WV Growth Fund Aims To Help Small Businesses

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Successful West Virginia businesses can now lend money to newer, smaller enterprises that want to launch or expand, thanks to a statewide lending program called an angel investment fund.

The West Virginia Growth Fund started on a small, informal scale four years ago. But Vice Chairman Tom Heywood tells media outlets that it now has some $3 million and is ready to consider funding projects statewide.

It's a private fund, backed by affluent investors and willing to provide loans that commercial banks often avoid because of the risk. It also offers fledgling companies mentoring, training and employee recruiting services.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says it's West Virginians helping each other.

The announcement came on the eve of an economic development conference the Appalachian Regional Commission is holding Thursday in Charleston.