We have all heard the statistics. West Virginia entrepreneurs and innovators face significant hurdles to business creation. We struggle relative to neighboring states to attract investment for startups; rank 49 out of 50 among states in adults becoming entrepreneurs; placed 45th in terms of business births and patents per capita; and, we receive fewer venture capital investments, with limited funding available for early-stage ventures.
“Talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not.”
– Leila Janah, CEO – Sama Group
This maxim underlies the rationale for the formation of 3 Steps to StartUp. We are West Virginia’s first truly integrated, collaborative, and holistic initiative to assist technology and research-focused entrepreneurs in taking their business concept from notepad to marketplace.
Turning the Tide
To turn the tide, three West Virginia assistance providers – INNOVA Commercialization Group, the WV Jobs Investment Trust, and TechConnect West Virginia, have launched the 3 Steps to StartUp project.
The initiative will generate small business growth and economic diversification by addressing three areas of need for early-stage startup companies:
The program acts as a virtual business incubator – an entrepreneur’s toolbox with a structured modular map for moving a concept forward.
Funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation through a federal POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) grant, the program builds on traditional business assistance programs and adds a suite of virtual resources. The innovative program offers a range of cutting-edge services and resources, like those found in more urban, tech-centric locales like Silicon Valley and Boston. Technology-focused, research-driven entrepreneurs will have access to a wide swath of assistance to carry them through the startup lifecycle.