Grace Fricks

Grace Fricks at White House Forum

Grace Fricks, president and CEO of Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, was an invited guest at a rural economic development forum hosted by President Barack Obama and the White House’s Rural Council on Aug. 16.

Fricks joined 125 economic development leaders, farmers, and small business owners participating in a session aimed at boosting capital access, hiring, and innovation in rural America.

Fricks, a member of the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Capital Advisory Committee, was part of a roundtable discussion led by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The group discussed how to create jobs in tourism while balancing conservation concerns.

“That’s an important issue for us in North Georgia,” Fricks said. “The Appalachian Trail and National Forest draw a lot of visitors. We want to maintain quality of the experience while supporting small businesses and job creation.”

President Obama announced several new initiatives at the forum, including a $1 billion impact investment in the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Investment Company program and a joint SBA and U.S. Department of Agriculture venture capital outreach program for small rural businesses.

Picture: Grace Fricks with Mayor Roy D. Buol of Dubuque, Iowa.