We wish we could add, “it’s that simple”—but we know it’s actually a little more complicated than that.
Anyone can be an entrepreneur. It’s also true, though, that not everyone has access to the same resources, same connections, same entrepreneurial role models to help them launch a business or level up. Women and people of color in particular tend to face extra barriers to starting and growing businesses of their own. And yet, there’s plenty of evidence that when they do (start businesses, that is), entire communities are better off, and our economy is, too.
“I originally connected with the WV Women’s Business Center for the 1 on 1 mentoring program. I didn’t know where to begin when it came to starting a business, but having a mentor and working with the WV Women’s Business center helped me gain the confidence and take the financial leap to start my own business.” – Carly Costello, Owner
Being a therapist and owning her own practice is something Carly started dreaming of in graduate school at WVU. Her practice, The Counseling Nook provides specialized therapy for children, teens and women in West Virginia. Providing both virtual and in-person services, their mission is to empower women imagine and create their best lives.
Pictured: Carly Costello
“The WV Women’s Business Center has helped me operate my back office needs. Making decisions with someone who has business experience and knowledge is very helpful to someone like me who has never done this before.” – Rebecca Cobourne, Owner
Motivated by the need to help others in her community, Rebecca opened her salon in 2017. Braids + Twists is located in Charleston, WV and specializes in hair braiding. They seek to empower clients with confidence, knowledge, and style in their haircare journeys.
Pictured: Rebecca Cobourne
“My business was primarily online and in Spanish. I [reached out to] the WV WBC because I wanted to connect with the local community. I was living in Morgantown for a couple of years, but I wanted to be more involved. The WV Women’s Business Center has helped me to connect with mentors and local resources.” – Maria Jose Ramirez, Ph. D., Owner
Inspired by her achievement of something she thought was impossible, Dr. Ramirez began performance consulting over 15 years ago. She started her performance consulting journey in Chilé and made the transition to Morgantown, WV just a few short years ago. It is her desire to use her business MJ Performance Consulting to support and empower people in her community with the skills and knowledge she’s gained through her experience and education.
Pictured: Maria Jose Ramirez, Ph. D.
“I saw a WV Women’s Business Center billboard and figured it wouldn’t hurt to reach out and learn more. Turns out, it not only didn’t hurt; it has been a huge help! WV Women’s Business Center helped walk me through the legal process of becoming an actual business, connected me with a business mentor, and facilitated my application for a mini grant.” -Katie Kolb, Owner
Katie Kolb began Health Coaching over 15 years when she was encouraged by her friend to open her own practice. After personally experiencing the success of Katie’s program, this friend suggested she offer her services more widely. Through her practice, Katie works with busy people who are uncomfortable in their own bodies and are ready to commit to new habits to change their health trajectory.
Pictured: Katie Kolb
“We’re so encouraged to see the increased involvement of female participants in outdoor recreation activities!” — Anne Mitchell, Owner
Knapps Creek Trout Lodge creates a friendly and welcoming fly fishing environment where all participants can feel comfortable in the outdoors. Guests stay in Anne’s father’s childhood home, designed by his mother and built in 1973 along Knapps Creek as an idyllic mountain retreat. The lodge offers the comforts of fluffy beds, big fires, home-cooked meals that reflect local heritage, and fantastic fly fishing opportunities. KCTL invites guests to reconnect with each other and the natural landscape, providing the support necessary for guests to be successful relaxers and adventurers—whether they’re reading, resting, fishing, hiking, biking, or birding.
Pictured: Owner Anne Mitchell and Business Partner Mark Hengemihle
“It’s been a kinda wild 12 years. Sure, getting a business off the ground can be stressful, but there have been so many good times. And we’ve learned a whole lot. We’re looking forward to lots of fun things in the future.” — Hillary Harrison, Owner and Co-Creative Director
A couple of artists who went from running a gallery to designing cozy apparel and home goods, Dan Davis and Hillary Harrison founded Kin Ship Goods in 2009. They now have a studio and retail shop in Charleston, West Virginia where they not only sell their own products, but also things made by other independent artists they admire. Kin Ship’s products are sold in over 60 shops across the country and have been worn by the likes of Patti Smith, Mindy Kaling, Tyler Childers, Jennifer Garner, Lucinda Williams, Reggie Watts, and The Strokes.
Pictured: Owners and Co-Creative Directors Dan Davis and Hillary Harrison