The Jcda's Business Pitch Competition

 

Only the first 15 applications will be accepted!

Open to new and existing businesses in Jefferson County, WV, Jump Start Jefferson is a business pitch contest and educational series, designed to strengthen entrepreneurial growth and success! Participants will attend 5 educational sessions, aimed at providing information and skill development in the areas of finance and budgeting, public relations, advertising and marketing, and business plan construction. Following the educational sessions participants will submit a business plan and pitch before a panel of judges for a grant of up to $5,000! As a participant, you will gain regional exposure, professional networking opportunities, educational credits provided by Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, as well as a professionally edited headshot provided by SC Studios.


Disclosures

The Jefferson County Development Authority (JCDA) reserves the right to use photos prepared for Jump Start Jefferson in publicizing and promoting the event.

Each participant is encouraged to attend the five (5) week education series and pitch rehearsal.  Judges will factor attendance into overall score.  To view the judges' scoresheet, please click here

Each participant certifies that business concepts and other class discussions will be kept confidential, not shared with others during the six-week class/pitch rehearsal period.

Jump Start Jefferson does not have an entry fee.

Each participant is required to sign and submit a Participant Agreement Form. *

*this form will be provided in the Applicant Packet and should be turned in at the first educational session

Decisions regarding the competition and winners: the selections of the winner(s) are at the sole discretion of the judges and the decision of the judges is final.

Eligibility Requirements

New Business: Any “new” for-profit business endeavor that is located within Jefferson County, WV. A new business is defined as one that will start up, within 120 days after the date of the award.

Existing Business: Existing businesses in Jefferson County, WV who wish to grow their business through new product and service development and plan to implement their expansion project within 120 days after the date of the award.

Contest Winner Requirements / Grant Use Acceptability

To be considered for grant selection, the participant must submit a business plan via email by 12:00 PM on 5/17/22 and score at least 80/100 points on their overall score (consisting of attendance, physical business plan, and pitch presentation).

Grant award winner(s) will have a maximum of 120 days (or September 21, 2023) from award notice to implement their business and start collecting grant funds. *

*Grant winner(s) must provide their WV Secretary of State Business Registration, along with Business Signature Page and WV State Tax Business Filing.  Existing businesses must provide a certificate of good standing from the WV Tax Department.  Winner(s) must present itemized receipts and invoices in order to receive reimbursement.   

Payroll expenses are not eligible for grant funding.

The grant funds must be fully utilized by December 31, 2023 or the funds will be forfeited.

Tie-Breaker Stipulations

In the event of a tie for the first-place winner, the following factors will be considered to determine a sole winner in the provided order.

1. People’s Pick: If one of the tied participants is the ‘People’s Pick,’ they will be determined as the winner.

2. Perfect Attendance: If one of the tied participants has perfect attendance to all educational sessions and pitch practice, they will be determined as the winner.

3. Business Plan Score: The participant with the higher business plan score will be determined as the winner.

4. Judge’s Discretion: If the previous 3 factors have not determined a winner, it will be up to the discretion of the judges to determine a sole winner.

‘People’s Pick’ Competition

The winner of the ‘People’s Pick’ Competition will receive a prize of $500

Participants will be asked to submit their business name, along with 4 bullet points (25 words each) describing their business.  This submission will be due by May 17th at 12:00 PM to be eligible to participate in the competition.

A graphic will be created by the JCDA team, and this graphic will be posted on the JCDA website under the ‘News’ Tab. 

A Microsoft Form to vote for the ‘People’s Pick’ will be linked at the bottom of the page containing the various graphics for the businesses of the participants.  The form will open on May 18th at 12:00 PM and will close on May 23rd at 12:00 PM.  The winner will be announced at the Final Business Pitch & Reception held on May 24th

All Educational Sessions and pitch practice will be held at 6:00 PM in the Jefferson County Public Services Building Conference Room; 1948 Wiltshire Road, Kearneysville, WV 25430.

