Appalachian Investors Alliance awarded $1.49M grant

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 5, 2021

KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE. — Appalachian Investors Alliance, a regionally based non-profit organization, has just been awarded a $1,496,719 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s 2021 POWER Initiative.

The POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative targets federal resources to help revitalize the economy in fossil-fuel impacted communities.

AIA works with investors and entrepreneurs to improve access to capital and stimulate investment in small and growing Appalachian businesses. This is AIA’s second POWER award: The organization received a prior grant in 2019 to address imbalances in know-how and technical support that otherwise hold back locally minded investors from funding higher-risk new and small businesses.

“Receiving the POWER award is validation that our vision for Appalachia is being realized,” Scott Ewing, AIA co-founder and principal business analyst, said. “Revitalizing Heartland communities is about doing more than stimulating investment opportunities. Hope and dignity for everyday, good people must be restored where changes in the coal and traditional manufacturing economy have resulted in far too many layoffs and job losses.”

The primary function of AIA is to work with impact investors who are looking to uncover fundable companies — those with non-extractive business models, located in Appalachia.

Since 2018, AIA investors have invested nearly $18 million in private capital in the region in companies that have created over 600 jobs. AIA’s solid track record is a testament to the organization’s disciplined approach.

According to AIA, an impactful investment should benefit the region, not just a few, select individuals. To accomplish its goals, AIA works directly with three groups in the entrepreneurial ecosystem: The first group is composed of local accredited investors that AIA helps organize into “micro-venture” or angel investment funds. Second, AIA helps entrepreneurial 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 purpose to more effectively invest precious financial capital where it will add the most benefit. A third group, entrepreneurs, look to AIA for regionally tailored, highly relevant education and guidance on how to more effectively attract outside investment.

AIA’s objective is to help Appalachian impact investors create maximum economic effect with their locally applied capital; moreover, to fundamentally improve regional entrepreneurs’ chances for building sustainable, value-generating business.