BY STACY THOMAS, COMMUNITY COACHING PROGRAMS ASSOCIATE, THE HUB
Good news is on the horizon for women-owned small businesses in West Virginia. We’re happy to share that a new resource provider, the WV Women’s Business Center, has officially launched! This is an exciting endeavor, especially at this time, with so many small businesses adapting and pivoting to face new challenges. As the name implies, there will be support for women-owned businesses, however, the mission of the WV WBC is also to empower other socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs across WV and drive overall small business growth in the state. This initiative falls under the umbrella of Natural Capital Investment Fund, an organization that is familiar with supporting the needs of small businesses in WV and throughout Appalachia.
The Business Center, funded with support from the Small Business Administration, has physical offices in both Charleston and Fairmont to help support the entire state. I am proud to serve as one of the seventeen women from around the state that make up the Advisory Board. At the helm of the organization is Nora Myers, serving as the Executive Director. Nora previously worked with start-ups as the LaunchLab Director at WVU’s Beckley campus and delivered business development support to companies seeking venture capital as the Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Charleston. She also served as a commercial lender to small and medium enterprises.
The organization is ready to support dreamers, doers, and entrepreneurs with one-on-one business counseling, training on technical topics (like accounting), marketing support, and growth opportunities. Networking and mentoring will be integral as well, providing support and peer learning opportunities for program participants. Finally, the WV WBC will provide assistance in obtaining funding and financing–a crucial component of the organization’s work.
I am excited to see the impact of this organization and the vital support that will be provided to our communities and businesses. This is an exciting step in the right direction for women, minority communities, and all West Virginians alike.