Create WV helps foster ideas, small businesses
October 29, 2012 ·
The Create West Virginia Conference took place at the Ramada Inn on Kanawha Boulevard in Charleston on Friday and Saturday. The conference focused on empowering West Virginians on ways to create and sustain small businesses within the state.
Small business owners, would-be entrepreneurs, and community
representatives gathered at the conference to share ideas and pitch for funding
to back their projects. Rebecca Kimmons, media specialist for Create West Virginia,
explained the mission of the weekend for the organization.
“The common goal is to encourage West Virginians
to think entrepreneurially. Instead of
thinking about who will come and give us a job to think about how I can create
a job here in West Virginia.”
Emma Clarke from Shinnston in Harrison
County, was at the conference pitching
her community’s idea to make a promotional video to help attract businesses to
her hometown. Clarke says the city has
been rather successful with attracting new businesses in recent years.
“We have had a record of success since 2006 in attracting
new businesses. We had 15 new businesses open since 2006 in our historic
downtown, 12 of which are still in existence today. We are perceived to be a little bit off the
beaten track—we are 8 miles off the interstate. So, we really want to get our
story out there about why Shinnston is a great community for entrepreneurs
considering staring a business and to consider coming and locating there.”
While Clarke and others were vying for funding, other
entrepreneurs were on hand to help those just getting started. Dave Arnold, owner of Adventures on the Gorge
in Lansing, in Fayette
County, was on hand to provide some
advice to entrepreneurs and potential start ups.
“I think all small businesses need mentors. I think mentors are probably one of the most
valuable things in starting a business, whether it’s a formal mentor or just
somebody that you can talk to. This conference, at least in this context, just
gives some people an opportunity to talk to entrepreneurs.”
Kimmons says the conference leaves those in attendance
walking away with a positive, motivated feeling.
“I think this instills a feeling of can-do in people who
have a glimmer of entrepreneurship in them. I think coming here and being
shoulder to shoulder with people who are doing it and people who want to do
it—very creative thinkers here—it’s just very exciting and inspiring. Each of
the Create West Virginia Conferences have been like that.”