By Erika Bailey, State Director, West Virginia Small Business Development Center
October is National Women’s Small Business Month.
Did you know? Women own 11.3 million businesses in the United States, and the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. grew five times faster than the national average.
Women rank among the small business owners who power West Virginia’s economy. The share of women-owned businesses in the Mountain State bumped up from 28,000 in 2007 to 38,000 in 2012, the most current government figures available.
To celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month, we’ve highlighted some of the best women-owned small businesses in West Virginia.
Women in Charge: West Virginia women business owners achieving success
Lisa Allen heads Ziegenfelder Company, the flavored frozen ice pop manufacturer in Wheeling. Since becoming CEO in 2003, she has led the 156-year-old company through market and facility expansions. Recently Allen was invited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., to speak about her company’s second-chance hiring practices, referred to as “compassionate hiring.”
Beri Fox runs Marble King in Paden City. Although other companies were swept away by the flood of imports, Marble King still stands, producing only Toy Marbles still made in the U.S.A. Fox has led the company into exporting to more than 17 international markets. She has also broadened product applications from paint to petroleum. Marble King was also among the recipients of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program “Save Energy Now” Awards.
Arria Hines, co-founder and CEO of Allegheny Science & Technology in Bridgeport, was named West Virginia’s 2016 Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Hines won the 2017 “Innovator of the Year” Award by Women Impacting Public Policy, a national nonpartisan organization that educates and advocates on behalf of women-owned businesses. Allegheny Science & Technology grew from two employees to 240 in seven years. The technology solutions company has ranked among the 50 fastest growing small businesses in the government market four years in a row.
Emily Jones opened the first Lifespring Yoga in Charleston in 2012. She has branched out into new locations and now owns three studios.
U.S. Navy veterans Sierra Cox and her partner John run Wonder Valley Farm in Gandeeville, Roane County. They plan to specialize in lavender, truffles and other homeopathic herbs. Cox also raises her own pollenating bees.