Frequently Asked Questions
Who does the Small Business Development Center (WV SBDC) help?
The WV SBDC serves businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including new ventures, growing companies and mature businesses. Our primary function is to be a resource to existing businesses that need information or assistance to become more innovative and competitive, but we also have resources and tools for those starting a new business.
What kinds of assistance does the WV SBDC provide?
We offer free one-on-one business coaching services, which enable businesses owners to expand their companies, solve problems, improve management, develop new ideas for products or services, or investigate new business opportunities.
We help the inexperienced businessperson to understand the requirements for going into business, assess business opportunities, determine financial needs and potential sources of financing, and offer guidelines on business planning and marketing.
One important aspect of WV SBDC assistance is that we don't actually do things for you so much as we try to equip you with information and resources to do things for yourself.
Does the WV SBDC provide financing?
The WV SBDC does not provide financing. Our assistance is technical and educational in nature.
The WV SBDC can help you identify what financing you may need and discuss alternative sources. We can also advise you how to improve a loan application and business plan. We work with banks and other lending agencies and organizations to assist in putting together financial projections, but the actual financing comes from outside sources.
What does it cost to use the services of the WV SBDC?
The services of the WV SBDC are provided at no charge thanks to the support of the Small Business Administration and our local fiscal supporters. Nominal fees are often charged for training workshops.
How can I get assistance from the WV SBDC?
There are several ways to take advantage of WV SBDC resources.
This website has a wealth of information to assist you and answer questions. Take some time to scroll through the Resources pages, and review the Training Calendar.
If you are starting a business, consider attending one of our Business Fundamentals workshops. There you will learn about the start-up process, important considerations and decisions you should make before you start, the various regulations and registrations, and the fundamentals of a business plan.
If you are already in business and would like one-on-one business coaching, contact us to set an appointment. We'll ask that you complete an intake questionnaire. We'll also suggest you bring financial information, marketing materials, etc. to our meeting to help us better understand your business.
Can the WV SBDC recommend the best business for me to start?
Our experience shows that successful entrepreneurs usually have a solid understanding of their new ventures. This means that they or members of their management team have operated a similar business before, or that they have unique skills and contacts that enable success.
We don't believe it is a good idea to simply pick a business from somebody's list of "Best Businesses to Start." Rather than suggest a business to you, we encourage you to evaluate your experiences, unique skills and strengths, location and what you think you'll be most happy doing.
What can I expect from a meeting with a business coach?
The business coach will ask pertinent questions, listen to your needs and tailor the session around your specific experience and concerns. You will leave your first meeting with a list of to-do items to start you on your way!
Client Services - What to Expect (PDF)
Is there a limit on how many times I can see a business coach?
You can see the business coach as often as you need. If you find that you have all the information after one meeting, that's okay. But, if you need ongoing help or support, the business coach is more than happy to do that, too.
Who funds the WV SBDC?
All WV SBDCs are supported by a mix of federal funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and matching funds from local hosts and support agencies. The WV SBDC is one of four divisions of the West Virginia Development Office, the state's lead economic development agency.
Potential Funding Sources
If you are looking for funding to start or grow your business, these links may help you research possibilities. WV SBDC does not provide direct funding, nor do we endorse any non-government websites, companies, or applications. We cannot attest to the accuracy of the information provided by third-party sites or any other linked site. These listings and links are provided for reference only.
Loans and Microloans
SBA Guaranteed Loans
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers several loan programs to help small businesses start up and expand.
SBA’s Microloan Program provides small, short-term loans to small business concerns and certain types of not-for-profit child-care centers.
First Microloan of WV
The Washington County Council on Economic Development provides SBA loans to West Virginia businesses.
Kanawha Institute for Social Research & Action offers microloans to businesses expanding and creating jobs in West Virginia. Loans range from $1,000 to $50,000 for a term of up to 6 years.
Natural Capital Investment Fund
Loans to natural resource based businesses to advance sustainable economic development.
The Progress Fund
Loans up to $1 million to restore old buildings, or finance a tourism or hospitality business.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Loans for equipment, machinery, supplies, or inventory for agriculture based businesses.
WV Economic Development Authority (WVEDA)
Loans for manufacturing, distribution centers, technology based companies.
$50,000 to $10 million
Job creation emphasized
WV Rural Health Infrastructure Loan
Loans to health providers for building construction, renovation, expansion equipment purchase, technology purchase, and practice acquisition.
Woodlands Development Group
Operating as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Woodlands, Community Lenders (WCL), and affiliate of Woodlands Development Group, makes low-interest loans to qualified businesses and communities in Randolph, Tucker and Barbour county areas. Loans are specifically earmarked for small businesses and non-profits that have difficulty obtaining financing elsewhere.
304-636-6495, ext. 29
Invests money in return for partial ownership
WV Jobs Investment Trust
A public venture capital fund created to develop, promote and expand West Virginia’s economy by making investment funds available to eligible businesses.
INNOVA Commercialization Group
Part of the High Technology Foundation, this capital investment program provides business support services to the projects in which it invests.
Focused on creativity, the website will allow you to post your need and tell your story. Kickstarter backers have funded more than $1.9 billion projects, such as films, music, stage shows, comics, journalism, video games, technology and food-related projects. People who back Kickstarter projects are offered tangible rewards and one of a kind experiences in exchange for their pledges of funding.
Term loans up to $250,000 and lines of credit up to $500,000 for qualified businesses.
Non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. The Kiva Zip community provides access to 0% interest loans and a community passionate about helping entrepreneurs in the U.S.
One of the first websites to offer crowdfunding, it is a launch pad for creative and entrepreneurial ideas. Has generated more than $800 million funding for 600,000 projects.
Loans from $25,000 to $500,000 with 5.49%+ interest rate. Move or expand your business, buy inventory or equipment, or refinance business debt.
Connects people who need money with people who have money to invest. Loans up to $35,000 with 5.99%+ interest rate.
Loans up to $300,000 with 5.49%+ interest rate. Must be in business 24 months.