As the Innovation Acceleration Strategy (IAS) program here at The Hub rolls into the new year, we are very excited about what 2017 will bring.
We just received 19 fantastic mini-grant applications from the IAS communities in McDowell, Wyoming and Lincoln counties, and Madison and Alderson.
The citizens there working to diversify and grow their local economy can get up $2,000 to help them along the way. We will be announcing the recipients in the next few days!
Until then, here is a sneak peek at some of the great project ideas that could get mini grant funding!
Arts and Culture has been a big focus in McDowell County, including a great event by Create Your State that happened back in October.
One application we received builds on this great work. The team wants to create a community open mic to build support for local musicians, as well as an “Artist Alley” mural project in downtown Welch.
In Wyoming County, we also have an active and engaged Arts team. In their mini grant application, they discuss building a community art class program.
They envision their space to also grow into a gallery for local artists as well, hoping to support them entrepreneurially.
The Recreation and Tourism team in Lincoln County wants to focus on recreation and entrepreneurship opportunities along the Guyandotte River.
Their application includes increasing kayaking and canoeing events on the river, as well as demonstrating that kayak rental on the river is a viable business opportunity. Increasing locations and signage for river access is a goal, too.
Another proposed river project comes from our Madison Recreation and Tourism team. Their plan is to design, purchase and install signs along the Little Coal River from the Madison City Park to the Public Access Ramp located next to the Little Coal River Campground located just north of Julian.
A second part of this project would be to construct a boat ramp at the Shaffer Road Exit north of Danville.
In Alderson, the Small Business team envisions a project to revitalize the Historic Business District.
One of the smaller projects within the larger vision is the acquisition of an old caboose or dining car, which will be located within the district, and used as a café or small restaurant.
However, without reasonable assurance of financial success, it will be difficult to attract an entrepreneur to invest in this project. So, they are requesting assistance with the cost of obtaining a market study regarding the economic feasibility of the project.
So, with all these great ideas out there in Southern West Virginia, we look forward to announcing the winners in January and watching this great work happen.