Skip to main content

SOAR to host virtual Startup Appalachia Pitch Competition in Somerset on August 4

By July 22, 2020No Comments

APPALACHIA KENTUCKY – Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc (SOAR) is hosting its second Startup Appalachia Pitch Competition in August and September.  Its first regional competition will be held virtually in Somerset on Tuesday, August 4.

Businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs in Pulaski and surrounding counties can apply to pitch for a $500 cash prize and advance to the grand finale – and a $5,000 cash prize – as part of the 2020 SOAR Summit.  To apply to pitch, visit www.startupappalachia/pitch.  The deadline is Wednesday, July 29.

Other virtual regional competitions will be held in Campton, Corbin, Hazard, Morehead, and Pikeville) Each local winner will receive a $500 cash prize and will earn a spot in the Invest 606 Accelerator and Pitch Competition program for a chance to win an additional $15,000.

“Entrepreneurs see opportunity during challenges,” said Jared Arnett, executive director of SOAR. “While we still continue to deal with COVID-19 and its impact on our lives, we believe that startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses are as important as ever.”

Earlier this month, SOAR launched its Startup Appalachia website.  The site is powered by Appalachian Wireless and is a one-stop shop for those wishing to turn an idea into a reality or scale an existing business.

Below is a rundown of the other five virtual Startup Appalachia Pitch Competition sites:

  • Hazard | August 11, 2020 | Deadline to apply July 31
  • Campton | August 25, 2020 | Deadline to apply August 14
  • Corbin | September 1, 2020 | Deadline to apply August 21
  • Pikeville | September 15, 2020 | Deadline to apply September 4
  • Ashland | September 22, 2020 | Deadline to apply September 11

What kind of businesses or ideas are a good fit for the Startup Appalachia Pitch Competition?

  • We are looking for scale-able tech enabled businesses that are solving unique problems.
  • We are looking for businesses that are providing a service and/or product that has a market outside of your community and preferably, outside of Appalachia.
  • We are looking for businesses that are leveraging technology in their business sales, production, and/or marketing processes.
  • Primary business operations should be based out of one of the 54 Appalachian designated counties in Kentucky.
  • We believe in the importance of a strong team; preference will be given to businesses who have a strong leadership team in place.’

Those interested in making pitching for the competition must complete an online application at www.startupappalachia/pitch. Applicants should apply for the region that is closest to them. A committee will evaluate each application and finalists will make their pitch LIVE on Facebook.

The Startup Appalachia Pitch Competition is supported by The Center for Rural Development, Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED), Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED), Kentucky’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, and Invest 606.

SOAR launched its SOAR Innovation program last year and was again awarded the RISE contract through the KY Innovation Office for fiscal year 2020-2021.  Since opening, SOAR Innovation has provided support to more than 550 businesses and identified 70 companies with high-growth potential.

SOAR Innovation has a team of business and innovation champions located throughout Appalachia Kentucky ready to assist entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses.

For more information on the Startup Appalachia Pitch Competition or SOAR Innovation, contact Ryan Jones, director of SOAR Innovation, at