West Virginia Department of Commerce Small Businesses Score Big

Recent Pages: Small Businesses...

Small Businesses Score Big

Small businesses
big in West Virginia’s
How big can a business be and still count as “small”? That depends on what industry it’s in, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). For example, the SBA sets the size standard for the wholesale trade at 100 employees; for manufacturing, up to 500.

When a group represents such a large part of your economic team, you want a skilled coach preparing them to perform at their best. You can find West Virginia’s business coaches in the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

BrooAlexa Construction
More than 95 percent of West Virginia’s employers are small businesses.

“They’re in the game with us,” said Frances Brooks, CEO, BrooAlexa Construction, Charleston. Started as a small trophy-making shop, BrooAlexa has evolved into a multi-state construction firm with multi-million dollar federal contracts.

“The SBDC has helped us with strategic planning, business development, marketing, budgeting and more,” she said. “Whenever we have a problem, they can help us write the corrective action plan. We aren’t out there on our own. Many times, we’ve had desk-side help.”

A network of 14 centers spread around the state means business owners never have far to go for help.

Kara Gray, New Horizon Consulting
"SBDC walked me through the process of getting a business license and making sure I had all the paperwork filed... "

- Owner Kara Gray
New Horizon Consulting

“We offer business expertise to entrepreneurs,” said Kristina Oliver, SBDC director. “We help entrepreneurs get the right support at the right time.”

When Kara Gray was ready to turn her years of corporate public relations experience into her own start-up company in 2003, she turned to her local SBDC office for help.

“When I decided to get a business license, I had no idea what to do,” she said. “I went to the Small Business Development Center at West Virginia Northern Community College in Wheeling. The center manager Donna Schramm walked me through the process of getting a business license and making sure I had all the paperwork filed with the Secretary of State and the tax office. “

Today, Gray’s company New Horizon Consulting provides writing, marketing and communications services to clients in the United States, Canada, Germany, Israel and China.

She continues to work with the SBDC, holding marketing and public relations workshops for the West Virginia SBDC and the SBA. Gray helped organize an Orchestrating Your Life women’s conference, now an annual event in Wheeling. She was named the 2010 Women in Business Champion of the Year by the SBA’s West Virginia District Office.

Continue reading...

Back to story index

Three Steps Lead to SBDC Right Resources

Accredited Team

West Virginia Capital Access Program