One of the reasons that we started this website is to highlight startups everywhere. If you were to read only the major startup blogs and sites, you might get the idea that startups only launch in California and New York. While, yes, there is a disproportionate amount of startups launched in these states, there are startups everywhere. Even in West Virginia.
West Virginia’s TechConnect, and specifically the StartUp West Virginia Program, is a great example of the sort-of government backed, entrepreneurial initiatives happening across the U.S.:
Launched in 2012, the StartUp West Virginia Program is an integrated initiative designed to expand entrepreneurial and business startup efforts that have helped to create new tech-based jobs in high growth industries in West Virginia. The program received funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the State of West Virginia.1
Thus far, StartUp West Virginia has been an overwhelming success. Since its launch in 2012, StartUp West Virginia has achieved a great deal:
- Created 7 new statewide programs that are collaborating to foster and advance technology based economic development;
- Spearheaded the establishment of an innovation coalition across the state that now numbers 162 entities, including development organizations, small businesses, service providers, startups, and agencies;
- Provided 146 companies with a variety of services (operational assistance, startup financing, prototyping, advanced manufacturing expertise, and more) and assisted in networking/outreach for them;
- Initiated programs with 13 colleges and universities that focused on research, tech transfer, and commercialization;
- Educated and engaged more than 2,800 individuals through conferences and special cluster development events;
- Helped to launch the nation’s only chemistry-based business incubator, which is another step in further innovation development of the human capital long associated with the region’s extensive chemical industry;
- Provided a foundation for the launch of the $13.1 million West Virginia Capital Access Program (WVCAP), ranked second in the nation by the U.S. Treasury Department;
- Supported creation of the West Virginia Research Trust Fund, which led to 488 percent growth instate funding for research.2
These are pretty remarkable accomplishments for just under two years of activity. This sort of thing is not confined to West Virginia, but can be seen all across the U.S. Now, it seems, is the best time in history to launch a startup, no matter where you are.
- TechConnect West Virginia, “Programs” ▲
- StartUp West Virginia, “Final Report to the U.S. Economic Development Association (PDF),” 30 June 2014. P. 3 ▲