BY DAN TAYLOR, ENERGIZING ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITIES PROGRAM DIRECTOR, THE HUB
Legal Aid of West Virginia has a great new project called the Community Economic Development Legal Project that provides free business and nonprofit legal assistance to:
- Individuals in WV with limited resources who want to start or grow a small business in an economically challenged community.
- Nonprofits promoting community development to benefit low-income or low-opportunity residents .
- Individuals facing barriers to work, education, or training because of problems with licensure, past criminal records, or other legal issues.
We all know legal assistance is often expensive and cost prohibitive to non-traditional entrepreneurs or those in the communities that need the most help. That is why Legal Aid stepped in to fill this gap and answer much need questions like:
- What type of employee rules/policies do I need for my business?
- Do I need a partnership agreement if I am starting a business with another person?
- Do I file my business as a limited liability company or some other type of filing to protect my property?
- Do I need to have bylaws for my business?
- How do I file 1099 tax forms as a subcontractor/apprentice?
- Do I need a trademark for my business logo?
- Do I need a copyright for my written material?
- Can I receive assistance in getting my driver’s license back?
- Can I have my nonviolent felony expunged through the West Virginia Second Chance Act?
And while they can help with these types of legal questions, before you call, you must do the legwork needed to develop your idea.
As soon as you complete these foundational steps, you can reach out to them:
- Research your business or nonprofit area of interest
- Write business plan, with steps to implement your mission statement
- Identify funding
- Develop preliminary budgets
If you need help here as well, reach out to the West Virginia Small Business Development Center for free assistance! Read them at 304-558-2960 or 888-WVA-SBDC and firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have other questions for Legal Aid or want to know if you’re eligible, please contact Cindy Withrow at (304) 343-3013, ext. 2115.