CHARLESTON – Charleston attorney Harry Bell, CEO of Almost Heaven Media, recently announced the launch of a website for West Virginia entrepreneurs who are starting or expanding their businesses.
The website, Impact West Virginia, already has approximately 70 groups that want to mentor entrepreneurs in business topics ranging from creating a business plan to securing financing.
Bell said Impact West Virginia wants to connect entrepreneurs with what they need to help launch their ideas or take those ideas to the next level.
"Entrepreneurs want to know who does what and where's the best place they can go, and it's confusing," Bell said in an interview with The West Virginia Record.
Bell said people who want to be mentors or advisers or individual investors who are looking for startups can work with Impact West Virginia.
"Mike Green at the Business Summit made the comment last year that West Virginia does not have a culture of entrepreneurship," Bell said. "I think it's very true that that's an issue."
Bell said West Virginia has made a big difference for him and he wanted to take the best of ideas from InPlaceImpact at the College of Charleston in South Carolina and the Founders Institute in Palo Alto, California, and look at what works in West Virginia.
"I wanted to use that and try to take my company and use technology to connect people," Bell said. "That's what Impact West Virginia is. I want it to be the resource if you're a budding entrepreneur and don't know where to go or you're confused; come there and we can help get you in front of the right people."
Bell said there is a concern that entrepreneurs don't know where to go.
"I want things to happen now, not waiting for grants and the legislature," Bell said. "I want to help now."
Bell said there are so many places in the state that can help entrepreneurs.
"The big question is who does what and who is good at what the do," Bell said. "That's what I hope Impact West Virginia can do – that we can put these things together and connect people."
Bell said they have received great support for the West Virginia Auditor's Office and the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office.