New research highlights economic and cultural impact of small businesses in the region along with capital and credit challenges  

Funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) in collaboration with Next Street, the report Access to Capital and Credit for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses in Appalachia reviews the landscape of small businesses and entrepreneurs in Appalachia, outlines the available capital supply, and calculates the demand for such capital.  

The report concludes that the Appalachian Region has the potential to leverage the resilience and entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses, which in 2020 made up 99% of all businesses in the region. However, this potential is hindered by a gap between capital supply and demand, geographic constraints, and limited and inconsistent information. To unlock the full economic and cultural vitality of the region’s small business economy, the report urges stakeholders to come together and take strategic action. 

Some key findings and takeaways:  

  • In 2021, Appalachia experienced its highest level of new business growth in the past decade. Particular gains were made in establishing new manufacturing and construction businesses. 
  • In 2020, 77% of Appalachia’s 2.4 million small businesses were non-employer firms, while 16.5% were microbusinesses (fewer than 10 paid employees).  
  • Unmet capital demand represents a $70 billion growth opportunity in Appalachia. 

To access the executive summary, please complete the download form. If you’re interested in the full report, please email us at   

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