Business Resources

Some of the most meaningful business resources available in Athens County have nothing to do with funding. Know what’s out there so you can get the help, advice, assistance, education and training you need to succeed! If you are a small business, check out our Business Start Up Guide:

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Business Associations & Incubators

Ohio University Innovation Center

Since 1983, the Ohio University Innovation Center has been helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into businesses. Resources and opportunities abound at this state-of-the-art incubator. Take it from their description:

“Need somewhere more spacious and well-lit than your garage’s workbench to build your prototypes? Maybe your business is growing, and you need flexible lease options at affordable rates. Maybe you just need to be introduced to the right bankers, lawyers and distributors to help you reach your goals. We can help you find everything you need for your business to grow, and we’re ready to start today!”

Athens Area Chamber of Commerce

The mission of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce is to facilitate a strong business climate in Athens County and to assist our member companies in meeting their full potential. Promoting Jobs and Progress while encouraging consumers to “Keep It Local” drives our success.


TechGROWTH Ohio is sponsored by Ohio University and the Ohio Third Frontier program. Through TechGROWTH, entrepreneurs and technology start-up companies in southeast Ohio can access business assistance and sources of capital. Business services include assistance with: business plans, product development, legal services, marketing, executive recruitment and more. TechGROWTH helps companies prepare to access seed-stage and angel investment capital as well as research grants and loans.


The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet) offers commercial space, business counseling, technical assistance and a large network of partners that help entrepreneurs meet business goals. With numerous services such as business incubation and marketing strategy training, ACEnet is poised to help get small businesses up and running.

SBDC of Southeast Ohio

The Small Business Development Center of Southeast Ohio is a wonderful resource located in Ohio University’s Voinovich School. Director Melissa Jollick is a wealth of information, and the programming provided by the center is ideal for small businesses in Athens County.  Workshops and events are hosted throughout the year all over Southeast Ohio, and building a relationship with the SBDC is always beneficial to new businesses in our area.

The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs

The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs is a catalyst for regional, state and national collective impact in the areas of entrepreneurship, energy and the environment, and public and social engagement policy areas.

Athens County Foundation – Athens Area Women’s Business Loan

The mission of the Women’s Fund of the Athens County Foundation is to promote philanthropy among women and to establish a permanent fund to provide support for programs and projects in Athens County which empower women to achieve their full potential. The Fund supports opportunities for women to be financially successful.



State & Regional Development Agencies

Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) – a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government.

Buckeye Hills Regional Development District– ARC’s multi-county local development district.

Ohio Southeast (OhioSE) – As the JobsOhio Network partner for southeastern Ohio, the OhioSE Team stands ready to assist companies looking to locate here and facilitates the growth of businesses that already call the region home. 

Ohio Statewide Development Corporation – a private, non-profit corporation that offers low-cost, long-term financing options for small businesses in Ohio, including the 504 Loan program, which provide funding for up to 40% of the total cost of commercial real estate and equipment.

COAD Community Development –  provides services to low- and moderate-income Appalachian Ohio residents and service providers.

Southern Ohio Agricultural & Community Development Foundation (SOADCF) –  Provides agricultural and economic assistance to southern Ohio’s tobacco counties to either replace the production of tobacco with other agricultural products, or to mitigate the adverse economic impact of reduced tobacco production in the region.


Entrepreneurial & Start-Up Resources

Entrepreneurial Development Group (EDG) – The ACEDC is a partner in the Entrepreneurial Development Group which provides start-up and existing businesses with free business workshops.

1st Stop Business Connection –’s resource to access free state-level information on how to start your business.

Ohio Secretary of State – Check out the Starting a Business Guide to assure your business is a legal and properly documented entity.

East Central Ohio SCORE – Athens’ branch of  more than 13,000 entrepreneurs, business leaders and executives who volunteer as mentors to America’s small businesses.

Grow Ohio Incentive Program – implemented to spur job creation in Ohio by offering new employers one of two premium discounts:

Appalachian Growth Partners – APEG’s new CDFI is a loan fund that partners with local and regional banks to increase the loan amounts to qualified small businesses. It is designed to provide flexible, gap-filling loans that will work in partnership with area banks. AGC connects funding organizations in Ohio’s Appalachian-designated counties to more fully support the small businesses that drive economic growth. Learn more: