We can all agree there is no shortfall of creative minds and great ideas in our Appalachian region, but the challenges in giving a voice to these minds and bringing those ideas to fruition can be just as great.
“Our goal is to create industries and clusters of opportunities in Appalachia to take advantage of the abundance of natural talents and cultural resources in our region,” says Eric Dobson, president and CEO of the Appalachian Investor Alliance (AIA). “We collaborate to find these great ideas and entrepreneurs, invest in them, and help them grow their opportunity to become competitive on a regional, national, or even global scale.”
At its core, AIA is group of angels investing alliances, or syndicates, and funds with this common thread in mind. Alliances are located mostly along the Appalachian spine from Western New York to Northern Mississippi and have many success stories to their credit – stories that are detailed on their website: www.AppalachianInvestors.com.
“We have developed a regimented angel investing process geared to identify high growth/high potential entrepreneurs and companies and invest in their smart and sustainable growth,” said Don Perry, Chairman of the Tristate Angel Investment Group. “With this support in place, they can either accelerate organically or transition to larger, Appalachian-friendly venture capital and private equity sources.”
Key elements of a successful partnership with AIA include: a community that has economic resiliency as a goal; a culture of investors that want to take part in this new economy; entrepreneurs with ideas or businesses with an eye toward growth; business accelerators that want a future for their graduates; and engaged economic development org’s that want to impact their community.
“All or some of these attributes help create an ideal working partnership where we can create the impact, resiliency, and sustainability we are looking for…and we encourage community leaders to contact us to help assess and develop a plan for them,” adds Phil Ostwalt, Chairman of the High Country Impact Fund.
How can you get involved? “Become a mentor to a new business and invest in their success, “says Dobson. “AIA educates new investors how to invest and experienced investors how to further multiply their impact and return.”
For more information, including educational blogs and assessment tools, visit their website at www.AppalachianInvestors.com. Those interested in becoming an alliance investor, developing entrepreneurial opportunity within their community, or have a business concept with growth potential should take the time to contact the Appalachia Investors Alliance and make a difference to the region and the people in it.