 

February 15th, 2023: Registration opens at 12:00 PM (noon)

March 15th, 2023: Registration closes at 12:00 PM (noon)

April 12th, 2023: Class 1: Intro to Small Business and Business Plan Outline Part 1

April 19th, 2023: Class 2: Intro to Small Business and Business Plan Outline Part 2

April 26th, 2023: Class 3: Credit: How do YOU Score and How Can You Build It

May 3rd, 2023: Class 4: Financials and Legals: The Foundation for Success

May 10th, 2023: Class 5: Marketing, Public Relations, and Advertising

May 17th, 2023: Pitch Practice, Business Plans and Pitch Slide Deck (optional) Due at 12:00 PM (noon).

May 24th, 2023: Pitch Night and Reception (Shepherdstown Opera House, 131 W German St. Shepherdstown, WV 25443)

Contest Winner:

Up to $5,000 Grant (Sponsored in part by BCT - Bank of Charles Town), 

1 Year Membership in the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce 

Video/Social media marketing package  - provided by SC Studios ($4,000 value)

Advertising package - provided by The WV Independent Observer ($500 value)

People's Pick:

$500 prize - provided by Black Diamond Realty

All Participants:

College Credits - Provided by Blue Ridge Community and Technical College

Professional edited headshot - Provided by SC Studios

  James Dovel, Ph.D

Dr. James Dovel is an experienced business manager, operator, owner, and entrepreneur with an extensive professional background and academic training.  He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Shepherd University and has professional experience as a coach and mentor to student program participants in sports and business plan competitions.  Dr. Dovel received his Bachelors of Science in Diesel Power Technology from the Oregon Institute of Technology, his Masters of Business Administration from Portland State University, and his Doctors of Business Administration from Wilmington University. 

Dr. Dovel has taught a wide range of business, accounting, and other courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels including entrepreneurship, management, leadership, ethics, accounting, statistics, databases, finance, human resources, and facility and event management.  Additionally, Dr. Dovel is a long-time hospitality business manager and owner, growing sales by almost 1000% through conceptualizing and implementing innovative business strategies, planning, budgeting, and scheduling, as well as the execution of five business-expansion projects. 

  Jim Linsenmeyer

Jim Linsenmeyer, the Eastern Panhandle Regional Manager for the West Virginia Department of Economic Development, is a native of Huntington, West Virginia. Jim received his undergraduate degree from Xavier University and an MBA from WVU.  During Jim's professional career, he operated and owned beer and wine wholesale distributors throughout West Virginia including a stint as the COO at Jefferson Distributing in Martinsburg from '98 to ‘08. Jim had been part of several business startups, mergers acquisitions, and divestitures during his career as an entrepreneur. After a successful business exit in ‘16, Jim spent several years as an advisor and investor with several private equity groups, and provided pro bono services to Baltimore area university centers for entrepreneurship, incubators, accelerators, and maker spaces. 

  Eddie Love

Eddie Love is the owner and operator of Mountain Mama, a Harpers Ferry vacation rental company. Mountain Mama hosts thousands of guests each year at their 20 (and growing) vacation homes and cabins in the Harpers Ferry area.  Before founding Mountain Mama, Eddie worked in technology start-ups and investment banking, and graduated with a bachelor's degree from Harvard College.  He lives happily in Harpers Ferry with his wife, Mary, and two children.

  Jane Peters

Jane K. Peters is a native of Charleston, WV. She earned a BA in Political Science at Miami University. She had a 31-year career in economic development, working on the state and local level, serving for 27 years as the Executive Director of the Jefferson County Development Authority She was a Certified Economic Developer by the International Economic Development Council and she served as President of the West Virginia Economic Development Council. She is currently an Employment Counselor for Blue Ridge Community and Technical College.

Jane has been active in the community, serving as a Board member and Chair of the United Way of Jefferson County and winning the Van Ryzin Award. She also served on the Board of Governors of Shepherd University, and on the Board of Governors of Blue Ridge Community and Technical College. She was on the Board of the Shepherdstown Daycare Center.

  Dee Singh-Knights, Ph.D.

Doolarie (Dee) Singh-Knights is a Professor and Extension Specialist at West Virginia University.  She specializes in the areas of agribusiness economics and management with the goal of contributing to the development of sustainable agricultural production systems through research, teaching and extension education. Her work centers on the belief that there are enormous opportunities to increase production of and demand for locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for agribusiness operations serving local and expanded markets. Dee works to help ‘agripreneurs’ capitalize on these growing opportunities, and to grow the next generation of agribusiness owners, leaders and service providers to ensure agriculture sustainability in West Virginia and beyond.   

