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. Regional 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 Service

The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service 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.


OhioMeansJobs-Athens County

OhioMeansJobs-Athens County is Athens County’s “one-stop” employment and training center, offering free services to existing or potential businesses. Free employer services include trainings, screening, special population placement, and more. Contact them at:


Area 14 Workforce Development Board

Area 14 is one of twenty local workforce areas in the state of Ohio, consisting of Athens, Meigs, and Perry counties. The Area 14 Workforce Development Board (WDB) is the representative group that is part of the Public Workforce System, a network of federal, state, and local offices that support economic expansion and develop the talent of the nation’s workforce.


Minority Business Assistance Center

MBAC works to advance business opportunities for minority and small disadvantaged business enterprises, and provide market access that leads to sustainable business relationships.


Women’s Business Enterprise Loan Program

This loan program is designed to stimulate the growth of existing women-owned businesses by providing loans at or below market rate interest. Applications can be found on the Ohio Department of Development website.


Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The Ohio State University South Centers has been chosen by the Ohio Department of Development Service to support the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). The MEP program provides easy access to the university researchers, facilities, equipment, and students in support of small and medium-sized businesses.


Appalachian Ohio Manufacturer’s Association

The mission of AOMC is to create manufacturer-led solutions in partnership with education, workforce, and economic development that motivate and prepare youth and incumbent workers through skills, training, and credentials to enter and advance in manufacturing careers.

State & Regional Development Agencies

Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)

ARC is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government.


Buckeye Hills Regional Council

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. OhioSE Economic Development


Ohio Statewide Development Corporation

A private, non-profit corporation that offers low-cost, long-term financing options for small businesses in Ohio.


COAD Community Development

Provides services to low- and moderate-income Appalachian Ohio residents and service providers.


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. EDG hosts monthly Lunch and Learn workshops for businesses in the area. Watch our social media for announcements!


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 ensure 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

OhioSE’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: 


LIGHTS Regional Innovation Network

LIGHTS provides expertise, training, and resources to the region’s workforce, entrepreneurs, companies, and local communities through a series of Innovation Gateways. The Gateways provide business incubation and makerspaces. LIGHTS is for individuals that live or work in the 26-county territory with an interest in building a product and/or creating a business.

Contact information: (740) 593-2439 or

For more information: LIGHTS Regional Innovation | Athens | LIGHTS Program



TechCred helps Ohioans learn new skills and helps employers build a stronger workforce with the skills needed in a technology-infused economy.

Many trainings that are available can be completed online which allows employees the flexibility they need to learn new skills. Some programs are also eligible for reimbursement!

Technology-focused credentials take a year or less to complete and prepare current and future employees for the technology jobs that Ohio employers need.

Apply for TechCred here: Apply | TechCred (

About TechCred and Eligible Credentials: Overview | TechCred (

Additional resources here: FAQ | TechCred (

Upskill your workforce today!


Social Enterprise Ecosystem (SEE) Appalachia

Funded by an Appalachian Regional Commission POWER grant, the Social Enterprise Ecosystem (SEE Appalachia) is a project that seeks to make positive changes to health and wellness, education and the environment. SEE assists social enterprises, which combine the social mission of a nonprofit with the market-driven approach of a business, with financing and operational sustainability in every stage, from start-up to eventual growth and expansion. The Voinovich School and its partners, the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio and the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, work throughout a 10-county region in Ohio and West Virginia to support social enterprises that share the project’s goals.

More information here: Social Enterprise Ecosystem (SEE) Appalachia | Ohio University