The 2019 SOAR Summit will feature more than 90 exhibits from businesses and organizations from Appalachia Kentucky.

The annual convention, set for Sept. 5-6 at the Appalachian Wireless Arena, is a celebration of the collaboration and innovation that is transforming Appalachia Kentucky.

“The progress we are making across Appalachia Kentucky is a testament to so many people, businesses, and organizations collaborating and doing things that have never been done,” said Jared Arnett, executive director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR). “More than six years ago, the region came together for the very first summit, and to think of the progress we have made since that first meeting is truly remarkable.”

Some of the businesses and organizations showcasing at the 2019 SOAR Summit include:

A virtual reality tour of AppHarvest’s 2.76 million square foot high-tech greenhouse currently under construction in Morehead

Morehead State University’s Space Science Center

Kentucky Solar Cats, the Bath County High School Solar Car Racing team

Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation

Savage Farms, an innovative maple syrup enterprise in Lawrence County

Harlan County Tourism

Symbiosis Media Group

Maysville Community and Technical College’s Accelerated Lineman Program (includes drone training)

USA Drone Port

Belfry High School’s Robotics team

Slope Masters, an eastern Kentucky remote control lawnmower company

Floyd County Schools’ STEM Bus

“The Summit is about us building the stage for our partners to share their transformative projects that are making an impact not only in their communities but throughout the region,” Arnett added. “Those attending the summit will have the opportunity to experience the proof that there is a future in Appalachia, and we hope that they will leave inspired to be a part of this incredible movement that is transforming our region.”

Major Dan Rooney, a decorated combat pilot and PGA professional, is this year’s keynote speaker. Rooney, who was ABC World News’ Person of the Year, is the founder of Folds of Honor, a non-profit organization that provides educational scholarships to America’s fallen soldiers and disabled service members’ spouses and children. Appalachian Wireless is the keynote speaker sponsor.

The summit will also feature the first ever Startup Appalachia Pitch Competition Thursday, Sept. 5, at 5 p.m. at New Beginnings Fellowship Church, located next to the Appalachian Wireless Arena’s Main Street entrance. The competition is a collaboration between SOAR, USDA Rural Development, and the Cabinet for Economic Development’s KY Innovation Office. Ten businesses will give pitches during the event for a chance to win $10,000 in prizes. The Pitch Competition is sponsored by Peoples Bank, Invest 606, and Toyota Tsusho.

Scholarships are available by calling (606) 766-1160 or emailing

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