 Chris Cox

Christopher Cox is a versatile lawyer and mediator with a broad range of experience.  Admitted to practice in West Virginia and Maryland, Chris works in the Bowles Rice Martinsburg, West Virginia office.

Chris has nearly two decades of experience in providing practical legal advice, representation, and training to government entities, small businesses, and/or individuals.  As a member of the firm’s Tax Team, Chris works primarily in the areas of business slaw and estate planning and administration.  Within these practice areas, Chris advises on contract preparation and review; entity planning and corporate governance; business succession; land use and preservation; acquisitions and sales; and estates and trusts.

Chris is a retired veteran of the United States Army.  During his 20-year military career, he served in a variety of roles—General Counsel, Administrative Law Attorney, Rule of Law Attorney, Ethics Counselor, Prosecutor, and Litigation Attorney.  Within those roles, Chris provided legal advice, counsel, and support on matters involving Army policies and procedures; international and operational law as applied in parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East; special operations and counterterrorism; civilian employment; criminal law; ethics; and investigations.

Tiffany Hine

Tiffany Hine is the Director of Small Business Education and Training at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College and has been training for more than twenty years.  She received her Master of Public Education from West Virginia University and her Master of Business Administration from Shepherd University. She is married with a daughter, grandson, and lots of fur babies!

Aaron Howell

Aaron Howell Serves as Senior Vice President—Senior Commercial Loan Officer and Community Banking Executive with BCT-Bank of Charles Town, also known as The Community’s Bank.  Howell is responsible for all commercial lending initiatives in Maryland and West Virginia, including Commercial Real Estate lending, Commercial and Industrial lending, Small Business Administration lending, as well as lending to Non-Profit Organizations.  Committed to giving back to the community, Howell currently serves as a member of the United Way of Washington County’s Community Impact Committee, Treasurer of the Shenandoah Valley Steam and Gas Engine Association, and Vice Chairman of the BCT Cares Foundation.  Howell is a past President of Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and has also served on numerous committees with the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle.  Howell holds an MBA degree from Shepherd University and a BS degree from West Virginia University where he was a varsity letterman in football.  Additionally, Howell is a graduate of Barret Graduate School of Banking, West Virginia School of Banking, the Risk Management Association of Commercial and Real Estate Lending Schools at East Carolina University, and the American Bankers Association Graduate Commercial Lending School at Southern Methodist University.  Howell grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia and moved to Jefferson County, West Virginia in 2003 to begin his banking career with BCT.  He is married with two daughters and currently resides in Jefferson County, West Virginia.

 Moises Mendoza

Moises Mendoza is a local entrepreneur and business owner from the Eastern Panhandle. He obtained a degree in Social Media Marketing and a minor in Advertising from West Virginia University in 2015 and began his career in marketing shortly thereafter. Moises has worked in marketing for start-ups and large enterprises and has gained a wealth of experience in the field. In 2019, Moises founded "Social Connection Marketing," a digital marketing company that offers a range of services including videography, web design, SEO, social media marketing, paid ads, and app development. The company has experienced rapid growth over the past three years and has also expanded into wedding videography through the business "SC Wedding Films." Additionally, Moises has created a full-service video, podcast, and photography production studio called "SC Studios." SC Marketing is excited to continue serving a variety of clients, including non-profits, small and large businesses, and other organizations in the Eastern Panhandle area.

  Nora Myers

Nora Myers is the Executive Director of the West Virginia Women’s Business Center.  She manages two WBCs in Charleston and Morgantown, and a satellite office in Huntington.  She has worked with start-up organizations throughout her tenure as the LaunchLab Director of West Virginia University’s Beckley campus, and as the Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Charleston, the operational assistance partner for Adena Ventures.  In this capacity, Ms. Myers provided business development support for numerous companies across the state seeking venture capital.  She has experience as a commercial lender in the Washington, DC area, serving small-medium enterprises, and is a graduate of the Venture Capital Institute in Atlanta.  She holds an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, Bloomington and a BS in Management from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.  She also served on the boards of Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council and Fund for the Arts

 Kevin O'Connor

Kevin O’Connor is the SVP and WV Market Manager for Partner Community Capital.  He is a small business lender who is passionate about helping the small business owner succeed in meeting their dream of owning their own business.  With over 30 years of combined banking, mortgage, and public accounting work, he enjoys using his skills to structure a loan deal that makes sense for his clients. Partner Community Capital (PCAP) helps small businesses get the capital and other resources they need but can’t access.  They deliver flexible, empowering loans to borrowers in underserved communities and connect clients to strategic advisory services so they can make the best use of PCAP’s capital.. 

