BECKLEY — The West Virginia Hive is looking for a few more
worker bees to assist with its first pre-incubation course beginning in
incubator is launching Co.Starters, a nine-week course to assist entrepreneurs
and “wantrepreneurs” with the skills they need to begin their own business.
Using a nationally acclaimed curriculum designed for rural communities, current business
owners and community leaders are invited to teach the region’s next generation
of business leaders, as well as mentor those students one-on-one.
business coach with the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, told The West Virginia Record they are looking for a wide range of backgrounds for the volunteer positions
including attorneys, accountants, property owners and anyone else who would be
willing to nurture blossoming entrepreneurs with their knowledge on topics such
as business structures, licenses, intellectual property, marketing, goal
setting and more.
“Everyone has a
unique skill set,” Carlucci said.
meeting Sept. 2 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and continue each Friday until Nov. 4 at the West Virginia University Institute of Technology campus. WVU is one of
many organizations partnering with NRGRDA, the parent organization, to build
the Hive into a hub for new businesses. Together, the organizations are
providing $2.3 million to local entrepreneurship.
“We are trying
to act as a catalyst for entrepreneurship in the region,” Carlucci said.
While The Hive is
financially stable through its partners, it is still dependent on mentors,
guest speakers and facilitators in the community to help build the economy
around it. Business incubators have existed since the 1950s but have taken off
in the last 10 years. In 2013, New York University released a report that the
incubator at its Polytechnic Institute generated $251 million into the economy
in four years, created over 900 jobs and added $31.4 million in local, state
and federal taxes.
In addition to boosting
the economy and providing classes and mentors for entrepreneurs, the Hive also
provides resources on its website including financial documents, tips on
marketing and business management.
For new business owners who do not need a
large office space but want to work away from their home, the Hive offers
co-working spaces which allow for a creative atmosphere among entrepreneurs
from different backgrounds.
The Hive also provides non-traditional networking
events each month such as morning coffee and evening pizza parties.
participants will also qualify for financing from the Hive and its partnered
banks. Entrepreneurs who graduate from the Smart Start program, which helps
them execute market strategies, may qualify for up to $30,000 in loan funding.
The Hive has had
a great response to its programs so far.
super excited to see this site!” Larry Cox wrote on the Hive’s Facebook page. “I
have a product I am wanting to start selling. I need
there is currently only one location in Beckley, there are plans for more Hive
locations throughout the state. For information on registering for the
Co.Starters class or to become a mentor or vacillator, visit the Hive’s website