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Governor announces ‘West Virginia BusinessLink’

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced that West Virginia’s small business owners and entrepreneurs can now find the right resources to support their success in one convenient online space called “West Virginia BusinessLink.”

West Virginia BusinessLink was founded by the West Virginia Department of Economic Development, Small Business Development Center and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem.

“I’m very proud that under the leadership of Governor Justice, we are going to be able to provide a tool to really help our small businesses and entrepreneurs across West Virginia,” said Secretary Mitch Carmichael of the Department of Economic Development in a press release. “Our state is home to an incredible community of small businesses and entrepreneurs and they are enormous economic drivers. Ensuring they have easy connections to the support and assistance they need is a major priority. BusinessLink is the tool that makes this possible.”

To utilize BusinessLink, business owners and entrepreneurs can visit wvbusinesslink.com, use the “Connect to Resources” box to find resources in a specific area, explore upcoming training and networking events in the calendar, and find supportive information in the “STARTUP, “GROWTH,” and “FUNDING” tabs.

“BusinessLink is a one-stop virtual location for entrepreneurial resources in the state,” William J. “Bill” Woodrum, coordinator of the WV Entrepreneurship Network, said in the release. “If you own a business or plan to start one, you can use BusinessLink as an interactive search tool to find the right support to address your business issues.”

In the “Connect to Resources” box, website visitors can answer questions about their company and needs. BusinessLink analyzes the replies, scours the database of Resource Partners, calculates the best matches, and responds to the business owner with referrals.

BusinessLink is free to use and available 24/7. One-on-one appointments to discuss business needs can also be requested by calling 888-982-7232.

Services available from BusinessLink Resource Partners include business planning, loans and financing, co-working and co-making, accelerators and incubators, marketing and sales, human resources, mentoring, licenses and permits, startup assistance, product development, technical assistance, training classes, government contract assistance and operations assistance.

“Right now, BusinessLink has a network of more than 100 resource partners,” Woodrum said. “And we will continue to expand our roster of resource partners. We invite not-for-profit, government, or educational organizations that serve entrepreneurs and medium-size businesses to join as resource partners.”

Agencies, organizations, and companies with services of interest to West Virginia entrepreneurs can join the network of official Resource Partners within BusinessLink. The first step is to complete the online entry form at wvbusinesslink.com and describe their services, types of industries they serve, and specialties. It is free to join and has potential to increase connections with entrepreneurs and small business owners.

“West Virginia BusinessLink was born out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Business Development Center utilized CARES Act funding to build this resource with hopes it will lead to a more dynamic, productive state economy that could easily rebound from future recessions,” Debra Martin, director of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center, said in the release.

“For some individuals, the pandemic provided a business opportunity and they decided to make the leap toward entrepreneurship. Many businesses have also shifted to adopt new business models or to pursue new opportunities that arose out of the pandemic,” Martin said. “BusinessLink is designed to connect business owners to resources that will help them through current challenges as well as challenges that will inevitably come after this. It connects them with the right resources at the right time. Until now, it was difficult and time consuming to determine what agencies and organizations are available to help small business owners and entrepreneurs. BusinessLink resolves this issue and helps position these individuals and their businesses for long-term success.”

Fred has been in the newspaper industry for 30+ years. He continues to be excited to bring readers news that only comes thru local journalism. “Being able to share the passion felt by entrepreneurs in our community with readers is exciting,” he said.

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