  Daniel Sweeney, CPA

Daniel is a senior accountant at Decker & Company PLLC in Martinsburg, WV. He is responsible for individual and business tax preparation, financial statement preparation, auditing, and general accounting. He is a graduate of Shepherd University with a BS Degree majoring in both Accounting and Business Administration. He graduated summa cum laude and was inducted as a McMurran Scholar during his time on Shepherd campus. He also graduated from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School with a Masters Degree in Finance. He has worked as an accountant since 2017, and in 2018, Daniel became a certified public accountant under the West Virginia Board of Accountancy.

 Michael Boyd

Michael Boyd is the SBDC Business Coach for the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. He brings his professional experience as: entrepreneur, educator and Workforce Development Program Manager to the business community of the Eastern Panhandle. By providing entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed, the SBDC contributes to the economic health of our communities. Successful startups provide employment opportunities in the community, create tax revenue for state and local governments, and help to provide self-sufficiency for the owners of the venture. Michael is committed, as an SBDC coach, to strengthening the Eastern Panhandle business community.

 Carol Goolsby

Carol Goolsby has a unique blend of professional experiences in Higher Education, private, public and non-profit sectors giving her a well-rounded perspective in business and leadership.  She is a former small business owner which fuels her entrepreneurial spirit.  Her experiences in Higher Education drives her passion to educate, empower, and mentor future business leaders.  Combined with her strong work ethic of integrity and excellence, she is commitment to the success of individuals and businesses. Carol holds a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor’s in Business Education.  She served as the Executive Director of the Region 9 Planning and Development Counsel from 2006-2013.  She is currently employed as a full-time Professor in the College of Business at Shepherd University and a part-time coach for the WV Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in the Eastern Panhandle.

Rules, Disclosures, and Requirements

Disclosures

The Jefferson County Development Authority (JCDA) reserves the right to use photos prepared for Jump Start Jefferson in publicizing and promoting the event.

Each participant is encouraged to attend the five (5) week education series and pitch rehearsal.  Judges will factor attendance into overall score.  To view the judges' scoresheet, please click here

Each participant certifies that business concepts and other class discussions will be kept confidential, not shared with others during the six-week class/pitch rehearsal period.

Jump Start Jefferson does not have an entry fee.

Each participant is required to sign and submit a Participant Agreement Form. *

*this form will be provided in the Applicant Packet and should be turned in at the first educational session

Decisions regarding the competition and winners: the selections of the winner(s) are at the sole discretion of the judges and the decision of the judges is final.

Eligibility Requirements

New Business: Any “new” for-profit business endeavor that is located within Jefferson County, WV. A new business is defined as one that will start up, within 120 days after the date of the award.

Existing Business: Existing businesses in Jefferson County, WV who wish to grow their business through new product and service development and plan to implement their expansion project within 120 days after the date of the award.

Contest Winner Requirements / Grant Use Acceptability

To be considered for grant selection, the participant must submit a business plan via email by 12:00 PM on 5/17/22 and score at least 80/100 points on their overall score (consisting of attendance, physical business plan, and pitch presentation).

Grant award winner(s) will have a maximum of 120 days (or September 21, 2023) from award notice to implement their business and start collecting grant funds. *

*Grant winner(s) must provide their WV Secretary of State Business Registration, along with Business Signature Page and WV State Tax Business Filing.  Existing businesses must provide a certificate of good standing from the WV Tax Department.  Winner(s) must present itemized receipts and invoices in order to receive reimbursement.   

Payroll expenses are not eligible for grant funding.

The grant funds must be fully utilized by December 31, 2023 or the funds will be forfeited.

