WARDENSVILLE – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced recently that New Biz Launchpad was one of 68 winners of its third annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.
New Biz will receive $50,000 to boost the economic impact of accelerators in West Virginia. In accepting the prize money, the SBA said the accelerators must commit to making one year of quarterly reports on jobs created, funds raised, startups launched and corporate sponsors obtained.
The New Biz Launchpad offers ongoing workshops, business training, physical office space, coaching, networking and classes coupled with expertise from successful entrepreneurs. The New Biz Launchpad works with the community to help cultivate new entrepreneurial ideas and opportunities and to improve current entrepreneurial endeavors.
“(New Biz Launchpad) is designed to really reduce risk and cost,” Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College president Chuck Terrell told the West Virginia Record.
Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College is a state-supported community and technical college, which is dedicated to providing educational opportunities for academic, technical, workforce training and lifelong learning for the Potomac Highlands Regional community. The college said it strives to implement programs that will encourage economic growth and improve the general welfare of the region.
One program implemented by Eastern to promote entrepreneurship is The Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (IREED), which leads local and regional initiatives to educate and empower entrepreneurship and, as a result, encourage financial independence within the community. IREED formed the New Biz Launchpad to assist with entrepreneurship in the region.
With New Biz Launchpad having a full-time entrepreneur in residence, Terrell said it received grant funding to put in a small business development coach.
“(The funding)’s purpose is to support small business development,” Terrell said.
In addition, Terrell said New Biz Launchpad wants to use funding to continue its operations and workshops.
“The reality is that small business owners are looking for quick, short-term training,” Terrell said, not associate degrees or certificates.
To assist with agriculture entrepreneurs, the college said New Biz Launchpad has launched an Ag-Innovation Project designed to work with farmers, growers, schools and companies to explore and endeavor to expand the economic diversification of farmers by encouraging them to expand their thinking beyond merely just raising livestock or growing crops.
The school said the grant will allow a focus on specific areas, such as Ag Innovation Showcase and Ag Action Council with regional farmers, Agricultural Transition Planning, the poultry biochar initiative and a student-run store, and will continue to work with regional and statewide agriculture needs to develop educational opportunities and workshops.
“It is a great honor for our state to receive one of the Growth Accelerator awards,” SBA West Virginia District Director Karen Friel said in a news release. “I look forward to working more with New Biz Launchpad to help the small business community of West Virginia.”
The SBA said the federal government made four Small Business Innovation (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards in West Virginia totaling more than $1.2 million in fiscal year 2015. Since 1983, the federal government has made 224 awards in West Virginia for a total of more than $66.9 million.