Accelerating Appalachia is a business accelerator, an organization that connects young businesses with funding, education, and support to help their ventures succeed. Accelerating Appalachia is a “regenerative economy accelerator” to support businesses that are beyond sustainable and actually help to regenerate the soil, the water, the landscape, and the economy.
Founder Sara Day Evans, a native Kentuckian, envisions a thriving Appalachia with local, nature-based businesses. As she says, “Appalachia is the most diverse foodshed in North America, and one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Our diversity of seeds, plants, forests is unparalleled. Healthy soil is second only to the oceans for carbon sequestration. We are cultivating businesses that serve our basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, and wellness while regenerating soil, water, and people.”
What is a nature-based business? It’s a “basic needs business” such as sustainable food, farming, forests, fiber, fuels, green building, and clean energy that relies on local natural resources but in a non-destructive and even beneficial way.
Accelerating Appalachia has facilitated over $11.4 million in investment for local businesses, 75% of which are women-owned! This translates into more than 1000 “green” jobs in an area where coal and tobacco jobs have declined precipitously.
The Untours Foundation is proud to help Accelerating Appalachia move on with the means to expand their training and support of local triple-bottom-line businesses, growing good jobs and healing the planet. We don’t normally fund nonprofits, but Accelerating Appalachia’s work and mission align perfectly with ours. When the Untours Foundation funds nonprofits, we work in the same model as with for-profit businesses, providing a very low-interest rate loan over a set period of time, providing “patient capital” that is truly beneficial to our investees.