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February 2020 Regional News to Know
Dear Advantage Valley Partner,

How can we all continue to change the narrative about our region?  By focusing on the good news, talking about the good news, and by taking intentional actions to move the needle.  See the river, not the rocks.  Here is the story Advantage Valley is telling:
  • West Virginia's Cost of Doing Business Ranks 6th Best in the Country (CNBC)
  • West Virginia’s Cost of Living is 16% Lower Than the National Average
  • 2020 State Business Tax Climate Index:  WV Ranks #23, ahead of neighboring states
  • West Virginia Ranked 1st in Overall Economic Growth (Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2019)
  • WV's Worker's Compensation Premium Rates, 4th lowest in the nation
  • WV's Property Taxes are significantly lower than four of five surrounding states
We all must sell our region ~ in every conversation.  Help us be the region's loudest business cheerleader by repeating the good news.  If we don't do it, who will? 

Read about what Advantage Valley is doing to drive business retention, business recruitment, regional marketing and entrepreneurial development in our region.  We hope you will join us in our good and necessary work.  

Best Regards,
Terrell Ellis, Executive Director
Advantage Valley has received $930,000 from ARC's POWER Initiative to support the "FASTER WV" Initiative - Fostering Advantages for StartUps & Entrepreneurial Resurgence in WV.  This program will boost entrepreneurial startups and expansions and access to capital in all sectors but with a focus on Food & Beverage Production; River & Outdoor Recreation; Dependent Care; Healthcare; Small Manufacturing; and Construction Trades.  Partnering with the WV Small Business Development Center, Unlimited Futures, BridgeValley Community and Technical College, WV Forward, and WV Affiliated Construction Trades.  With Advantage Valley funding, the WV SBDC will hire a FASTER WV coach, a “start-up specialist” to work with budding entrepreneurs taking entrepreneurship training either through BridgeValley CTC’s FastTrac Program or Unlimited Futures’ Planning for Profit Class.  Participants will have access to a loan fund dedicated to the Advantage Valley region.  Our goal is to facilitate startup or expansion of 50 businesses at the end of three years. 

The FASTER WV program will officially launch with a Food & Beverage Production Workshop on Tuesday, March 3 from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm at the Mountain Health Area (Formerly Big Sandy Arena) in Huntington.  This event will be held the same day as RCBI's Farm to Bottle Summit from 2 -  6 pm.  Stay tuned for more details.  Sign up here to receive information on FASTER WV!
NEW REGIONAL MARKETING INITIATIVE!

Advantage Valley has contracted with Livability Media on a new regional marketing initiative to help us tell the good story.  This company will help Advantage Valley reach a digital platform of 12 million national viewers, and produce a high quality regional magazine promoting business and lifestyle in the region.  Livability Media helps chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and tourism agencies tell the stories of their cities, regions and states online, in print and via social media.  They do this with outstanding content and compelling design across multiple media channels to attract talent as well as new and expanding businesses and visitors.

Livability Media has media relationships with CNN, Huffington Post, WSJ Market Watch, NPR, USA Today, and Forbes, among others.  Hospitals and large employers often pay for print overruns for collateral in efforts to lure top talent to their region!  Advantage Valley wants to leverage the power of Livability.com to help attract talent, investment and tourism.  Please welcome phone calls and meetings with Jared Lane and Matt McWhorter to consider advertising to make this possible.  We need partners in this effort.


ANNOUNCING MANUFACTURING 
SUPPLY CHAIN EXPO for MARCH 19, 2020
 
Advantage Valley and RCBI have co-hosted three successful B2B Supply Chain Expos in an effort to link the small business community to large companies in the region.  The most recent EXPO with the Chemical and Polymer industry resulted in 239 one-on-one, five-minute meetings between representatives from 8 large prime companies (including APG Polytech, Braskem, Clearon, DuPont, Kureha, Optima Belle, MATRIC and Rubberlite) and representatives from almost 70 small businesses. 
   
Great feedback continues to flow in from these B2B events, with primes reporting 10-15 new supply chain contracts executed as a result.  Click here for more details.

WV Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
Builders Conference in Charleston in April

Register now for The WV Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders Conference, April 1, 2020, at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.  The WV Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders Conference will bring all aspects of entrepreneurship supporting organizations together for a day to build connections and discuss partnership and the future of entrepreneurship in WV.  All of the attending partners are entrepreneurship-supporting organizations from local EDAs, to universities, government, and private firms supporting the entrepreneurs who are helping build a diversified economy in West Virginia.  Discussion of the innovative and recent trends in the business field will be the main criteria of the conference.  Advantage Valley is one of many sponsors of the event.

Tech Connect and WVSBDC to Host 
2020 SBIR-STTR Bootcamps


TechConnect West Virginia, in partnership with the West Virginia Small Business Development Center, is hosting a series of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)  bootcamps in the state in 2020 as part of its recently launched “Bridging the Ecosystem in Science & Technology in West Virginia” program, or “BEST in West Virginia.”  Participants in the bootcamps will learn what is involved in developing a concept for a proposal, identifying opportunities, preparing to write an SBIR-STTR grant, best practices for successful applications and how to navigate the registration process.

The SBIR-STTR program is often called “America’s largest seed fund” because it provides early stage funding to encourage small businesses to engage in Federal research and development to create commercially viable innovations.  Info on all 8 Bootcamps here: https://techconnectwv.org/events/2020-sbir-sttr-bootcamps/   Bootcamps will be held statewide from January through August.  Advantage Valley will co-host one bootcamp in South Charleston on July 21.  Click here to register.

Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the
U.S. Small Business Administration.

 * BUSINESS ATTRACTION * BUSINESS RETENTION * REGIONAL MARKETING

Advantage Valley represents the following WV Counties: Boone, Cabell, Clay, Kanawha, Lincoln, Putnam, Wayne, Jackson, Mason; the following KY Counties: Boyd, Greenup; and the following OH County: Lawrence. This combined metropolitan statistical area represents:

30% of the state’s population
25% of the state’s employed workforce
$25 billion GDP
615,570 population 
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