The June meeting of the Entrepreneurs' Caf demonstrated the variety and vitality of small business concepts in the Eastern Panhandle. White Hall at Shepherd University was the site of a full house, as the community came to hear presentations from Jolene S. Carroll, Sugar Rush! LLC; Douglas Estepp, Coal Country Tours; David Siripoonsup, Blue Morning Farm (CSA); Tony Martirano, Tony M. Music; and Barbara W. Keech, Wild Spirit Photography.
At the end of the evening, the votes were tallied and Wild Spirit Photography emerged as the crowd favorite. In her presentation, Keech noted that "Photographs are a powerful tool. We want to help change the world one image at a time. Whether it is exotic wildlife or nature or family and pets, it's all important; it all makes a difference." Keech plans to use the micro-grant of $823 to establish a website to reach a wider audience, and create an e-commerce option. Well-known locally for her "natural light" pet portraits, Keech is expanding Wild Spirit Photography's subjects and hopes to host a gallery show in Shepherdstown to introduce the community to her more varied work.
The Entrepreneurs' Caf grant is funded by contributions at the door from attendees, plus cash and in-kind sponsorships.
Sponsors for the June 11 event included hosts and food sponsor, The Edward L. Snyder Endowed Chair in Business Administration, Shepherd University; and in-kind sponsors, Kevin Brackens, Brackens Painting LLC, who donated a $500 painting gift certificate for the door prize raffle; and Nancy McKeithen, Editor of FLUENT magazine, who donated a full-page ad to the winning business. Limited sponsorship opportunities are available for 2013, by contacting David Rosen at email@example.com.
The Entrepreneurs' Caf program is part of a long-term plan to develop the entrepreneurial climate in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. The next Entrepreneurs' Caf will take place in October (date and location TBA). For more information or to download an application to be a presenter, visit www.facebook.com/EntreprenuersCafeShepherdstownEasternPanhandle.