Do you know that your business might qualify for a free website?
Do you know on-the-job training for your new employees might be reimbursable?
Do you know that West Virginia businesses have access to a new small business lending program?
If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you are in good company. Before joining the Chamber and connecting with so many organizations across the state, I too was unaware of the many programs that exist to support our local businesses.
Each month I receive updates from the state Department of Commerce, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Workforce WV, TechConnect, Vision Shared, just to name a few. I am always amazed at the number of programs and resources available to businesses that are highlighted in the communications we receive at the Chamber.
Obviously we view our role here at the Chamber to be a messenger. When new programs and resources are announced, our goal is to share this information with our members. Each month we highlight pertinent information in our e-newsletters that go to members.
This is just another benefit of being a member of the Chamber of Commerce.
So, here are the answers to my original questions.
West Virginia Get Your Business Online program:
While small businesses comprise half the U.S. GDP and create two-thirds of all new jobs, almost 60 percent of small businesses do not have a website. Given the fact that nearly all consumers look online for local products and services, an online presence gives businesses the opportunity to find new customers, increase sales and grow.
Go to www.gybo.com/west-virginia/index for tools and instruction from Google to set up a free website, free customized domain name, free web hosting for one year and free online tools and training.
Workforce West Virginia On-The-Job Training program:
Employers are routinely faced with training new employees, teaching the skills and abilities that lead to maximum productivity for the specific job. WorkForce West Virginia will work with you and your business to design the best possible solution for your individual training needs, including possible funding to offset specific On-the-Job Training costs. Contact Susan Moran or Joyce Okes at 304-424-7271 for more information.
West Virginia Capital Access program:
Small businesses in West Virginia now have access to new loan funds they can use to invest, expand and create jobs. The West Virginia Capital Access Program (WVCAP) is the state's new program designed to increase small business access to capital. Use of funds may include working capital, equipment purchase, facility expansion and seed capital for new technology or innovations. Locally you can contact the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council (MOVRC) for more information about the WVCAP programs at 304-422-4993 or visit their website at www.movrc.org
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Visit this space every other Sunday for more Chamber news. We also invite you to call us at 304-422-3588, email us at email@example.com, or stop by the Chamber office at 409 1/2 Market St. in Parkersburg.
Jill Parsons is president/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley.