Let’s grow your business or nonprofit.
Get one-on-one support from an expert consultant for your business or organization.
Want to work one-on-one with an expert to develop a website or a social media marketing plan for your small business or nonprofit? Need one-on-one accounting assistance or training? Need help with a POS system? Or something else?
Through our program, you can work with a consultant at little to no cost to you.
The Mountain Association’s Business Support program connects businesses and organizations with consultants who can give you the support and customized training you need. We can also connect you to workshops and other resources that can help you succeed.
What are some examples of what business consulting can do for you?
- Getting custom website development and marketing training helped a nonprofit tell their story and begin to raise more money.
- Working with a systems and scheduling expert thrilled one client’s employees because it made their lives and jobs easier.
- Partnering with production management systems experts saved a client enough money to invest in new equipment.
As of December 2023, we have temporarily closed our application portal due to high demand. Sign up below if you’d like to receive notice of when the portal re-opens.
If you are a Mountain Association loan client, your approved projects will be prioritized and covered at 100%, please work with your Mountain Association contact to apply.
Connect with experts in:
- Website development & training
- Strategic marketing, including social media
- One-on-one accounting training
- Business coaching
- Financial training & planning
- Strategic planning
- Plant production & process efficiencies
Explore the Initiate Portal.
In addition to connecting businesses and organizations with expert consultants, the Mountain Association offers access to this Initiate portal. The site is full of resources to help you solve issues in your business or organization as you work to expand your impact.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are many local and national organizations working to support business owners, entrepreneurs and nonprofits at any stage. We have compiled the following list of FAQs and resources. Please note there are many other resources out there and this is just a starting point.
Do you approve all Business Support applications you receive?
In order to be equitable about the allocation of our limited amount of assistance funds and staff resources, we have developed a Business Support application review process that considers a number of factors in an application, such as geographic location, type of business/nonprofit, community impact, and where the business or nonprofit is in terms of its stage of development. We consider these areas as we strive to serve a diversity of businesses and nonprofits from across the 54 counties of Eastern Kentucky and maximize our impact.
As we have such a big demand for our program given it’s proven success, we are actively trying to help other technical assistance providers in the region think about how they can change their model from group trainings to more one-on-one support. If we are not able to proceed with your application, we will be sure to provide additional resources that are applicable to your goals (such as those listed in this FAQ section).
What local resources are available for business owners?
The Mountain Association partners with many other service providers in our area who are also working to support Kentucky’s entrepreneurs. Depending on your specific need and location, the following resources may be helpful:
Resources: Advantage Kentucky Alliance; Community Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK); Kentucky Business One Stop Portal; Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation; Apex Accelerators (formerly Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center); Kentucky Small Business Development Centers; Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR); Southeast Kentucky Economic Development
Where can I learn more about writing a business plan?
There are classes offered by various service providers to help you get your thoughts on paper and work out the details of your business idea. If you prefer to do the work on your own, templates and courses for business plans are available online.
Templates/Other Information: Centro Business Planning App; Kauffman FastTrac; Small Business Administration (SBA) Business Plan Outline; SCORE Business Plan Templates
What resources are available for new entrepreneurs or new nonprofits?
There are several organizations providing free mentorship, guidance on how to finance your business, tax information, and more. There are also many resources available for those interested in starting a new nonprofit organization. Here are just a few:
Resources for Start-ups: ACUMEN; FDIC’s Money Smart; Initiate (email email@example.com for access information); Kentucky Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs; MicroMentor; Sky’s the Limit Mentoring; US Business Gateway; US Starting A Business; Wells Fargo Works; Women’s Business Center; Venturize
What resources are available specifically for women entrepreneurs?
While we don’t offer specific services based on gender, there are several opportunities for women-owned businesses. Also, Women Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification, like Minority Business Enterprise Certification, might be useful in some businesses’ marketing strategy. We encourage you to explore the following resources:
What resources are available specifically for veteran entrepreneurs?
There may be specific opportunities available to you as a veteran business owner. We encourage you to explore the following resources:
Where can I learn more about resources for entrepreneurs with disabilities?
We recommend contacting the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation which assists citizens with disabilities, including self-employment assistance for those who wish to start a home-based business, and more. They may be able to connect you to other local resources or national organizations:
What resources are available for farmers, agricultural/nature-based, or science/engineering-based businesses?
There are many educational opportunities, technical assistance, and business support services available for new and existing agribusinesses. Here are a few resources:
Resources: Accelerating Appalachia; Community Farm Alliance; Grow Appalachia; Iroquois Valley Farms; Kentucky Center for Agriculture & Rural Development (KCARD); Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension (includes grants); National Incubator Farm Training Initiative; VentureWell
What resources are available for health care related businesses?
Health care related businesses face a unique set of challenges among business owners. We recommend the following Kentucky based resource as a starting place:
Where can I find resources about improving my personal finances?
It is always a good idea to know what your credit report says, whether you have an existing business or are looking to start a business. Once per year, you can request a free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) free of charge with no adverse effect on your credit. If you need assistance correcting information on your credit report, understanding your credit report or improving your personal financial management skills, the following resources can help:
Where can I learn more about selling online or tech entrepreneurship?
How can I learn more about crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is an option to help you fund your start-up or business growth while increasing awareness about your business. Crowdfunding allows you to tell the story of your business and your need for funding, and people can donate or lend money to your business online. We have compiled some information here that provides more details. We also recommend exploring the following resources:
How can I learn more about worker-owned models?
There are many national organizations supporting shared ownership business models and democratic economic systems. Some even provide support through the transition to employee ownership. If you are interested in learning more about these models, we recommend the following resources:
How can I learn more about social enterprise models?
A social enterprise is a for profit or nonprofit that uses business disciplines and the power of market demand to create positive economic, environmental and/or community impact. For example, a for profit business that has a mission to make a difference in their community is a social enterprise. Specific examples include a manufacturing business that trains and hires veterans, or a retail store that donates a portion of its profit to a nonprofit. A nonprofit organization that generates some earned income, such as a food pantry that also operates a coffee shop, or an arts organization that rents studio space to local artists, is also a social enterprise. We recommend the following resources to learn more:
Resources: Ashoka; B Lab; CASE Smart Impact Capital; Chobani Food Incubator; Common Future; Croatan Institute; Institute for Social Entrepreneurs; REDF; Social Enterprise Alliance; Social Ventures blog; West Virginia HIVE
Where can I learn more about government contracts?
If you are looking specialized assistance about selling to federal, state, and local government agencies through contracts, we recommend the following resource:
What grants or scholarships are available to support my business/organization?
There are a few organizations that administer grants or scholarships to support businesses and organizations. Here are some resources to start with:
Resources: American Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge; Center for Nonprofit Excellence – Louisville; Farm to Fork Program; FedEx Grant Contest; Grant Central USA; Grant Writing Academy at University of Louisville; HERstory; KCARD; Red Backpack Fund; Small & Diverse Business Education Fund Scholarship; WomensNet
Learn how folks are starting, expanding, and improving their small businesses and organizations.