Through the new 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 new Kauffman 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)
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 to receive more information on FASTER WV Program!
Click here to register for the April 15 FASTER WV Kickoff ZOOM WEBINAR!
Click here or see below for the new FASTER WV Program Brochure!
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