West Virginia creates investment fund to help new entrepreneurs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia now has a new tool in its toolbox to encourage new business ideas in the state.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon in downtown Charleston Governor Earl Ray Tomblin along with those with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) unveiled the creation of the first Angel Fund in the state.

“It’s a group of entrepreneurs or business people in West Virginia who are investing money and pooling money together to be able to help entrepreneurs in the state of West Virginia,” said Tomblin.

It’s patterned after similar investment funds seen in other states and has been in the works for the past few years. Small entrepreneurs in the state in need of some extra assistance can apply through the fund and possibly get some additional funding.

“These are small business people, young business people who have a great idea but simply, for one reason or another, cannot get a bank loan or somebody to back them as needed,” said Tomblin.

In addition to the financial assistance, an Angel Investor Network is also available with the fund where experienced, successful West Virginia business owners offer out their advice and assistance to up and coming entrepreneurs . It’s a place where new business owners can be mentored.

The Angel Investor Network has been open for business for several years in the Mountain State and it was there the fund idea was first brought up.

Those citizens who have a business idea and are looking for either advice or capitol can submit their idea to the Network where fund investors will determine whether to provide funding or not. If investors like the idea, then the conversation will begin on how much funding to provide.

Tomblin said this is just a great way to encourage small businesses and growth in the state.

“It’s West Virginians helping West Virginians because I think we believe in each other, we’ve got a lot of good entrepreneurs that just need that little push to get their business going and to employ a lot of West Virginians,” he said. “I think it’s a great program for our state.”

Currently the fund has roughly $3 million dollars in it and ARC officials anticipate further funds being added in the near future.

Those wanting to learn more about the Angel Fund are encouraged to visit wvgrowth.com. Entrepreneurs looking for resources and support can visit wvangel.net.

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