BECKLEY, W.Va. – Huntington-based Elevate Elixirs was among the dozens of aspiring entrepreneurs that won cash awards from the Strong Mountain Communities program at the first-ever West Virginia Good Jobs Conference earlier this month at Tamarack in Beckley.
“We had over 200 attendees. The conference included a business plan competition that was a great success,” said Ariela Alpert with Strong Mountain Communities.
Strong Mountain Communities, a branch of Coalfield Development, launched the Good Jobs Business Plan Competition in July. More than 90 West Virginia-based businesses entered. The contestants were expected to work with a coach to develop a feasibility study for their business and to “pitch” their business to a panel of judges.
“We wanted the contestants to be prepared for what it takes to successfully develop and operate a business, so we reached out to Erika Bailey, the director of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center,” said Jina Belcher, director of business development for Coalfield Development. “The WV SBDC stepped up to the challenge. Eleven business coaches worked with 20 contestants.”
A total of 15 winners took home a total of $85,000 in seed capital for their West Virginia-based businesses.
One of the top awards of $10,000 dollars was given Mark Smith and his wife, Gina Hart-Smith, of Huntington-based Elevate Elixirs. They are homebrewers who make Kombucha and want to turn it into a commercial business.
“Many thanks to Unlimited Future, Inc.,…
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