Want a reason to feel hopeful about the future of our regional economy? Come judge local entrepreneurs’ innovative ideas to grow their businesses and programs. Select the most deserving entrepreneur in the regional competition by donating $15 to the seed funding award. Receive a delicious supper and ballot to score the merits of contestants’ needs. The seed funding investors for the event include BB&T, New River Community and Technical College, New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, First Community Bank and Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation. The seed funding investment is $1,000 and will be increased by the attendees’ crowd-funding.
Debby Sizemore, senior vice president of BB&T will serve as the moderator for the event at the Erma Byrd Center at the Beaver exit of I-64. A group of diverse entrepreneurs will be vying for the funding to expand their businesses and programs. The entrepreneurs and needs include: Lisa Stansell and Daytripper, backyard travel publication’s computer and printer needs, Tammy Jordan and Fruits of Labor Café and Bakery’s Seed of Recovery program’s Sustainable Food initiative, Lesa Spear and L3- Lifelong Learning with Lesa business launch, Kim Ross and Socially Savvy West Virginians business launch and Yolanda Lane’s Grooming and Training’s Doggie Park and Café. As a special highlight of the evening, two student teams from Bluefield State College will pitch their ideas in a brief student competition. Secure Tech is the business idea to be presented by Adull Alsaif, Kristine Price and Mohammad Alsaif. Adventures of the Virginias business idea will be presented by April Herald, Helen Clark and Ricky Diaz.
The evening will begin at 5:30 with a supper networking time in the Erma Byrd Center’s atrium. One hundred and thirty ballots and seats will be available on a first come, first served basis for a $15 donation. The five minute presentations will begin at 6 p.m. in the auditorium followed by a dessert recess. The dessert time is sponsored by Sam’s Club. The event convenes with a question and answer period followed by the completion of the ballots. The audience will then determine the winner of the student competition. The winners of both competitions will be announced and funding presented.
“In the last two years, scores of entrepreneurs have been encouraged to develop plans of action while gaining marketing benefit and new customer/clients by participating in the Café competitions in our region. Winners have received the award funding to take their businesses to the next level, while others have been connected to grant funding. Joining resources for this regional effort is bringing even more benefit to our entrepreneurs,” said Katie C. Ickes, Valley Ventures Café program director. “The benefit extends to the greater community, as the general public can enjoy learning about great ideas to help our region and make a small contribution that collectively can make a great difference for a business, or community program. This event will also help students develop ideas to create jobs so they can stay and contribute to economic growth in southern West Virginia.”
Local partners for the Valley Ventures Café are the Region 1 Workforce Investment Board and Beckley-Raleigh, Greater Bluefield, Greater Greenbrier, Fayette, Princeton-Mercer, Summersville and Pocahontas Chambers of Commerce. For more information, please call 304-667-7027.