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ARC State Program Manager Comments

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LIGHTS Regional Innovation & SEE

Total Qualifying Score: 6
County (ARC Region): Yes
State (ARC Region): Yes
Q3. IRS Status: Nonprofit – 2
Q4. Parent Entity: Yes – 0
Q5. 2 or More Full-Time Employees : Yes (as of 12/31/2019)
Q7. Budget Level: $100,000 to $250,000 – 2 (Last Fiscal Year Actual Income)
Q8. Restricted Reserves: No – 1
Q9. CARES Act Funding: No – 1
Q13. Participation by Executive: Yes


LIGHTS Regional Innovation & SEE
Athens, Athens County, Ohio 45701-2979

County (ARC Region) Athens
State (ARC Region) Ohio


Q1. Mission:

LIGHTS provides expertise, training, and resources to the region’s workforce, entrepreneurs, companies, and local communities through a series of Innovation Gateways. The Gateways provide business incubation and makerspaces. LIGHTS is for individuals, that live or work in the 26-county territory, with an interest in building a product and/or creating a business.


Funded by an Appalachian Regional Commission POWER grant, the Social Enterprise Ecosystem (SEE Appalachia) is a project that seeks to make positive changes to health and wellness, education and the environment. SEE assists social enterprises, which combine the social mission of a nonprofit with the market-driven approach of a business, with financing and operational sustainability in every stage, from start-up to eventual growth and expansion. The Voinovich School and its partners, the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio and the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, work throughout a 10-county region in Ohio and West Virginia to support social enterprises that share the project’s goals.

Q2. How organization aligns with ARC’s Plan & Goals:

  1. Our organizations focus on providing technical assistance in the form of a more than traditional entrepreneurial development and Small Business Development support team, leveraging a network of local hubs focused upon product development and making in accordance with add-on Small Business Development technical assistance. In addition, our organizations are working to meet a need and fill a gap within the local service provision ecosystems, providing Services of focused around makers, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and social enterprises.
  2. Our organizations teach the local populations, those which we get to Market to and engage with first-hand, in coordination with local partners, to allow them to go forth and act on their own. We provide them direct support and the knowledge to go forward with or without us.
  3. We are working to build out critical infrastructure in the way of human capital, through entrepreneurial development. Why all this is not a traditional infrastructure need, including broadband, Etc, it is necessary to help provide a future workforce for the local economy and bridge the gap between education and the workforce.
  4. Our organizations serve existing and new local businesses and organizations whose roots are situated here within Appalachia. The vast majority of individuals whom we serve are focused on growing wealth for this area not to be exported.
  5. As part of our collective missions, we support the education of skills and otherwise to a wide diverse population of students, youth, entrepreneurs, employees, and business owners. In addition, we strive to connect any and all organizations we touch with each other when applicable so that we have a large cohesive effort.

Q3. IRS Filing Status: 501(c)(3)   

Q4. Unit or Chapter of Larger Organization: Yes

Q5. Employees:

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 5/1 (as of 9/1/2020)

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 6/1 (as of 12/31/2019)

Current Year Income/Expenses: $258,330/$126,706

Q6. Fiscal Year: A combination of Academic (July-June) & Federal (October-September)

Q7. Budget Level

Last Fiscal Year Income/Expenses (Actual): $173,828 / $33,793

Current Year Income/Expenses (Projected): $258,330 / $126,706

Q8. Restricted Reserves (Amount): No ($)

Q9. CARES Act Funding (Amount): No ($)
Received From:   Date Received:
For What Purpose(s):

Q10. Negative Impacts from COVID-19:

COVID has forced a transition for a small team of technical assistance providers, who traditionally provide said assistance in person across a 28 County footprint, to primarily switching to remote technical assistance delivery in and across an area with historical connectivity in Broadband issues in concert with digital literacy challenges. the pandemic and related health and safety issues has upended traditional service provision, placing a much larger burden and challenge upon lead finding to be able to provide assistance to the large service area.

Q11. Top Three Concerns:
Continued Funding
Personnel Turnover
Vision & Mission Fit with Regional Needs and Resource Pools

How Participation in Program Will Address Concerns:

I hope that as a cohort, the program will help us think about the larger picture in which we can better determine our methodology and process for determining how we fit within the regional ecosystem, what Key activities we should further lean into to ensure the viability and sustainability while providing to and meeting the needs for the local population


Q12. Applying as a Proposed Cohort? Yes

List of Organizations in Proposed Cohort:
LIGHTS Regional Innovation

Q13. Executive Director or CEO Will Participate in the Program? Yes

Q14. Top Two Choices for Cohort Instruction:

Course #1 Choice: 1-Mission & Operations

Course #2 Choice: 2-Short-term Financial Management

Q15. Desired Course Schedule for Cohort Instruction:

#1 Desired Course Schedule: 1-Winter 2021 A: 5-Week Course (Jan. 25, 2021 – Feb. 28, 2021)

#2 Desired Course Schedule: 2-Winter 2021 B: 5-Week Course (Mar. 1, 2021-April 4, 2021)


Name: Nathaniel Berger Berger, Associate Director, LIGHTS Regional Innovation

Application Approved by Organization Director or CEO? Yes, Approved by Executive Director/CEO

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