Owning a small business can be daunting. Going out on your own to follow a dream is exciting, but it can be hard to do it all on your own.
Enter Kristen Beverage, the program manager and business advisor with West Virginia Women’s Business Center. Beverage serves the Mon Forest region of the state – including, of course, her home county of Pocahontas.
“Mostly what I focus on is one-to-one advising, and then, of course, outdoor recreation and the tourism-based economy,” she said. “Just trying to influence some job creation, small business development and community influx into the area and support all of the new businesses we’re seeing in the area.”
While the business center focuses on women and minority owned small businesses and start-ups, it also aids any small business in West Virginia that requests services. It is a program of the Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIFund) Office in Charleston and Fairmont and is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Services include one-to-one business advising, training and workshops, mentor- ing and networking programs and technical assistance.
“All the trainings are virtual right now,” Beverage said. “You go on our Eventbrite page [Eventbrite.com] to sign up and register for free for any of our trainings. We have information about marketing, accounting, one of which is in conjunction with the AARP foundation, registering for government contracts – a whole variety of trainings and workshops. There’s something for everyone.”
Beverage was employed as the executive director of the Snowshoe Foundation when she discovered the opening with the business center and jumped at the opportunity to serve businesses in the state.
“It’s just aligned with a lot of things I had going on in my life,” she said. “I’m president of the local Chamber of Commerce, and I’m actually getting my master’s in community development, as well. It’s just the perfect combination of work for me. The fact that I could help positively impact this area economically and within business models just sounded great.”
The center not only works with new businesses, but those that have been in operation – for one or 100 years – doesn’t matter.
“That’s a big reason why we’re here,” Beverage said. “We cover everyone from startups to businesses that have been going for years – so if you’re just wanting to explore your options, we are more than happy to assist with that.”
For more information on the West Virginia Women’s Business Center, visit ncifwbc.ecenterdirect.com or the Facebook page at facebook.com/wvwbc
Beverage may be contacted at kristen@wvwom ens.org or by calling 304-825-5000.