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Appalachian Growth Capital gets funds to help small businesses

NELSONVILLE, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced last week the Ohio Development Services Agency will release $10 million to Appalachian Growth Capital, a community development financial institution headquartered in Nelsonville to create a low-interest loan program to help small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis in Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties.

“Our priority is to help Ohio businesses and the people of Ohio. These funds will do both by helping businesses weather the current crisis and keeping Ohio workers on the job,” Lydia Mihalik, director of Development, said in a news release.

The new loan program is not designed to compete with commercial lenders but instead is an option for businesses when conventional financing is not available. Additionally, AGC is able to partner with commercial lenders to support a business’ efforts to retain and create jobs.

“This infusion of funds will allow our organization to provide low-cost financing to help small businesses retain and create jobs in the current COVID-19 environment,” Brad Blair, COO and executive vice president of Appalachian Growth Capital, said in the release. “We appreciate Development’s support of this initiative to help eligible borrowers keep their businesses operating and, in some cases, growing.”

The program has specific eligibility requirements and will be made available only to businesses with less than $40 million in annual sales. The program requires the borrower to commit to retaining or creating jobs as a term of the loan. The program cannot be used to refinance existing debt. AGC will use standard underwriting guidelines when considering loan requests with an emphasis on 13-week cash flow projections.

“This is exciting news for our sister organization and the region we serve,” Mike Jacoby, Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE) president, said. “Small companies have been hit the hardest, and we thank Development for providing AGC with the ability to help more of them throughout southern and eastern Ohio.”

OhioSE is the regional JobsOhio Network Partner providing economic development work in 25 of the 32 counties AGC covers.

“In addition to providing financing, we will meet quarterly with our borrowers to assess their progress,” Blair added. “We want to support them and ensure they are successful as they operate in the COVID-19 environment with its challenges and opportunities.”

More information about AGC and its financing programs are available by contacting Blair at or 740-753-5359. Learn more at

Ramaco Carbon partners with Oak Ridge National Laboratory

CHARLESTON — Carbon technology firm Ramaco Carbon — with operations in Wyoming and West Virginia — announced last week it has entered into a partnership with Tennessee-based Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the nation’s largest U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) science and energy laboratory, to explore innovations for the conversion of coal to high-value advanced carbon products and materials.

The company said in a news release the five-year umbrella cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) will allow ORNL and Ramaco Carbon to work together on new projects that use coal as a manufacturing feedstock for carbon fibers, building products and composites, as well as electrodes for energy storage devices and new materials for additive manufacturing, including large-scale 3D printing.

The agreement brings together ORNL’s chemical and materials science and engineering, computational science and advanced manufacturing expertise with Ramaco Carbon’s coal-based research, manufacturing and 3D printing facilities being developed near Sheridan, Wyoming, the release said.

“We are deeply honored to be partnered with the DOE’s leading innovator in advanced carbon materials and additive manufacturing,” Ramaco Carbon chairman and CEO Randall Atkins said in the release. “We’re proud to have built our relationship with ORNL’s world-class team over the past several years, and are now excited to form a more direct partnership. We look forward to working alongside them to develop cutting-edge research into how we can utilize our nation’s most abundant resource — coal — to manufacture and commercialize high-value advanced products and new carbon materials. We hope that by working with ORNL and the other national labs, we can create novel ways to use coal to both stimulate the economy and help ensure our national security.”

“ORNL is pleased to work with Ramaco Carbon to push the boundaries of what is possible with our science and technology capabilities to support coal-to-products breakthroughs,” ORNL Deputy for Projects Moe Khaleel said in the release. “Oak Ridge has a rich history of scientific research and facilities supporting the nation’s exploration, production and use of abundant, domestic fossil energy, and we look forward to continuing our mission in this area.”

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