SOAR to host cohort-based programs

Published 4:45 pm Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR) and the Cabinet for Economic Development’s KY Innovation Office have announced a new round of locations to host a nationally-recognized entrepreneurship program.

SOAR will launch CO.STARTERS cohorts in London, Prestonsburg, and Whitesburg beginning on Oct. 7. Applications are currently being accepted at

CO.STARTERS is a nine week cohort-based program that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn business ideas into action and turn a passion into a sustainable and thriving endeavor. The unique part of CO.STARTERS is that it is facilitated by local entrepreneurs and is catered for start-ups or existing small businesses aspiring for scalability. Facilitators for this round of cohorts are: Daniel Carmack (London), Tonya Campbell (Prestonsburg), and Debbie Campbell (Whitesburg). Cohorts will meet one night a week during the nine week period.

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Earlier this year, SOAR held its first round of CO.STARTERS cohorts in Hazard, Morehead and Pikeville.

“Our first cohorts were a success,” said Jared Arnett, executive director of SOAR. “What makes CO.STARTERS unique is that is truly peer-to-peer learning experience that creates a community for entrepreneurs and start-ups to collaborate and become a champion for small business in the digital economy in their respective communities.”

SOAR Innovation is a partnership with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s KY Innovation Office. This work is conducted in 44 Appalachia Kentucky by Ryan Jones, director of business and innovation, and Business and Innovation Champions Jeffery Justice, Colby Fugate, and Tal Jones. The program provides free services to innovation-led or innovation-capable small businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs.

“Our team has identified countless entrepreneurs and small businesses already working or wishing to learn more about growing their business through avenues such as e-commerce and exporting,” said Ryan Jones, director of business and innovation at SOAR. “Programs such as COSTARTERS not only provide training, but a community where such individuals get to know each other and this creates potential synergies to collaborate and innovate.”

For more information on SOAR Innovation or the CO.STARTERS program, call 606-766-1160 or email Jones at