Tie-Breaker Stipulations

In the event of a tie for the first-place winner, the following factors will be considered to determine a sole winner in the provided order.

1. People’s Pick: If one of the tied participants is the ‘People’s Pick,’ they will be determined as the winner.

2. Perfect Attendance: If one of the tied participants has perfect attendance to all educational sessions and pitch practice, they will be determined as the winner.

3. Business Plan Score: The participant with the higher business plan score will be determined as the winner.

4. Judge’s Discretion: If the previous 3 factors have not determined a winner, it will be up to the discretion of the judges to determine a sole winner.

‘People’s Pick’ Competition

The winner of the ‘People’s Pick’ Competition will receive a prize of $500

Participants will be asked to submit their business name, along with 4 bullet points (25 words each) describing their business.  This submission will be due by May 17th at 12:00 PM to be eligible to participate in the competition.

A graphic will be created by the JCDA team, and this graphic will be posted on the JCDA website under the ‘News’ Tab. 

A Microsoft Form to vote for the ‘People’s Pick’ will be linked at the bottom of the page containing the various graphics for the businesses of the participants.  The form will open on May 18th at 12:00 PM and will close on May 23rd at 12:00 PM.  The winner will be announced at the Final Business Pitch & Reception held on May 24th


Dates

All Educational Sessions and pitch practice will be held at 6:00 PM in the Jefferson County Public Services Building Conference Room; 1948 Wiltshire Road, Kearneysville, WV 25430.

 

February 15th, 2023: Registration opens at 12:00 PM (noon)

March 15th, 2023: Registration closes at 12:00 PM (noon)

April 12th, 2023: Class 1: Intro to Small Business and Business Plan Outline Part 1

April 19th, 2023: Class 2: Intro to Small Business and Business Plan Outline Part 2

April 26th, 2023: Class 3: Credit: How do YOU Score and How Can You Build It

May 3rd, 2023: Class 4: Financials and Legals: The Foundation for Success

May 10th, 2023: Class 5: Marketing, Public Relations, and Advertising

May 17th, 2023: Pitch Practice, Business Plans and Pitch Slide Deck (optional) Due at 12:00 PM (noon).

May 24th, 2023: Pitch Night and Reception (Shepherdstown Opera House, 131 W German St. Shepherdstown, WV 25443)


Prizes

Contest Winner:

Up to $5,000 Grant (Sponsored in part by BCT - Bank of Charles Town), 

1 Year Membership in the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce 

Video/Social media marketing package  - provided by SC Studios ($4,000 value)

Advertising package - provided by The WV Independent Observer ($500 value)

People's Pick:

$500 prize - provided by Black Diamond Realty

All Participants:

College Credits - Provided by Blue Ridge Community and Technical College

Professional edited headshot - Provided by SC Studios


Judges

  James Dovel, Ph.D

Dr. James Dovel is an experienced business manager, operator, owner, and entrepreneur with an extensive professional background and academic training.  He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Shepherd University and has professional experience as a coach and mentor to student program participants in sports and business plan competitions.  Dr. Dovel received his Bachelors of Science in Diesel Power Technology from the Oregon Institute of Technology, his Masters of Business Administration from Portland State University, and his Doctors of Business Administration from Wilmington University. 

Dr. Dovel has taught a wide range of business, accounting, and other courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels including entrepreneurship, management, leadership, ethics, accounting, statistics, databases, finance, human resources, and facility and event management.  Additionally, Dr. Dovel is a long-time hospitality business manager and owner, growing sales by almost 1000% through conceptualizing and implementing innovative business strategies, planning, budgeting, and scheduling, as well as the execution of five business-expansion projects. 

  Jim Linsenmeyer

Jim Linsenmeyer, the Eastern Panhandle Regional Manager for the West Virginia Department of Economic Development, is a native of Huntington, West Virginia. Jim received his undergraduate degree from Xavier University and an MBA from WVU.  During Jim's professional career, he operated and owned beer and wine wholesale distributors throughout West Virginia including a stint as the COO at Jefferson Distributing in Martinsburg from '98 to ‘08. Jim had been part of several business startups, mergers acquisitions, and divestitures during his career as an entrepreneur. After a successful business exit in ‘16, Jim spent several years as an advisor and investor with several private equity groups, and provided pro bono services to Baltimore area university centers for entrepreneurship, incubators, accelerators, and maker spaces. 

