New Data on Entrepreneurship in West Virginia Shows Thirteen Percent Growth in Microbusinesses

The Data Was Unveiled by Right to Start at the West Virginia Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Conference in Partnership with GoDaddy

Right to Start, the national nonprofit organization championing entrepreneurship as a civic priority, unveiled new data on entrepreneurship in West Virginia, providing a snapshot county by county. The data shows the presence of microbusinesses across the state and highlights the national economic impact on employment. The findings come from Venture Forward, an ongoing research initiative by GoDaddy that analyzes the impact of more than 20 million online microbusinesses. Venture Forward provides a unique view into the attitudes, demographics, and needs of these entrepreneurs. The data was unveiled at the West Virginia Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Conference in Huntington on April 9, 2024.

The data is based on the 40,285 microbusinesses (often with 10 or fewer employees) in West Virginia that have a digital presence (measured by a unique domain and an active website). It reveals that the number of microbusinesses in the state grew 13% (from 35,709) since August 2019. It also indicates that in West Virginia, counties average about 2.2 microbusinesses per 100 people. Across the U.S., Venture Forward research shows that about seven new jobs are created by each microbusiness entrepreneur on a county level.

The 12 West Virginia counties with the largest number of microbusinesses per 100 people are:

1. Jackson County: 12.7 microbusinesses per 100 people
2. Ohio County: 7.6
3. Jefferson: 6.3
4. Monongalia: 4.5
5. Harrison: 3.6
6. Kanawha: 3.5
7. Morgan: 3.4
8. Greenbrier: 3.3
9. Pocahontas: 3.3
10. Berkeley: 3.2
11. Cabell: 3.0
12. Hancock: 3.0

A complete list of West Virginia’s 55 counties and the number of microbusinesses per 100 people in each county is shown below. Understanding the presence and impact of entrepreneurship is vital to economic growth, as young businesses create virtually all job growth in America.

“This snapshot of entrepreneurship in West Virginia shows both the activity already in place and the opportunity ahead,” said Victor W. Hwang, Founder and CEO of Right to Start and a keynote speaker at the Conference. “West Virginia can build on the level of entrepreneurship that is already in place – and such cutting-edge assets as Marshall University’s new Brad D. Smith Center for Business & Innovation – to become a national leader in future entrepreneurial innovation.”

“GoDaddy’s data offers a vital glimpse into the significance of entrepreneurship in West Virginia, through this partnership with Right to Start,” said Alexandra Rosen, senior director of Venture Forward. “This snapshot of West Virginia highlights the potential for entrepreneurial growth and its powerful implications for increased employment.”

GoDaddy makes this and other data on entrepreneurship available free to the public through its Venture Forward website, supporting entrepreneurs and their advocates through unique and timely data.

The West Virginia Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Conference is the largest, annual, entrepreneurship conference convening in the state and is designed to promote and foster entrepreneurship. It is a central part of West Virginia’s annual Bridging Innovation Week, taking place from April 8-11 in Huntington to cultivate a thriving, statewide, entrepreneurial ecosystem.

For more information, contact Henry Miller at [email protected].

Right to Start is a national nonpartisan movement to advance entrepreneurship as a civic priority throughout the United States. Entrepreneurship has long been viewed as a solitary endeavor – the lone starter in a basement or garage. Right to Start’s vision is to transform America so that all communities prioritize entrepreneurship, clearing away obstacles to ensure that every American has an equal right to start and a level playing field on which to embark. The campaign is conducted through two affiliated nonprofit organizations, a 501(c)3 and 501(c)4.

West Virginia’s 55 Counties and the Number of Microbusinesses Per 100 People

Jackson 12.7
Ohio 7.6
Jefferson 6.3
Monongalia 4.5
Harrison 3.6
Kanawha 3.5
Morgan 3.4
Greenbrier 3.3
Pocahontas 3.3
Berkeley 3.2
Cabell 3.0
Hancock 3.0
Tucker 3.0
Pendleton 3.0
Putnam 2.7
Fayette 2.6
Hardy 2.6
Raleigh 2.5
Randolph 2.5
Wetzel 2.5
Wood 2.3
Marion 2.2
Summers 2.1
Upshur 2.0
Calhoun 2.0
Mercer 1.8
Lewis 1.8
Hampshire 1.7
Preston 1.6
Nicholas 1.5
Ritchie 1.4
Wayne 1.3
Mineral 1.3
Logan 1.2
Mason 1.1
Roane 1.1
Marshall 1.0
Taylor 1.0
Barbour 1.0
Braxton 1.0
Monroe 1.0
Grant 1.0
Gilmer 1.0
Tyler 0.9
Clay 0.9
Brooke 0.8
Mingo 0.7
Lincoln 0.7
McDowell 0.7
Pleasants 0.7
Wirt 0.6
Boone 0.5
Wyoming 0.5
Webster 0.5
Doddridge 0.5

Source: Right to Start