Supporting spirit of entrepreneurship

Last year, I had the great opportunity to be on a team from the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council (MOVRC) that developed a business pitch contest called “Launchpad” (our version of “Shark Tank.”) Eleven applications were received; six presented their business ideas; and ONE received $5000 in funding to support their business idea.

Based on the success of last year, we’ve decided to Launchpad again!

We are delighted to share we received 22 applications this year! Thirteen have been invited to pitch their business ideas to everyone who attends the Business After Hours and Launchpad event from 5-8 p.m. September 19 at the Parkersburg Arts Center. This event is open to everyone who wants to attend to support and encourage entrepreneurs and those who have decided to embark into small business ownership. A pre-launch expo and Business After Hours will also be held.

How can you support the Launchpad?

* Offer in-kind services to the Launchpad winner

Accounting, legal, marketing, IT — just to name a few of the areas that a new entrepreneur might need assistance with while launching their new business. Would you want to donate a few hours of your time in exchange for being a sponsor? Many thanks to Jill Kirtland Photography, One Nine Design, White Caps Creative, Gloria Husk Marketing, Holiday Inn Express-Mineral Wells, and the Wingate by Wyndham Hotel – Vienna for already signing up to offer in-kind services to the winner!

* Attend the event

You will receive $10,000 in “Fuel Points” to give to your favorite entrepreneur that night and those points will help decide who presents later that evening. Plus you might make some great connections for your business and ultimately to help support the entrepreneurial spirit in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

If you are already a small business owner and looking for new ideas and inspiration, we have another event later this month that will provide tons of resources.

Please join us at the 2nd Annual MOV Entrepreneurship Expo to be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29 at Marietta College in the Dyson Baudo Center. Are you eager to share your expertise or promote your services or products? Are you thinking about starting or expanding your business? Are you interested in obtaining tools and resources to help solve business challenges? If you answered YES to any of these questions, please attend. For more information, and how to register, visit


Upcoming Chamber events:

* Special Presentation — Road Bond update from WVDOT Secretary Thomas Smith, in lieu of the September Government Relations Committee meeting.

11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept.13 at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council (MOVRC) conference room at 709 Market Street.

In an effort to provide details regarding the proposed bond issue (Roads to Prosperity), WVDOT Secretary Thomas J. Smith has offered to meet with Chamber members and other local agencies to discuss and provide information relative to the highway initiatives. Please join us to learn more about the projects planned for the MOV. The Roads to Prosperity Amendment of 2017 will be before the voters on Saturday, Oct. 7. If approved, it will authorize the State to take out up to $1.6 billion in funding for road projects over the next five years. Passage of this bond will not increase taxes. During the 2017 Legislative Session, the Legislature already passed a gas tax increase, increased DMV fees and gave the Turnpike Authority increased tolling capacity. These changes are already in effect and are the designated revenue sources to fund the Roads to Prosperity Amendment.

Pre-registration is required. Open to all Chamber members. Access RSVP link via calendar at

* Lunch and Learn hosted by Peoples Bank with topic Tackling Business Hurdles.

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14 at Serenity Coffee House, 1903 Grand Central Avenue, Vienna, WV.

Join Peoples Bank as they host a small panel of professionals to field questions and guide a discussion of some common business hurdles and ways to address them. Peoples Bank staff will be available to answer any questions about topics such as cash flow, employee benefits, ACH, payroll, insurance and more! Lunch will be provided by Moe’s Southwestern Grill.

Pre-registration is required. Free for MOV Chamber members. Access RSVP link via calendar at

* Ground Breaking for SW Resources expansion:

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15 at 1007 Mary Street, Parkersburg.

Program will start at 11:15 a.m., followed by refreshments and tours.

SW Resources would like to invite MOV Chamber members and community leaders to help celebrate the groundbreaking of their warehouse expansion project.

Free for all Chamber members. Access RSVP link via calendar at

Visit this space every other Sunday for more Chamber news.