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
“(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.