Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

June 19, 2013

Calling all angels

Investors sought to help start-ups

ASHLAND — Mick Fosson is looking for angel investors who want something more substantial than a simple return on their money.

Fosson, director of the Ashland Area Innovation Center which is a part of the Kentucky Innovation Network, recently met with local investors and introduced them to Rain Source Capital CEO Steven Mercil, who has been hired by the Appalachian Regional Commission to organize an angel investment group which will offer financial backing for start-up companies.

“The reason they hired me is I’m one of the few people who does this,” Mercil said after meeting with a small group of potential angel investors at Bellefonte Country Club.

Fosson and Mercil said angel investors are generally defined as those who’ve been successful with their own finances, with specified net worth and assets, who want to invest in private companies with growth potential while also feeding their own desire to invest in their region, or the future of generations to follow.

“The second motivation is to give back. They want to find things in thier own back yard,” Fosson said. “Their motivations may include their own grandchildren.”

According to their own website, “The Ashland Area Innovation Center is a business accelerator charged with developing eastern Kentucky’s economy through the creation of knowledge-based businesses.  The AAIC, which serves Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Fleming, Greenup, Lawrence, Lewis and Rowan Counties, will enable clients to develop innovative knowledge-based business opportunities in an ever-changing global market.

“AAIC supports the creation of Knowledge-Based Businesses by: Fostering entrepreneurial opportunities; Assisting clients with the application of appropriate technology; Expanding existing businesses; and, providing access to a synchronized statewide network including capital, web-based resources, technical guidance, reference materials and ICC protocols,” Fosson said.

“The Ashland Area Innovation Center addresses economic challenges that Eastern Kentucky must overcome if it is to be a player in the new knowledge-based economy. These grassroots challenges (brain drain, a weak entrepreneurial culture, lack of new company start-ups and downsizing of existing companies) have hindered Kentucky’s competitive position in the creation of new economy jobs.

“Entrepreneurs can only flourish in regions that provide a supportive infrastructure. Through the AAIC, that infrastructure is being nurtured and developed,” said Fosson.

For more information about angel investment programs, contact Fosson by email at mick.fosson@kctcs.edu, or call (606) 922-2678.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com.

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