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The five gears in the model above represent the dynamic relationship between the entrepreneurial ecosystem, enterprises and market. The entrepreneurial ecosystem supports new entrepreneurs, who in turn create enterprises that produce goods and services, which feed into markets. The small arrows pushing the gears represent active measures that can be implemented to accelerate the process and magnify the impacts. At the right hand side of the model are promising market sectors that MACED has identified and the ancillary community benefits that work in these sectors can generate. Enterprises create goods and services that feed into markets, but also produce jobs and local spending power that help support local markets. The four arrows at the bottom (livelihoods for families, sustainable local economies, diverse regional economy and stronger communities) are all results of the various elements depicted in the model, and together these drive regional economic transition.



map of service area
MACED serves Kentucky and Central Appalachia, with a focus on the 54 Appalachian counties of Kentucky as designated by the Appalachian Regional Commission. Click here for a list of counties.

The Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) partners with local people to build upon the strengths of Kentucky and Central Appalachia. We create economic alternatives and strive to make Appalachian communities better places to live.


Since 1976, MACED’s commitment to the communities of Central Appalachia has shown us that high expectations, vision and hard work are essential to accomplish results. Three core strategies help us work toward our goal of transforming the lives of people and places in need in Central Appalachia through sustainable development.

• Community Investment — Investing capital and capacity-building technical assistance in people and enterprises to create economic opportunities, protect natural and cultural assets and provide critical services.

• Demonstration Initiatives — Developing new approaches to old problems and testing them out on the ground.

• Research and Communications for Policy Change — Conducting research around policy opportunities and barriers that results in better development practice and opportunities for people who need them.

MACED program of work follows three paths that flow directly from these core strategies.


Strengthening key sectors

Growing the size and strength of key sectors has the potential to develop substantial economic, environmental and community returns. MACED believes we can deepen our impact on the energy and forestry sectors in the region by focusing our range of tools on them.


Strengthening Key Sectors — Energy

• Energy Efficient Enterprises — Helping enterprises become more energy efficient and avoid the impact of rising energy costs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

• How$martKY — Working with electric cooperatives to fund energy efficiency retrofits for homes and businesses.

• Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance — Advancing state policy that supports investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Strengthening Key Sectors — Forestry

• Appalachian Carbon Partnership — Promoting sustainable forest management through education, financial assistance and new income options in the sale of carbon credits.

• Center for Forest and Wood Certification — Helping landowners and wood products companies get involved in forest and wood certification by providing certification expertise, education and group certificates.

Promoting entrepreneurship and homegrown development

Central Appalachia needs more entrepreneurs and stronger enterprises that create employment, provide needed services and support engaged residents. MACED can help these entrepreneurs be successful by providing capital and technical assistance.

• Enterprise Development — Providing loans and technical assistance to develop entrepreneurs and strengthen small businesses and nonprofits.

Influencing Kentucky’s economic policy and advancing an Appalachian transition

Too often, state and federal policies inadequately support needed services and sustainable development, subsidize harmful development or ignore the unique concerns and needs of Central Appalachia. To achieve change at scale, public policy must shift.

• Appalachian Transition Initiative — Advance the regional conversation about the need, potential and path toward a more just, sustainable and prosperous future.

• Kentucky Center for Economic Policy — Conducting research, analysis and education on state fiscal and economic policy issues.

• Research and Policy — Providing information and analysis to help citizens and decision makers understand the challenges, issues and opportunities facing Kentucky and Central Appalachia.

Click here to view MACED's Five-year Plan.