West Virginia’s governor has introduced a program to help communities rebuild in a way that promotes economic prosperity above and beyond pre-flood levels.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin created RISE West Virginia in response to critical needs in the small business community resulting from the devastating floods of June 2016. This public-private grant program will provide assistance for small businesses that were operational before the flooding and are working to reopen while struggling with existing debt and limited resources. The program is co-sponsored by West Virginia native and Intuit CEO and Chairman Brad Smith. The West Virginia Development Office will oversee the program in partnership with the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
Grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded based on need and recommendations from a review committee. Additional assistance may be provided by the committee as special circumstances warrant. Initial funding for the program will be a minimum of $2 million, from a combination of private donations and state dollars that otherwise may have been available for the Racetrack Modernization Fund. Program will conclude upon the expenditure of all available funds. Private contributions will be encouraged to support the program and accepted through the development office.
Applicants must be located in one of 12 counties declared in federal disaster area (Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Roane, Summers and Webster); be in good standing with Secretary of State, tax department and WorkForce West Virginia; had verifiable and operational business at the time of June 2016 flooding; and have a plan that justifies the grant assistance and, if largely destroyed as a result of the flood, a specific plan to reopen.
Project considerations include long-term viability; contributions to building/sustaining local economies; number of jobs retained/created; and ownership’s determination to rebuild.
The grant application was made available beginning Tuesday, July 26, online through the state’s official flood recovery website, www.wvflood.com, and in print through the West Virginia Development Office, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, or local Economic Development Authorities in the 12 eligible counties.