term financial stability, and adapt in an uncertain environment. Participants will work with a certified facilitator and dedicated group of peers in a series of 2.5 hour virtual sessions, covering topics that help them adapt and remodel their business to meet changing customer needs. The program uses a simple e-learning platform and live-facilitated video sessions that stream to any computer or mobile device, as well as a physical binder to help participants work through the content offline between sessions.
“CO.STARTERS was founded to give every starter the community support they need to thrive,” said Enoch Elwell, founder and CEO of the international program and network. “More than 65 percent of the starters who graduate our programs are female founders. We are excited to partner with SOAR and to see them reaching overlooked entrepreneurs in Appalachia in creative ways with our tools.”
“Being able to look at our customer’s perspective as part of the program changed the way we ran our business. I realized our customer profile was different than what we thought. It was super helpful to shift our mindset and identify the different types of customers we serve.” Abby Khuene, The Vault Market
SOAR is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that is a champion for Appalachia Kentucky. Through a collective impact model, SOAR works to expand job creation, enhance regional opportunity, innovation, and identity, and support all those working to achieve these goals in Appalachia Kentucky. SOAR’s work is guided by its Blueprint for the Future of Appalachia. One of the seven goals outlined in the Blueprint is to support Entrepreneurship in the Digital Economy.
The program is facilitated by four women entrepreneurs. They include:
Jessi Robinson is the Founder, Brand Strategist, and Creative Director at P&P Creative based in Mount Sterling, Ky.
Billie Swanner is the Co-Founder of Fourward Progress Solutions based in London, Ky. and plays an active role in the Women in Business of Southeast Kentucky -Ladies of Vision.
Sabrina McWhorter and Lauren Blankenship are Business and Innovation Champions with SOAR and have operated small businesses in Appalachia.
As business owners, the facilitators understand the challenges and complexities that fellow founders face and have personal experience to help guide others through familiar circumstances. They are passionate about helping other women starters in Appalachia Kentucky achieve their dreams.
To apply for the CO.STARTERS CORE program with SOAR, click here.
For more information about the global CO.STARTERS network and initiatives, visit costarters.co.