City of Pickens selected by ACOG as pilot city

PICKENS — The Appalachian Council of Governments’ Department of Planning and Economic Development recently received a $55,000 federal grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to build an online “Entrepreneur Friendly Toolkit.”

The city of Pickens has been selected as a pilot city to build its toolkit and encourage entrepreneurs.

The toolkit will take local leaders through eight interactive “steps” which will help their communities organize themselves around supporting local entrepreneurs and small business.

The steps include resource assessment, centralized information, training programs, networks, business sustainability, local regulations (zoning, permitting, licensing, etc.), business-government communication and public recognition of entrepreneurs. Each step will require leaders to conduct their own analysis and input their own local information into the toolkit. When they complete the eight steps, the local leaders will simply click “print,” and a customized PDF report will be generated, entitled “City (or County) of Entrepreneur Friendly Action Plan.”

The plan document will be customized in that most of its content will be the local information provided during completion of the eight steps.

After the city of Pickens completes the resource assessment, for example, an organized map of local resources for entrepreneurs will be generated — complete with those resources’ descriptions and contact information. Two other useful features of the program include: participating communities will have a user name and password so that they will always be able to log back in and update their action plans, and communities will be able to post their completed action plans on the toolkit website, enabling them to share their own good ideas with communities throughout the region.

With participation from two volunteer pilot communities (the city of Pickens and Oconee County), the toolkit’s development will begin in October and should last approximately 12 months. The city of Pickens will begin pulling together a task force including staff such as the director of the Pickens Revitalization Association, City Administrator, Business License Official, and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce Board, City Council, SCBA or SCORE, and local businesses.

For more information, contact David Shellhorse, Economic Development Services Manager, at or (864) 241-4649.