Updated: Jan 14, 2022
Kelly O’Bryant Leads Charge in Providing Training, Assistance and Loan Capital to Women-Owned Small Businesses in Central Appalachia Region
(COLUMBUS, OH) – ECDI has named Kelly O’Bryant as Director of the Women’s Business Center of Central Appalachia. ECDI, in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Shawnee State University (SSU), recently announced it will open the Women’s Business Center (WBC) of Central Appalachia at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth in 2021.
O’Bryant’s hire is a major step in seeing the WBC of Central Appalachia, ECDI’s fourth WBC in Ohio, open as a vital resource to women-owned small businesses in the region.
“I am excited to join the team at ECDI and work with entrepreneurs and communities to create and grow businesses in the Central Appalachian region,” said O’Bryant, a southern Ohio native and SSU alumna. “I want nothing more than to see this region continue to rebound and rise up to its amazing potential. I believe the WBC of Central Appalachia will be an integral part in making that happen.”
“I want nothing more than to see this region continue to rebound and rise up to its amazing potential. I believe the WBC of Central Appalachia will be an integral part in making that happen.”
The WBC of Central Appalachia will serve as a one-stop-resource to support and develop women entrepreneurs in rural and underserved areas. The center will provide business education, training and mentorship services. Facilities including printing, laptops, and wi-fi will be available to WBC members for an accessible membership fee and at no cost to current SSU University students. Also, as a microloan intermediary, ECDI will provide small business loans up to $500,000 – a critical component of the WBC’s ability to create opportunities for women and local jobs.
“It is important to ECDI to create opportunities for women in this currently underserved area. Having a strong leader who is from Southern Ohio will be a critical element to our success as we enter this new market,” said Inna Kinney, Founder and CEO of ECDI. “Kelly is highly qualified to serve as a local representative of ECDI, and to lead the effort to grow the economy and create jobs by supporting small business entrepreneurs. We are pleased to welcome her to our team.”
Prior to joining the WBC of Central Appalachia, O’Bryant served as the Director of the Export Assistance Network at The Ohio State University South Centers where she assisted Southern Ohio companies with export readiness, international market research and market entry. She is certified as a Business Advisor by the University of Toledo, a Trade and Export Counselor by the Small Business Administration, and a Global Business Professional by the North American Small Business International Trade Educators.
The WBC of Central Appalachia will be housed temporarily at SSU’s Vern Riffe Center for the Arts before making a permanent move to the University’s Kricker Innovation Hub in Downtown Portsmouth, following completion of a $3.5 million renovation funded by local support, the State of Ohio and the Economic Development Administration.
Learn more about the WBC of Central Appalachia. To learn more about ECDI’s three additional SBA-supported WBCs (WBC of Northern Ohio in Cleveland, WBC of Central Ohio in Columbus, and the WBC of Greater Cincinnati), visit wbcohio.org.
Media Contact: Amee BellWanzo
For Immediate Release: May 14, 2021