James Rumsey expands Small Business Assistance Center

James Rumsey Technical Institute’s Company Lab Entrepreneurship Center is expanding their programming due to the increasing demand of individuals seeking business assistance in the Eastern Panhandle.

The JRTI Company Lab pilot program, which was launched in 2021 as part of the Statewide WV Education Entrepreneurship Collaborative, continues to grow.

A kick off date of February 2024 has been set to launch a new 10-week evening program as well as adding monthly workshops for individuals seeking guidance and education relating to business start-up and growth.

The JRTI Company Lab is now a part of the nationwide CO.STARTERS® network and will offer a variety of new classes.

“We are thrilled to officially be part of the CO.STARTERS® network and expand our educational offerings. The Eastern Panhandle continues to grow at a rapid pace. In 2023, Jefferson, Morgan and Berkeley Counties each had over 17% business growth rate and collectively had 2,140 new businesses registered. James Rumsey Technical Institute continues to provide relevant, affordable, quality education to our communities and now also to those looking to start or grow a business here,” said Betsy Heath, JRTI Entrepreneurship Instructor/Facilitator.

Funding for the new program was provided, in part, by the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation.

JRTI Company Lab was the recipient of the Berkeley County Industrial Park Development Fund grant award of $4,970 for the 2023-2024 school year. The grant funding will provide a limited number of scholarships for Eastern Panhandle residents enrolling in the new program.

“James Rumsey Technical Institute is excited to expand our evening programs and offer more frequent business workshops. JRTI has been a leader in training innovators and individuals for the workforce for over 50 years, so it is a natural progression that we are now also training those individuals to open their own businesses in our communities,” said Donna Van Metre, James Rumsey Director/Principal.

A new Assistant Instructor position has also recently been created and Martinsburg resident, Dakari (Doc) Williams has joined the team. Having a background in business consulting, mentorship and technology, Williams has enthusiastically begun working with clients and ramping up the website and database management.

“This program is a cutting edge example of small business programs in the State and I’m so happy to be a part of the growth and expansion,” he said.

To learn about all entrepreneurship resources at James Rumsey, visit our website