Financial uncertainty. It’s something we all face at one point or another. With the COVID-19 crisis and small business shortages across West Virginia, instilling financial confidence in the hearts and minds of the state’s mountain communities has grown bleak.
Host, Jim Matuga, sat down with Scott Werdebaugh, Owner of Integrity Financial Planning; Stephen Rogers, Commercial Insurance Producer at Blue Ridge Risk Partners; Sharon Werdebaugh, Owner of Your Talent Team; and Sarah Biller, Executive Director of Vantage Ventures.
Financial uncertainty in West Virginia has been affected by a number of factors, not the least of which includes the Russian-Ukraine invasion.
“World trade has primarily been in U.S. dollars since World War II,” said Scott Werdebaugh. “Whether we like it or not, Oil is the predominant currency in the world. We’re passed the point of cheap oil. [Putin] understands that.”
According to Werdebaugh, riffing from the movie Draft Day, we aren’t living in the same world we did 30 seconds ago. As a result, the panelists cite creativity in marketing, business, and onshore recruitment strategies––something West Virginia is doing unprecedentedly well at.
“What is going on in West Virginia that’s enabling us to lead the nation in reshoring of talent and capabilities in manufacturing,” continued Sarah Biller, “Data Robots is a beautiful example of what it means to be in West Virginia. In San Fransico, Boston, Mumbai, Tokyo, and now Morgantown.”
Why has a globally significant tech startup stationed itself in West Virginia amid a global pandemic? In a word, community and deep commitment. Trust is the single most crucial element of any successful business.
In the face of global financial uncertainty, West Virginians are consistently trustworthy.
“Where can we find the next generation of data scientists?” Posed Biller. “[The CEO of Data Robots] saw it in West Virginians. We think critically and pragmatically”
Another aspect of rekindling financial certainty in small businesses across the state is recruitment.
“[I’m] trying to get the talent to return here, that had been here and then left,” said Sharon Werdebaugh. “I run into some unique challenges trying to spread these positive messages that the manufacturers are seeing.”
Ironically, big manufacturing companies have seen the potential of our state––and the locals have considered venturing away for bigger and better opportunities. While potentially unique to West Virginia, it is a problem worth solving.
Financial certainty starts at home, and it will take a village––albeit a mountainous one. To follow the panelists’ stories and to learn more about each company, visit www.ifppro.com, www.blueridgeriskpartners.com, www.yourtalentteam.com, and www.vantageventures.io.