Beckley, W.Va. (Oct. 31, 2022) – Country Roads Angel Network (CRAN) will host its annual meeting starting at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, at the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center at the West Virginia High Technology Park in Fairmont. Highlights include a keynote address by Brandon Dennison, CEO of Coalfield Development Corporation and architect of the Appalachian Climate Technology (ACT) Now Coalition, as well as three investment opportunity pitches from West Virginia entrepreneurs.
Judy Moore, president of CRAN and deputy director of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, said early-stage capital is one of the most significant barriers to new business start-ups and expansions. “Although the Country Roads Angel Network was established only a few years ago, its accredited investors have already allocated nearly $800,000 direct investment, with an additional $6.5 million raised in matching capital, to five Mountain State companies that are thriving,” said Moore.
She said CRAN is the Mountain State’s only accredited angel investment network making investments in all 55 counties. The five CRAN investments include Iconic Air, and Endolumik, Inc. of Morgantown; Cox Telecom of Oak Hill; Mountain Steer Meat Company of White Sulphur Springs, and Parthian Battery Solutions LLC, Moore said CRAN’s annual meeting traditionally features a West Virginia champion of entrepreneurship, and this year, Dennison, a West Virginia native and incubator of social enterprises with a passion to diversify the coal-based economy, will be the guest speaker. He has testified before Congress twice about how the Coalfield model could be used to address climate change, and recently secured nearly $63 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
Dennison, currently Entrepreneur in Residence at Marshall University, earned his B.A. in History from Shepherd University, his master’s in Public Affairs from Indiana University, and is now a Ph.D. student at West Virginia University. He is winner of the JMK Social Innovation Prize, is a DRK Entrepreneur, and is an Ashoka Fellow. In 2019, he was awarded the Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy, and Employment. In 2017, he was named West Virginian of the Year by West Virginia Living magazine.
Moore said real-world business pitches are another highlight of CRAN’s quarterly investor meetings. “We will also hear from three entrepreneurs seeking early-stage capital and hope to provide potential investor members, who have a desire to see West Virginia businesses grow, an opportunity to see first-handed through the pitches why this work and their involvement is so important,” said Moore.