  Eddie Love

Eddie Love is the owner and operator of Mountain Mama, a Harpers Ferry vacation rental company. Mountain Mama hosts thousands of guests each year at their 20 (and growing) vacation homes and cabins in the Harpers Ferry area.  Before founding Mountain Mama, Eddie worked in technology start-ups and investment banking, and graduated with a bachelor's degree from Harvard College.  He lives happily in Harpers Ferry with his wife, Mary, and two children.

  Jane Peters

Jane K. Peters is a native of Charleston, WV. She earned a BA in Political Science at Miami University. She had a 31-year career in economic development, working on the state and local level, serving for 27 years as the Executive Director of the Jefferson County Development Authority She was a Certified Economic Developer by the International Economic Development Council and she served as President of the West Virginia Economic Development Council. She is currently an Employment Counselor for Blue Ridge Community and Technical College.

Jane has been active in the community, serving as a Board member and Chair of the United Way of Jefferson County and winning the Van Ryzin Award. She also served on the Board of Governors of Shepherd University, and on the Board of Governors of Blue Ridge Community and Technical College. She was on the Board of the Shepherdstown Daycare Center.

  Dee Singh-Knights, Ph.D.

Doolarie (Dee) Singh-Knights is a Professor and Extension Specialist at West Virginia University.  She specializes in the areas of agribusiness economics and management with the goal of contributing to the development of sustainable agricultural production systems through research, teaching and extension education. Her work centers on the belief that there are enormous opportunities to increase production of and demand for locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for agribusiness operations serving local and expanded markets. Dee works to help ‘agripreneurs’ capitalize on these growing opportunities, and to grow the next generation of agribusiness owners, leaders and service providers to ensure agriculture sustainability in West Virginia and beyond.   


Education Experts

 Chris Cox

Christopher Cox is a versatile lawyer and mediator with a broad range of experience.  Admitted to practice in West Virginia and Maryland, Chris works in the Bowles Rice Martinsburg, West Virginia office.

Chris has nearly two decades of experience in providing practical legal advice, representation, and training to government entities, small businesses, and/or individuals.  As a member of the firm’s Tax Team, Chris works primarily in the areas of business slaw and estate planning and administration.  Within these practice areas, Chris advises on contract preparation and review; entity planning and corporate governance; business succession; land use and preservation; acquisitions and sales; and estates and trusts.

Chris is a retired veteran of the United States Army.  During his 20-year military career, he served in a variety of roles—General Counsel, Administrative Law Attorney, Rule of Law Attorney, Ethics Counselor, Prosecutor, and Litigation Attorney.  Within those roles, Chris provided legal advice, counsel, and support on matters involving Army policies and procedures; international and operational law as applied in parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East; special operations and counterterrorism; civilian employment; criminal law; ethics; and investigations.

Tiffany Hine

Tiffany Hine is the Director of Small Business Education and Training at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College and has been training for more than twenty years.  She received her Master of Public Education from West Virginia University and her Master of Business Administration from Shepherd University. She is married with a daughter, grandson, and lots of fur babies!

Aaron Howell

Aaron Howell Serves as Senior Vice President—Senior Commercial Loan Officer and Community Banking Executive with BCT-Bank of Charles Town, also known as The Community’s Bank.  Howell is responsible for all commercial lending initiatives in Maryland and West Virginia, including Commercial Real Estate lending, Commercial and Industrial lending, Small Business Administration lending, as well as lending to Non-Profit Organizations.  Committed to giving back to the community, Howell currently serves as a member of the United Way of Washington County’s Community Impact Committee, Treasurer of the Shenandoah Valley Steam and Gas Engine Association, and Vice Chairman of the BCT Cares Foundation.  Howell is a past President of Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and has also served on numerous committees with the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle.  Howell holds an MBA degree from Shepherd University and a BS degree from West Virginia University where he was a varsity letterman in football.  Additionally, Howell is a graduate of Barret Graduate School of Banking, West Virginia School of Banking, the Risk Management Association of Commercial and Real Estate Lending Schools at East Carolina University, and the American Bankers Association Graduate Commercial Lending School at Southern Methodist University.  Howell grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia and moved to Jefferson County, West Virginia in 2003 to begin his banking career with BCT.  He is married with two daughters and currently resides in Jefferson County, West Virginia.

