Through our FASTER WV Initiative, Advantage Valley and its partners are building a stronger culture of entrepreneurship, providing small business owners with access to markets, financing, and education.
Advantage Valley received a grant award of $930,000 from Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and $362,00 from the Benedum Foundation for its “FASTER WV” Initiative ~ Fostering Advantages for StartUps & Entrepreneurial Resurgence in West Virginia. With Power Grant funding, the WV Small Business Development Center will hire a new "FASTER WV" business coach, a “start-up specialist” to work with budding entrepreneurs. Participants will be strongly encouraged to take entrepreneurship training classes, (short or long courses to build necessary business skills) either through BridgeValley Community and Technical College’s FastTrac Program or Unlimited Futures’ Planning for Profit Class. Unlimited Futures has hired another business start up coach with Power Grant funding to expand their capacity to assist new entrepreneurs. Participants of the FASTER WV program will have access to a Revolving Loan Fund dedicated to the Advantage Valley region. Our goal is to facilitate start up or expansion of 50 businesses at the end of three years.
Leading this collaborative program, Advantage Valley will help boost entrepreneurial startups and expansions in the following targeted emerging sectors, among others:
Food & Beverage Production (playbook)
River & Outdoor Recreation/Hospitality (playbook)
Dependent Care Services
Small Manufacturing (playbook)
Home Healthcare (playbook) & Behavioral and Rehabilitative Healthcare (playbook)
These targeted areas have high growth potential and higher wage prospects. This initiative builds upon research from 2018 outlined in the “Best Market Opportunities for Business Development,” a report and series of practical Playbooks identifying 20 key business sectors that are ripe for entrepreneurial business and job development. Feel free to open, download, and use the research and data available in these playbooks to help you as you consider starting a business!
Click here if you wish to receive more information on FASTER WV Program!
Meet the FASTER WV Team:
BridgeValley Community and Technical College provides workforce development, entrepreneurial, and educational services to thousands of students and trainees in the region, including through its established Entrepreneurship Certification program. Dedicated staff will be recruiting FASTER WV entrepreneurial participants.
Unlimited Futures, Inc. is a micro-enterprise development center and business incubator offering live ZOOM business classes, business coaching, tools, and resources for budding entrepreneurs. Business coaches will be recruiting and working with FASTER WV participants.
WV Small Business Development Center is the state resource assisting entrepreneurs and small businesses in every stage of the business life cycle. A dedicated FASTER WV Business Coach will provide tools and support to new and growing businesses, connecting entrepreneurs and business owners with capital opportunities and resources.
The Wyoming County Economic Development Authority will provide low interest loans to start-up businesses through a capital lending and impact investment fund for the Advantage Valley region. Loan availability only to FASTERWV participants completing entrepreneurial classes and working with a business coach.
Other Resources for Entrepreneurs: Advantage Valley Innovation Centers
Brad D. Smith Business Center at Marshall University, Charleston Area Alliance Small Business Incubator, The GRID, Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI), MidAtlantic Technology Research & Innovation Center (MATRIC), TechConnect WV, University of Charleston Innovation Center