Announcing Our 2021 Seed Grant Winners

Visitors riding horses on the Moonville Rail Trail in Vinton County, Ohio. Photo from the Moonville Rail Trail Association.

This spring twenty-seven mini-grants totaling more than $12,000 were awarded to businesses, individuals, organizations, and municipalities located in the nine-county area served by Ohio’s Winding Road.  Ohio’s Winding Road seed grants are all under $700 and designed to fill in gaps or jumpstart local projects or businesses.

This is the third year for the seed grant program and each year the number of applications and variety of projects has continued to grow.  Grants have funded such things as promotional materials, improved websites allowing for online sales, signage, labels, art supplies, video production, guided tour development, flower baskets, beekeeping supplies and chicken coops.  Each of these projects was funded based on their intent and ability to increase and improve the experience economy in the Ohio’s Winding Road target area.  Seed grant recipients also receive increased marketing for their business or project through features on the Ohio’s Winding Road website, on social media or in the newsletter. 

The winners are:

Ohio’s Winding Road (OWR) is a locally driven economic development initiative in Appalachian Ohio, specifically in the Hocking and Muskingum River Valleys.  This includes the counties of Athens, Fairfield, Hocking, Meigs, Morgan, Muskingum, Perry, Vinton, and Washington.  Through its regional brand and network OWR strives to support and promote the experience economy in Appalachian Ohio that is both authentic and sustainable.  Seed grant applicants, their projects or businesses are reviewed and ranked based on their ability to provide an experience for both residents and visitors that is true to the mission of OWR and improves the quality of life in the region.  

The Ohio’s Winding Road is a collaborative network comprised of regional partners using their specific skill sets to enhance the initiative.  Partners include Ohio Hill Country Heritage Area, Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet), Rural Action, Ohio University and Hocking College providing services such as technical assistance, cooperative marketing, and access to professional support and facilities.  

Funds for the seed grant program are provided through OWR’s funding partners: USDA-RD, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) POWER grant program and the Sugarbush Foundation.