Eastern WV Community and Technical College created the Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship and Economic Development to lead local and regional initiatives that impact Eastern’s entrepreneurship programs and community economic development.
Organized under the auspices of Eastern’s 501 (c) (3) Foundation, IREED works to implement a holistic, comprehensive approach to entrepreneurship and economic development by initiating and supporting institutional, community and student development initiatives. Both the Eastern Foundation Board and the College's Board of Governors endorse IREED's mission and work.
IREED will serve as the liaison with regional, state and national governments, businesses and other nonprofit organizations that support economic and entrepreneurship development.
IREED's purpose is to develop and sustain relationships with internal and external stakeholders, and provide a collective strategy for building institutional and community capital for economic and entrepreneurship development.
All of the accomplishments and goals identified need a structured Institute for sustaining momentum and leadership.
IREED’s ultimate, long-terms goals are two-fold:
- To serve as an economic development multiplier by initiating, accelerating and launching economic development and entrepreneurship activities in the region; and
- To become a research center on methods to increase economic development and entrepreneurship opportunities in rural and farming communities in West Virginia and beyond.
A grant sponsored by the Coleman Foundation and awarded by the National Association for Community Colleges Entrepreneurship (NACCE), will provide Eastern with resources to establish the Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (IREED) in the Potomac HIghlands.
Under the leadership of an Institute Consultant/Director, the College foresees the development of Entrepreneurial Techlabs at Potomac Highlands career and technical centers in Petersburg, Keyser and Hambleton. At these labs, students would learn, and community entrepreneurs will develop and practice entrepreneurial principles and skills.
Plans also call for the launch of an Entrepreneurship Accelerator Boot Camp (E-ABC) weekend program where adults and high school students will explore the practical steps and realistic pathways towards entrepreneurial activity.
Larger and longer-term Institute goals include working with the Potomac Highlands Economic Development and Education Partnership (PHEDEP) to find additional financial support for Institute projects from area banks and lending firms. The Director will also reach out to large companies, manufacturers and government contractors who might donate or provide at-cost equipment to IREED for new and emerging technologies.
Through its partnership with the College, the Institute will develop research capability on methods to increase economic development and entrepreneurship opportunities in rural and farming communities in West Virginia and beyond. It will aim to develop specialized programs and events that bolster opportunities for existing regional industries like manufacturing, energy and agriculture.
The Institute will focus also on expanding new business opportunities in areas that offer significant, although largely unexplored, regional economic development potential, in areas such as arts and culture, technology and tourism.
Of 37 colleges that applied for the grant, only 11 won a NACCE/Coleman award at NACCE’s October 2013 annual conference in Charlotte, NC.
“We are tremendously grateful to the generosity of NACCE and the Coleman Foundation for this award,” said Charles ‘Chuck’ Terrell, Eastern’s president, and one of a three-person team that made the successful proposal to NACCE at the 2013 annual conference.
“We see the Institute as a grand partnership among the college and the communities, schools, businesses, financial institutions and entrepreneurial individuals of Eastern’s six-county service district.”
Read more about IREED at "Eastern’s ‘NewBiz Launch Pad’ To Support New Business Start-Ups".