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WV growth fund introduced at Appalachian Regional Commission meeting

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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is joined with Tom Heywood (left) and Earl F. Gohl (right) and Keith Burdette (far right) at the ARC meeting. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is joined with Tom Heywood (left) and Earl F. Gohl (right) and Keith Burdette (far right) at the ARC meeting.
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On Nov. 6, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin joined Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl to announce a newly organized West Virginia angel investment fund which will pool the capital resources and the business connections of accredited investors in and around the state. 

The West Virginia Growth Fund is officially open for business.

The news conference kicked off a two-day conference in Charleston titled: "Toward Prosperity: Entrepreneurship Transforming Appalachia's Economy."

Tomblin and Gohl were joined by secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce Keith Burdette and Tom Heywood, vice president of Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation and managing partner of Bowles Rice LLC.

Tomblin said "West Virginia entrepreneurs will be able to take their ideas and make them grow. It's West Virginians helping West Virginians. It's a whole new concept for us in West Virginia."

Burdette said it will be an important tool in the state's business development efforts.

"The West Virginia Growth Fund will invest in entrepreneurs in West Virginia," Heywood added. "We'll see a lot of activity in this region that is unprecedented. I'm excited.

"This group has a lot of talent, access to talent and access to capital. We must take advantage of the opportunities before us.

"We are already seeing opportunities coming down the pipeline."

Small businesses make up 90 percent of the businesses in West Virginia, Tomblin said.

"This opens up a whole new array of possibilities, so we welcome it to West Virginia," he added.  

For details, visit www.wvgrowth.com.