We focus on sustainable economic development and diversification.

Strong Mountain Communities is focused on nurturing job creation and sustainable economic development and diversification in the southern coalfields of West Virginia. We provide deal-making services that align funding, technical assistance, business coaching and promotion to support and adequately capitalize burgeoning businesses and social enterprises in our region.

We serve as a central convener for businesses, organizations and stake holders concerned with the economic well-being of southern West Virginia. We collect and disseminate the lessons learned by its partners through an annual regional conference, periodic meetings at the local level and representation and advocacy at regional and national meetings.

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Our vision is Appalachia unlocking its full potential, power and purpose.

 

Since its inception, SMC has been about the business of spurring economic development and diversification in Southern WV.  Our primary activities focus on entrepreneurial deal-making and stakeholder convening in the region.  SMC pays particular attention to cultivating Social Enterprises as an economic driver and diversification tool for southern WV.  We pursue those objectives through a Pre-Market Enterprise Development Program and our regional WV Good Jobs Fund.  Furthermore, SMC has developed the WV The Good Jobs Conference as the mechanism in which to convene regional stakeholders in economic diversification with aspiring entrepreneurs and to launch and provide assistance to new, expanding, or struggling business and social enterprises in the area.

SMC is an outgrowth of Coalfield Development, itself a non-profit engaged in significant workforce development initiatives across southern WV.  While Coalfield retains its focus on counties in the south-western part of WV, SMC has spread its wings to include counties in the south-eastern portion of the state as well.  We work in concert with county EDA’s, the SBDC coaches, and incubator initiatives like the HIVE and the RCBI Ten50 initiative to identify and support fledgling entrepreneurs across the region.

This year our Pre-Market Enterprise Development Program will...
  • Fund, provide technical assistance, and help launch 10 new businesses and enterprises
  • Create 20 new jobs
  • Provide technical assistance and business training to 30 entrepreneurs and business start-ups.
This year, Our WV Good Jobs Fund will...
  • Award more than $75,000 to new businesses to assist with their start-up and predevelopment expenses.
  • Raise more than $100,000 in capital from local businesses, foundations, and individual members to support entrepreneurial efforts in southern WV.

What Our Trainees Think About Us

"It's a great group of people. We're all here for the one goal of bettering ourselves. They are setting you up to succeed in life."

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Jared Blaylock

"They send you through college and help you out. It's like another family. Everybody does their job and works together."

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Jessica Varney

"My main goal is to be able to make my own living doing what I like to do; in a place that I can raise my family and support myself at the same time. If you're thinking about signing up, don't wait."

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Tracey Spalding

Rebuilding the Appalachian economy
from the ground up.