Conservative numbers estimate nearly 95 percent of the businesses in West Virginia are classified as small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration definition of employing less than 500 employees. Based on these numbers, it is important to make sure that actions in our state Legislature encourage growth of these businesses and reduce the challenges they face.
During recent pre-legislative meetings, I was pleased to hear Speaker of the House Tim Miley speak about a new Small Business committee in the West Virginia House of Delegates. Previously business issues were a part of the House's Energy, Industry and Labor/ Economic Development and Small Business Committee. Each of these categories likely warrants its own committee as these areas are key to the success of our state.
Speaker Miley and the House leadership recognized the importance of separating this committee into its components, hence the launch of the "Economic Development and Small Business" committee chaired by Delegate Doug Skaff of Kanawha County. Skaff is the owner and managing partner of Building & Remodeling Warehouse in Nitro. The bipartisan committee will be made up of members who run a successful small business or have run one successfully in the past.
In addition to the work done by the committee in its regular meetings, the group also is interested in touring the state to hear from small business owners. The work group will travel the state to hold panel discussions in different regions regarding how to stimulate small business growth and encourage entrepreneurship.
As Speaker Miley shared on "Today with the Legislature" in late November, "We will work collaboratively with people at the local level to hear from as many small business owners and entrepreneurs as possible. We want to know what hurdles they may have faced on their way to success and what hurdles they might still face today. As a legislative body, we want to remove as many hurdles as we can to allow small business to flourish. This tour will also be a great opportunity to showcase these successful individuals as inspirations to others in their communities with similar ambitions."
Jill Parsons is the president/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce fthe Mid-Ohio Valley.