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Two New Funds Aim To Enhance Access To Capital For Businesses, Ventures In WV, Region

VC ImageEntrepreneurs in West Virginia and businesses in this region seeking capital for startups or expansion of existing companies now have two new investment funds to consider. The two funds are part of an ongoing effort to provide additional opportunities for business investment or expansion capital, particularly for new ventures that are finding capital more challenging to secure due to tighter lending standards by commercial banks.

The recently launched West Virginia Growth Investment LLC is a private fund backed by West Virginia investors who will provide financing for new small businesses, product innovation and expansion of existing businesses, along with other services needed by developing companies.  The program is an investment fund formed “to pool and invest the capital resources of sophisticated and accredited investors” in and around West Virginia and the region. Its objective is to provide both favorable investment returns to investors and to promote small business and economic development.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl announced the creation of the West Virginia Growth Investment LLC on November 6 at an ARC entrepreneurship conference in Charleston.  They made this announcement along with Tom Heywood, who is Vice Chairman of the new fund and Managing Partner of Bowles Rice.  In making the announcement, Gohl noted that the ARC has worked to increase this type of investment activity in the Appalachian region in an attempt to improve access to capital.  For more information, click here.

Appalachian Community Capital (ACC), a newly formed Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), was created recently by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and 12 partner CDFIs.  It is designed to improve access to capital for entrepreneurs in the Appalachian region, create jobs and wealth and revitalize distressed communities in the region.   The ACC fund seeks to raise $44 million during the next two years and is expected to leverage $233 million in private bank capital and help create 2,200 jobs.  The ARC will make a lead investment of $3.45 million in equity and operating support.

The ARC first announced plans for the ACC at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Chicago in June.  To read more about the ACC, click here.