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Blueprint for Entrepreneurial Growth and Economic Prosperity in Southwest Virginia released

The Blueprint for Entrepreneurial Growth and Economic Prosperity in Southwest Virginia, a community-based initiative designed to promote entrepreneurial activity in the region, has been released.
The Blueprint, supported by the Virginia Coalfield Coalition and Appalachian Ventures, was developed toinspire collective action, impact policy, foster regional networks, build on the region’s remarkable assets and to seek new investment. 

During a series of four community forums, economic developers, educators, healthcare professionals,government agencies, entrepreneurs and local business leaders gathered to spend time considering what entrepreneurship means to this region. The format was interactive and collaborative, building upon each participant’s expertise and driving toward a consensus on the region’s challenges and strengths. These community discussions, combined with dozens of follow up discussions, ultimately led to the creation of the comprehensive document supporting an asset-based strategy for entrepreneurial growth.
Those tasked with building the Blueprint learned that nearly 70% of job creation in the United States comes from small business.  Small businesses created in rural regions contribute significantly to the stability of a region’s economy, and if successful, stay and grow in the community in which they originated. Building an ecosystem to create a pipeline of entrepreneurs, engaging the youth and encouraging them to see starting their own business as a viable career option and promoting the region as a fertile location for starting or growing a business, are the cornerstones of this regional strategy.

The Virginia Coalfield Coalition is an economic development partnership led by the Lenowisco and Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commissions.
The Appalachian Prosperity Project (APP) is a collaborative partnership among the University of Virginia, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, the Virginia Coalfield Coalition, the private sector, and the Commonwealth to advance education, health, and economic prosperity in Southwest Virginia.
Appalachian Ventures, a key program of APP, seeks to increase prosperity and diversify the economy through entrepreneurship, increased management capacity, and thoughtful development of place-based assets.

For more information on the Entrepreneurship Blueprint, please visit  or contact Shannon R. Blevins at 276-889-8184 or email