 Moises Mendoza

Moises Mendoza is a local entrepreneur and business owner from the Eastern Panhandle. He obtained a degree in Social Media Marketing and a minor in Advertising from West Virginia University in 2015 and began his career in marketing shortly thereafter. Moises has worked in marketing for start-ups and large enterprises and has gained a wealth of experience in the field. In 2019, Moises founded "Social Connection Marketing," a digital marketing company that offers a range of services including videography, web design, SEO, social media marketing, paid ads, and app development. The company has experienced rapid growth over the past three years and has also expanded into wedding videography through the business "SC Wedding Films." Additionally, Moises has created a full-service video, podcast, and photography production studio called "SC Studios." SC Marketing is excited to continue serving a variety of clients, including non-profits, small and large businesses, and other organizations in the Eastern Panhandle area.

  Nora Myers

Nora Myers is the Executive Director of the West Virginia Women’s Business Center.  She manages two WBCs in Charleston and Morgantown, and a satellite office in Huntington.  She has worked with start-up organizations throughout her tenure as the LaunchLab Director of West Virginia University’s Beckley campus, and as the Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Charleston, the operational assistance partner for Adena Ventures.  In this capacity, Ms. Myers provided business development support for numerous companies across the state seeking venture capital.  She has experience as a commercial lender in the Washington, DC area, serving small-medium enterprises, and is a graduate of the Venture Capital Institute in Atlanta.  She holds an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, Bloomington and a BS in Management from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.  She also served on the boards of Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council and Fund for the Arts

 Kevin O'Connor

Kevin O’Connor is the SVP and WV Market Manager for Partner Community Capital.  He is a small business lender who is passionate about helping the small business owner succeed in meeting their dream of owning their own business.  With over 30 years of combined banking, mortgage, and public accounting work, he enjoys using his skills to structure a loan deal that makes sense for his clients. Partner Community Capital (PCAP) helps small businesses get the capital and other resources they need but can’t access.  They deliver flexible, empowering loans to borrowers in underserved communities and connect clients to strategic advisory services so they can make the best use of PCAP’s capital.. 

  Daniel Sweeney, CPA

Daniel is a senior accountant at Decker & Company PLLC in Martinsburg, WV. He is responsible for individual and business tax preparation, financial statement preparation, auditing, and general accounting. He is a graduate of Shepherd University with a BS Degree majoring in both Accounting and Business Administration. He graduated summa cum laude and was inducted as a McMurran Scholar during his time on Shepherd campus. He also graduated from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School with a Masters Degree in Finance. He has worked as an accountant since 2017, and in 2018, Daniel became a certified public accountant under the West Virginia Board of Accountancy.


Mentors

 Michael Boyd

Michael Boyd is the SBDC Business Coach for the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. He brings his professional experience as: entrepreneur, educator and Workforce Development Program Manager to the business community of the Eastern Panhandle. By providing entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed, the SBDC contributes to the economic health of our communities. Successful startups provide employment opportunities in the community, create tax revenue for state and local governments, and help to provide self-sufficiency for the owners of the venture. Michael is committed, as an SBDC coach, to strengthening the Eastern Panhandle business community.

 Carol Goolsby

Carol Goolsby has a unique blend of professional experiences in Higher Education, private, public and non-profit sectors giving her a well-rounded perspective in business and leadership.  She is a former small business owner which fuels her entrepreneurial spirit.  Her experiences in Higher Education drives her passion to educate, empower, and mentor future business leaders.  Combined with her strong work ethic of integrity and excellence, she is commitment to the success of individuals and businesses. Carol holds a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor’s in Business Education.  She served as the Executive Director of the Region 9 Planning and Development Counsel from 2006-2013.  She is currently employed as a full-time Professor in the College of Business at Shepherd University and a part-time coach for the WV Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in the Eastern Panhandle.


Jump Start Jefferson is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors!

 

Education Partner

 

 

Official Bank Sponsor

 

 

Media Sponsor

Marketing Sponsor

 

Sponsor

People's Pick Sponsor