SOAR Innovation tours CANE Kitchen in Letcher County

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WHITESBURG, Ky. – SOAR Innovation Director Ryan Jones and Jeffery Justice, business and innovation champion, attended the Letcher County Chamber of Commerce meeting on Monday, February 25 at the Community Agricultural Nutritional Enterprises, Inc. (CANE).

CANE is located at the old Whitesburg High School and features a 9,000-square-foot commercial kitchen.  The kitchen serves as a permanent outlet for local famers to create value-added products to take to market.

“This is an example of a collaboration that is impacting the community but also has the potential to impact the region and beyond,” said Jones. “it was great to learn more about this program, and it gives us another tool as we meet with entrepreneurs and small business owners whose product involves local food and production.”

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Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation (MCHC) leases the facility to CANE for $1.

“What CANE is doing is essentially providing a space to incubate business ideas that involve local foods,” said Justice. “It’s a very innovative concept, and ideas such as this, coupled with innovation and technology, present vast opportunities for existing small businesses and entrepreneurs to access markets beyond where the product is produced.”

SOAR Innovation is a new partnership between Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR) and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s KY Innovation office.  SOAR Innovation is assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs whose business or idea has the capability to expand existing markets or create new markets by leveraging technology.

For more information on SOAR Innovation, visit here.

If you are an existing small business owner that wants to learn more about how innovation can expand existing markets and create new markets, or an aspiring entrepreneur, contact Jones at