Marshall to host first Appalachian Conference on Social Enterprise March 17-18

The Marshall University Entrepreneurship program and the Lewis College of Business are hosting the first Appalachian Conference on Social Enterprise (ACOSE) Thursday, March 17, and Friday, March 18.

Community leaders will come together at Marshall to explore the power of social enterprise, according to Dr. Jonathan Butler, assistant professor of entrepreneurship for the college.

“Marshall’s new entrepreneurship area is delighted to partner with ARC, One Foundation, Rural Action, and others who are interested in social entrepreneurship and working to create innovative opportunities to help people both here in Appalachia and around the world," Butler said. "The new major in entrepreneurship emphasizes social entrepreneurship as one way to revitalize West Virginia and the surrounding region. Hopefully, this conference will spark student innovation and provide an impetus for a new cohort of social entrepreneurs from Marshall.”

Dr. Shane Tomblin, interim chair of the management, marketing and management information systems department, of which entrepreneurship is a part, said the ACOSE represents increasing efforts to better engage the surrounding community.

"The entrepreneurship major and the support of social entrepreneurship demonstrate the spirit of growth, collaboration and service that the Lewis College of Business should embody," Tomblin said.

Butler said they anticipate over 100 attendees at the conference with more than 30 presenters from the community. In addition to the conference, there will be a pre-conference kick-start tour led by Generation West Virginia from 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 16. The tour, which is limited to 25 people, will take place in Huntington and visit three local social enterprises including West Edge Factory, Wild Ramp and Huntington’s Kitchen. The cost for the tour is $25.

The fee for the Appalachian Conference on Social Enterprise March 17-18 is $80 for general admission and $40 for students, national and military service members or those who may have a need. Learn more and register at

In addition to the Marshall University Lewis College of Business, the ACOSE is sponsored by One Foundation, Rural Action, Generation West Virginia, the West Virginia University Department of Geology and Geography, Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition and the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development.

To learn more about future events in the Lewis College of Business, visit