Two West Virginia-based economic development initiatives will receive federal grants to help spur job creation, according to a recent press release. The Obama administration announced last week that the Shepherdstown-based West Virginia Value Chain Cluster Initiative will receive $815,000, while the Huntington-based Southern West Virginia Rural Jobs Accelerator Partnership will receive $718,000.
They are among 13 winning projects in a multi-agency competition called the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. The competition is being funded by the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Commerce, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority.
The WV Value Chain Cluster Initiative, a project of the National Capital Investment Fund, received $815,000. According to the release, the grant, by providing opportunities "for networking, assisting with technology use and increasing access to capital, will "assist food businesses in expanding their access to new markets and buyers and build a stronger network that promotes new regional business linkages by coaching of cluster participants, providing targeted and customized technical assistance, offering access to capital, effectively using technology, assisting with new business development efforts and providing access to and sharing of best practices."
Phone calls to the National Capital Investment Fund have been unanswered. Their website claims that their purpose is to serve as a business loan fund that provides debt and equity financing to small businesses located in North Carolina, Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, West Virginia, Southeast Ohio and Appalachian Kentucky.
The site offered no information on how the newly acquired grant could be put to use in the future.