KNOXVILLE, TENNESSE. – Appalachian Investors Alliance, a regional non-profit organization, has just received a grant of $ 1,496,719 from the POWER Initiative 2021 from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The POWER (Partnerships for Opportunities and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) initiative targets federal resources to help revitalize the economy in communities affected by fossil fuels.
AIA works with investors and entrepreneurs to improve access to capital and stimulate investment in growing small businesses in Appalachia. This is AIA’s second POWER award: the organization received an earlier grant in 2019 to address imbalances in know-how and technical support that would otherwise prevent local investors from funding new and small high risk businesses.
“Receiving the POWER award confirms that our vision for Appalachia is coming to fruition,” said Scott Ewing, AIA Co-Founder and Senior Business Analyst. “Revitalizing Heartland communities is about more than stimulating investment opportunities. The hope and dignity of good everyday people must be restored where changes in the economy of coal and traditional manufacturing have resulted in far too many layoffs and job losses.
The primary function of AIA is to work with impact investors who seek to uncover fundable companies – those with non-extractive business models, located in the Appalachians.
Since 2018, AIA investors have invested nearly $ 18 million in private capital in the region in companies that have created more than 600 jobs. AIA’s strong track record is a testament to the organization’s disciplined approach.
A impactful investment should benefit the region, and not just a select few, according to AIA. To achieve its objectives, AIA works directly with three groups in the entrepreneurial ecosystem: The first group is made up of accredited local investors that AIA helps organize into “micro-enterprises” or angel investment funds. Second, AIA helps entrepreneurship support organizations and economic development authorities working to encourage the creation of “more and better” local entrepreneurs.
These activities are aligned with AIA’s strategic goal of investing valuable financial capital more effectively where it will deliver the most benefits. A third group, entrepreneurs, look to AIA for highly relevant and regionally relevant training and advice on how to attract outside investment more effectively.
AIA’s goal is to help Appalachian impact investors create maximum economic effect with their locally applied capital; in addition, to fundamentally improve the chances of regional entrepreneurs to create sustainable and value-generating businesses.