Regional entrepreneurs receive training on angel investors
June 6, 2018
FAIRMONT — Hoping to attract new capital to West Virginia, TechConnect West Virginia held a seminar Wednesday morning to help regional entrepreneurs and companies strengthen their investment pitches.
The workshop was held at the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center as part of TechConnect’s NextUp West Virginia program focused on teaching entrepreneurs what angel investors look for in potential investments.
An angel investor provides starting or growth capital to promising ventures and helps with advice and contacts.
“We have representatives from various incubators and accelerators from around the state because we want them to learn about what angel investment groups are looking for in investments so that they’re better educated to go back and work with entrepreneurs and researchers and small businesses and be better prepared to make that connection,” she said.
During the workshop, the Angel Capital Group sat with those in attendance for one-on-one meetings on ways to improve their pitches.
Barth said the workshop is one of several projects sponsored by NextUp West Virginia, which aims to bridge the divide between entrepreneurs and investors. The program began in October 2017 and, based on its current funding from grants, it will run through September 2019. Barth said the program has three main goals for the West Virginia economy.
“The first is to provide technical assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs through our centers of excellence in the state,” Barth said. “The second component is improving access to capital. This investor readiness workshop is part of that to help introduce some of our new companies and partners to the Angel Investor Network in the region outside of West Virginia and to help them learn how to better pitch. If we can get them in front of an angel group, they’re more likely to get funding.
“The third component of the NextUp grant is to strengthen the network with incubators and accelerators around the state so they can kind of learn from each other and share best practices and be stronger in their own communities in their efforts to launch companies.”
One of the many representatives in attendance was Mountain State Capital Managing Director Mike Green, who said workshops like this give him a great outlet for networking and reaching out to those who can make a positive difference for the state.
“The goal of Mountain State Capital is to provide funding and mentorship to those worthy entrepreneurs that need funding, contacts and mentorship in order to make their companies successful,” Green said. “We have a number of people who are in that particular cohort who have good ideas or exciting opportunities or providing a product or service.
“I hope we’re able to encourage people who have good ideas to make sure they find people who can help them nurture those ideas and provide them funding to make them successful for the future.”
This was the first of several statewide workshops to take place in West Virginia, and Barth said that with a little bit of work, the information learned at these workshops will lead to more prosperity than the state has seen in quite some time.
“If we can create jobs here at home in West Virginia, there’s a better chance of keeping those companies here,” Barth said. “That’s our end goal: To create jobs and generate wealth in West Virginia.”