Entrepreneurship for the Public Good

Appalachian IDEAS Network


The Appalachian IDEAS Network is a regional, multi-university, social-entrepreneurial education initially led by the University of Kentucky and is now managed by the EPG program.. The initiative is designed to equip Appalachian students with knowledge, skills and resources to develop entrepreneurial ventures that address challenges within their local communities.Appalachian IDEAS Flyer

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Appalachian IDEAS acronym stands for Innovation, Development, Enterprise, Action, and Service. It’s modeled after the successful program at MIT. Similar competitions now take place all over the world. The Appalachian IDEAS Network began with the support of the Appalachian Regional Commission, the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, and other local organizations. The first regional showcase was hosted in April 2005 in Lexington, Ky. Last year this event was held at Berea College. Awards were provided by the Algernon Sydney Foundation.

Goals of the IDEAS Network

  1. Educate students about the entrepreneurial process through the experience of pitching their Social Innovation concept and receiving feedback,
  2. Provide visibility and grant support for student ventures with the potential to impact communities in Appalachia, and
  3. Foster a regional network of students, educators, and community leaders working to address social needs, problems and  issues in Appalachia.


Individual Participant Qualifications: The showcase is open to all full and part time students enrolled in college during the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 semester/quarter. Non-students, including faculty and community mentors, are encouraged to become members of a team’s support network. Individuals must have a designated faculty member. Team Qualifications: Presenting student teams should include at least 2 students and not exceed 5 students, unless otherwise coordinated by your home institution and faculty mentor.  Teams must have a designated faculty mentor. Attendance: Representatives from the teams must be present at the showcase in Berea, KY on Friday April 12th and Saturday, April 13, for the entire competition. Not all members need to attend although attendance is encouraged.

History & Past Winners

In January 2004, the Appalachian Regional Commission awarded the University of Kentucky a $25,000 grant to pilot the IDEAS Network. The first regional competition was held in April 2005.

Get involved

Apply for the Appalachian IDEAS Network Showcase!  Contact Lyndsey Mullins for more information, 859-985-3614, mullinsl@berea.edu.


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