Invest 606 accelerator, pitch contest announces finalists

Published 11:50 am Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Invest 606, a business accelerator serving Eastern and Southern Kentucky, has announced 13 business Finalists who have a chance to win over $30,000 in cash prizes through its pitch contest.

Launched in 2019, Invest 606 provides support to the businesses with 6 months of training and services. A $15,000 grand prize, $8,000 second prize, and $4,000 third prize will be awarded to the 13 Finalists completing the accelerator, along with thousands of dollars in other cash and in-kind prizes. To be eligible to apply, the Finalists had to be based in the 606 area code.

The selection process involved a competitive review among a panel of judges that are business and economic leaders in the state and region. The 13 Finalists are based across 9 different counties in the region including Estill, Floyd, Harlan, Knott, Lee, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, and Rowan. Combined they employ more than 31 people and generate more than $700,000 in annual revenue. The businesses represent nine different industries including agriculture, entertainment, hospitality, local food, manufacturing, retail, tourism, and technology. The Finalist businesses and owners are:

  • Appalachian Horse Project: Ginny Grulke, Knott County
  • Appalachian Quilt & Craft: Carolyn Davis, Perry County
  • Backroads of Appalachia: Erik Hubbard, Harlan County
  • Faith Trust A Little Dust Bakery: Trevor and Samantha Stovall, Floyd County
  • Graze: Kelli Thompson, Pike County
  • Hazard Coffee Company: Stephen Prosser, Perry County
  • HOME Appalachia: Tasha Sams, Pike County
  • Independent Metal Works LLC: Jesse and Lois White, Floyd County
  • Mountain House Mushrooms: Joshua and Shannon Dahler, Estill County
  • Positive Attraction Soaps Co.: Vickie and Sarah Crabtree, Lee County
  • Read Spotted Newt: Mandi Fugate Sheffel, Perry County
  • Reimagines: Elizabeth Schroer, Pulaski County
  • Tipper Valley Farm: Chelsey Mayse, Rowan County

Over the next 6 months, the Finalists will complete an individualized and flexible training plan. They will present their business to the public at a Demo Day on January 22, 2022 in Pikeville. The Final Pitch contest will be held April 23, 2022 in Williamsburg.

Invest 606 is founded and led by Dr. Geoff Marietta with the mission to catalyze business growth in the 606 by connecting entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed today and grow tomorrow. Marietta is an entrepreneur-in-residence at the University of the Cumberlands, which also serves as the home office of Invest 606.

“This is our third incredibly talented cohort of Finalists,” said Marietta. “There are now 33 businesses that have participated in Invest 606 representing 14 different counties, 135 employees, and over $4 million in revenue. The future of Kentucky’s 606 region is brighter than ever.”

A full list of the Finalists and their businesses can be found at Anyone interested in the events and the accelerator contest may learn more by visiting their website or following Invest 606 on Facebook.

The University of the Cumberlands is a founding partner of Invest 606, alongside the James Graham Brown Foundation and the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky.