Startup Appalachia Pitch Competition

It’s time to pitch: Join us in Ashland on April 11

Join Shaping Our Appalachian Region’s Business & Innovation Team on April 11 at Ashland Train Depot in Ashland, KY for the Startup Appalachia Pitch Competition. It is presented by Community Trust Bank.

Why attend?

  • Learn about tomorrow’s Big Ideas today
  • Network with others passionate about small business in Eastern Kentucky
  • Learn about resources available to entrepreneurs

Ashland Train Depot
April 11 | 6 p.m.

The competition starts at 6 p.m. and follows with a networking reception.
This event is FREE and open to the public. But you must register.

Can’t make it to Ashland for all the fun? Join us for our virtual watch party by registering here.

Sponsored By

Meet the Finalists

Cynthia Main

Sunhouse Craft

Cynthia Main, a passionate entrepreneur from Berea, Kentucky, owns Sunhouse Craft—a sustainable artisan manufacturing business. Specializing in traditional craft techniques, Sunhouse Craft creates hand-made brooms and wooden wares, sourcing materials locally to support regional farmers and promote a thriving, local economy.

Stephen & Maggie Prosser

Hazard Coffee Company

Founded by Stephen and Maggie Prosser in Hazard, KY, Hazard Coffee Company is a specialty coffee shop and roastery. Using a data-driven approach, they offer high-quality coffee while creating a welcoming space dedicated to community. The Prossers’ commitment to quality and community has fueled the rapid growth of Hazard Coffee Company.

Eric Sparks


As an additive manufacturing engineer and Manchester native, Eric envisions Kentucky as an advanced manufacturing hub. Through Complet3D, he helps professionals succeed in the additive manufacturing world, providing strategic advice, selling 3D printers, and maintaining the technology. Eric’s goal is to bring high-paying jobs to Eastern Kentucky.

Joana Amorim and Michael Beck

Sylvatica Forest Farm

Founded by Joana Amorim and Michael Beck, Sylvatica Forest Farm is a hub for forest farming, herbalism, and land stewardship in Eastern Kentucky. Operating a Herbal CSA, a tree nursery, a mushroom farm, and an Apothecary, Joana and Michael bring over a decade of experience in permaculture and regenerative farming to their community.

Aaron Floyd

D.A.A.D. Distilling

Aaron Floyd is integral to the company’s operations, overseeing everything from DAAD Distilling Company’s complete operations to expanding its media presence. A Lean Six Sigma expert with a passion for optimizing traditional distillation methods, Aaron benefited from ten years of mentorship in the bourbon-whiskey industry. As a devoted father to his soon-to-be 11-year-old daughter, he enjoys adventures, spending time with his 5-year-old huskador, and trying new cuisine. Currently, Aaron diligently works on enhancing DAAD’s brand awareness to foster the company’s growth and development.

Corey Shepherd, Abby Daniel, Claire Holbrook, Rylyn Rayburn

Insight Emergency Solutions

Insight Emergency Solutions, led by Corey Shepherd and West Carter High School students Abby Daniel, Claire Holbrook, and Rylyn Rayburn, is dedicated to reducing emergency incident response times. Their innovative program provides 3D virtual structural models to first responders, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of emergency planning.

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