Strong Mountain Communities, a branch of Coalfield Development focused on the economic health and well-being of southern West Virginia, has launched its first ever WV Good Jobs Pitch Contest.

The contest is designed to launch at least 10 new businesses in southern West Virginia, ultimately providing new jobs for the state.

The contest is divided into five business categories, each of which is likely to have a role in the future of southern West Virginia’s economy: agriculture and natural resources use (including post-mine use), S.T.E.M., lifestyle and innovation, manufacturing, and community impact (non-profits and social enterprises). Winners in each category will receive awards of $10,000 and $5,000 for first and second place.

“The hope is that, as the pitch contest continues on an annual basis, entrepreneurs and small businesses will find the financial and technical resources they need to thrive, while investors and fund managers realize the incredible growth and potential of southern West Virginia,” said Zach Drennen of Strong Mountain Communities.

The pitch contest is the center of the WV Good Jobs Conference which will take place November 6-8 at Beckley’s Tamarack Cultural Center. The conference includes various business industry awards, round-table discussions focused on business financing and post-mine land use, and numerous workshops around entrepreneurial training, business funding, policy and research. The conference will also draw attention to the many entrepreneurial activities in the state that would interest capitol investors, loan funds, banks and other financial organizations.

The cash award business development program is designed to encourage and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of West Virginians. The portal for the WV Good Jobs Pitch Contest is open and is online at