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SKED Awarded ARC Grant to Continue Entrepreneurial Training

SOMERSET, Ky. – Southeast Kentucky entrepreneurs and small business owners will continue to have access to a nationally recognized small business training program in the coming months, thanks to an ongoing partnership between Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).

The ARC awarded SKED funding in the amount of $132,160 to assist the nonprofit economic development corporation in continuing to bring its highly successful Entrepreneurial SMARTS training into eight communities across the region during this program period.

In addition to the training sessions in 2014-2015, SKED is planning two Entrepreneurial SMARTS reunions and three networking programs. More details on those events will be shared early next year.

ARC Federal Co-Chair        SKED conducts the small business training program – Entrepreneurial SMARTS: Simple Methods And Reality-based Training for Success – which is based on a nationally recognized  program called Core Four® Business Planning Course. The ARC has provided funding support for these training sessions for the past two years. Since SKED began offering the program in early 2012, a total of 344 aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners have completed SMARTS training in 27 sessions.

Entrepreneurial SMARTS is a four-session, 12-hour course designed to provide entrepreneurs with the knowledge and resource materials they need to get a new small business off the ground. This training also provides owners of existing small businesses the skills they need to become more successful and grow their businesses. SKED schedules training sessions in communities across the region, allowing for increased access to the public. Cost for the training is $25 per person and includes a Core Four® Business Planning Course manual and resource materials for each participant.

It’s the success of Entrepreneurial SMARTS graduates that really tell the story of its impact.

Just ask Crossfit Ignis owner Kelli Johnson of Somerset, Ky. Johnson completed Entrepreneurial SMARTS training in 2012. Johnson’s area of expertise is in fitness. Owning and operating a successful business was new to her. Once she completed the training session, she applied for an U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Micro Loan through SKED. In 2013, she opened her own business and in the summer of 2014 expanded to a bigger location to accommodate her flourishing business.

Bradley is among more than 200 trainers from over 80 organizations across the country who have been certified as Core Four® Business Planning Course instructors.

At Entrepreneurial SMARTS training sessions, entrepreneurs and small business owners are

instructed in how to create a business plan, including basic knowledge about starting, financing and operating a business and planning for success. Class participants are also given the tools needed to determine if business ownership is for them. Upon successful completion of this training, participants receive a certificate recognizing their achievements and will be eligible to apply for business startup or expansion funding through SKED’s diverse loan programs.

This nationally recognized course is valued at $250 per student. However, due to continued funding support from the ARC and matching funds from SKED, participants pay a mere $25 per person.

For information about entrepreneurship training, contact Bradley at (606) 335-1488 or by email at To register, visit, then click on the training link.

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