What type of resources does ACEnet offer?
Whether you are a small business looking for assistance or someone interested in buying local products, ACEnet can point you in the right direction. ACEnet offers a battery of resources, including:
- loans for small businesses;
- business incubation services; and
- trainings for beginning entrepreneurs.
Other initiatives supported by ACEnet are listed below; they include, Regional Flavor, E-Commerce, Food We Love, Value-Added Agriculture and Niche Marketing.
Please feel free to contact us by calling (740) 592-3854 if additional information is needed.
A new kind of economy is emerging in Appalachia, Ohio based on creative industries, product innovation and a sense of place. What is ACEnet’s role in developing Regional Flavor initiatives? How does an area populated by locally-operated businesses build a sense that it is a distinct and dynamic region? The story of Appalachia Ohio's pathways to a Regional Flavor collaborative offer some clues.
ACEnet pioneered Regional Flavor by creating a cluster to add value to the region's agricultural assets and food entrepreneurship that involved the three keys to successful local initiatives: weaving networks, encouraging innovation, and involving many groups in collaborative efforts. As the success of the Food Ventures network grew - rebuilding a more prosperous and democratic local food system - other clusters of entrepreneurs and resource collaborators emerged to expand economic opportunities in the artisan, wood, hospitality and tourism sectors.
June Holley, founder of ACEnet explains “we designed a strategy called Regional Flavor. The idea was to link food entrepreneurs with artisans and entrepreneurs in tourism-related businesses through a meta-cluster, with the hope that they would” through dozens of collaborative projects “develop a distinctive and attractive sense of the region. Regional Flavor emerged from the area's natural and heritage assets: the beautiful parks and recreational amenities, the many musical venues, the rich history related to the Underground Railroad and the coal fields, and the work of skilled artisans using local woods.”
ACEnet Regional Flavor partners include: the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, Athens Municipal Arts Commission, Athens Uptown Business Association, Athens Independent Restaurant Association, The Athens Area Independent Lodging Association, The Little Cities of the Black Diamond, the Nelsonville Arts District and Hocking College.
To learn more about our area's Regional Flavor initiatives click to download our latest publication Entrepreneurship with a Regional Flavor.
Food We Love
Food We Love is a marketing campaign that brands regional products under its umbrella. Group branding allows small businesses to pool resources to increase recognition for regional foods in the community as well as increasing the products' marketing impact.
As a part of Food We Love, ACEnet, currently offers a limited distribution service that may include a locally made wooden display unit. This distribution service is designed to benefit both producers as well as retailers.
For more specific information related to the Food We Love program, please see the appropriate link that follows:
Retailer Brochure and Product Catalog
Manufacturer Brochure and Application for Inclusion Form
The Appalachian People's Action Coalition (APAC), a not-for-profit organization, constructed the sturdy, wood shelving units. Each unit is lightly stained with an antique oak finish for attractiveness as well as ease of cleaning. Single as well as double sided units are available.
Units have the Food We Love logo painted at the top curve of the display and feature Food We Love marketing (client stories) in frames along each side of the unit.
Value-Added Agriculture and Niche Marketing
Value-added agriculture is a process of increasing the economic value and consumer appeal of a raw farm product and marketing it more directly to the end user.
ACEnet assists in value-added agriculture activities by helping family farms to diversify and expand income revenues, which in turn helps to create a more sustainable business.
Our publication Harvesting Agricultural Rewards funded by support from Farm Aid, provides info on new income opportunities for family farmers.