Anna Heremes – From exchange student to the Entrepreneur for the Public Good

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Courtesy Anna Heremes

Berea, KY – Anna Heremes, an alumni of FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange) program, who studied at Fernley High School in the 2014-2015 academic year and is currently a freshman at Berea College, KY has been selected as one of 20 members of Cohort 14 for the Entrepreneurship for the Public Good (EPG) Program Summer Institute. The Entrepreneurship for the Public Good (EPG) Program at Berea College creates a multi-year, learning experience for undergraduate students to practice and implement Entrepreneurial Leadership in rural communities of Central Appalachia. As the answer to the question “Why did you make a decision to participate in EPG?” her answer was “This program is focused on economic development of the Appalachian region that is very similar to my home community of Shostka, Ukraine. I aspire to bring the expertise and skills EPG will give me back to my home community in order to uplift the economy of the region.”

The Appalachian region is composed of one-third of the 100 poorest counties in the United States due to extremely high levels of unemployment, deprivation and a very scarce infrastructure – commuter rails, Internet access, public universities, and freeways. The Entrepreneurship for the Public Good (EPG), has a goal of promoting ventures that will help others to become aware of the region’s economic and cultural assets. The program accomplishes this goal by promoting adventure tourism in the region and partnering with the Kentucky Trail Town program to attract tourists to small communities of Eastern Kentucky. During the summer of 2014, EPG cohort conducted a research about economic advantages of adventure tourism and informed eight counties of Eastern Kentucky about their findings, prompting them to apply to the Kentucky Trail Town Program. The EPG team did not only analyze the statistics but experienced the region as adventure tourists themselves and traveled across the state and conducting interviews with local businessmen. The program participants worked with small communities like Livingston, KY to register as a Trail Town as well as helping Berea to become a Trail Town in 11 months. This special status helps the small communities to attract tourists to hike, bike, kayak, eat and stay in the communities and in that way to bring the revenue to the local budget. Not only that, but according to the observations and interviews conducted in the communities that partner with EPG, there is a significant health benefit for the residents of the community as well as the creation of the new mode of transportation for locals to work, school and shopping.

Anna Heremes is convinced that the tools and experience that she will get at the EPG program this summer will be useful in her effort to spur the economic development of her home community of Shostka, Ukraine. She sees the potential for eco- and heritage tourism as well as for opening various other enterprises in the region. She anticipates to adopt a new entrepreneurial mindset and receive strong mentorship for her future ventures while at the Entrepreneurship for the Public Good program as well as to maintain the network and the skills learned after the completion of the program.

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If you are interested in finding out more information about EPG program or Berea College, please visit https://www.epgberea.com/en/, or contact Anna at heremesa@berea.edu.

Editor’s Note: Anna Heremes was an international exchange student in Fernley in 2014-2015. She went to Fernley High School and after completion of her exchange year, returned to her home country of Ukraine. A year after that, she was accepted into Berea College in Kentucky thanks to the support of Fernley community. She is taking a summer class in Berea called Entrepreneurship for the Public Good and one of the assignments there is to submit a press release about her experience in this program.

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