Charleston Area Alliance helps ‘crowdfund’ local entrepreneurs - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

Charleston Area Alliance helps ‘crowdfund’ local entrepreneurs

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Most small business owners are masters of the "elevator speech," an abbreviated definition of a product or service.

For eight Charleston-area businesses, a persuasive 60-second YouTube pitch could mean the difference between funding or floundering.

The Charleston Area Alliance is hosting "Thrive: Power the Innovation Machine," an opportunity for the community to support local entrepreneurs who employ fewer than 30 people.

Entrepreneurs were asked to apply by Aug. 21, and eight of them were selected to move on to the next level. The selected businesses worked with DigiSo, a Charleston business incubator, which serves as both a physical and virtual talent hub focused on the digital and creative industries.

The entrepreneurs produced 60-second pitch videos that will be posted to Sept. 5 for the public to watch. A public event Sept. 19 at the DigiSo headquarters in Charleston will feature the eight entrepreneurs who will be able to answer questions.

The funding happens because each participant in the Sept. 19 "Thrive" launch event will be asked to pay $20 per ticket. Beverages and light food will be available, and each attendee will be able to cast his or her vote for the entrepreneur or small business they would like to support.

The entrepreneur with the most votes at the end of the night will receive $20 multiplied by the number of attendees to use as capital to invest in his or her business. Vision Shared will donate $500 to the fund.

"Thrive," is being hosted in partnership with the Arts Council of WV, Create West Virginia, DigiSo and Generation Charleston.

For details, contact Cullen Naumoff at or 304-340-4253.

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