Committee Substitute House Bill 4643 History

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HB4643 SUB


H. B. 4643

(By Delegates Webster, Spencer, Palumbo, Moore,

Marshall, Hatfield, Hutchins and Brown)

(Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary)

[February 25, 2008]

A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §5B-2-15, relating to minority business development; requiring the West Virginia Development Office to pursue the establishment of an office within the West Virginia Development Office or the Department of Commerce to promote and support the establishment and growth of minority owned businesses in this state; setting forth goals and objectives; and requiring a report to the West Virginia Legislature.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §5B-2-15 , to read as follows:

§5B-2-15. Pursuing the establishment of the "West Virginia Minority Business Office"; goals and objectives; and reporting requirement. (a) The West Virginia Legislature finds:
(1) Small businesses are an essential part of West Virginia's economy;
(2) Many barriers and obstacles exist to starting a small business;
(3) Prospective small business owners often require access to reliable and accurate information and advice pertaining to the formation or expansion of a small business, to help them forecast their business needs, develop sustainable business plans, seek and obtain adequate financing, and mentor them as they face challenges associated with a new or expanding business;
(4) The success of a small business is enhanced by the improved access to reliable information and advice;
(5) In order to strengthen the economic growth of West Virginia and to respond to changing jobs markets, West Virginia seeks to attract new businesses and enterprises of all sizes into this state, from a variety of fields;
(6) Several of the established and emerging businesses which are currently located in this state or are interested in locating to this state are seeking to partner or contract with businesses of all types, including minority-owned and minority-operated businesses;
(7) Minorities are presently underrepresented in the small business community in West Virginia;
(8) There are extensive resources tailored to mentor and support the development of minority-owned and -operated businesses in other states which are not comparably available in West Virginia;
(9) While federal grant programs are presently available to fund the establishment and maintenance of non-profit groups and independent agencies focused on the offering of additional training, mentoring, technical support and advice to businesses owned by women, similar federal funding is not currently available to support such entities for minority-owned businesses; and,
(10) The State of West Virginia as a whole would benefit from the development of additional resources designed to promote the establishment and support of a stronger and more successful minority-owned business community.
(b) In light of the above, the West Virginia Legislature hereby directs the West Virginia Development Office to study and report on the need to establish a focused office, to be contained within the West Virginia Development Office or the Division of Commerce, for the primary purpose and objectives of promoting and advancing the needs of minority businesses in this state.
(c) In conducting this preliminary study, the West Virginia Development Office shall develop a program and recommendations as to how the State of West Virginia can accomplish the following goals and objectives:
(1) Promote, develop and advance the business prosperity and economic welfare of the State of West Virginia and its citizens;
(2) Encourage and assist through loans, investments or other business transactions in the locating of new minority-owned or minority-operated business and industry within the State;
(3) Rehabilitate and assist existing minority-owned or minority-operated business and industries;
(4)Stimulate and promote the expansion of all kinds of minority-owned or minority-operated business and industrial activity, which will in turn advance business and industrial development and maintain the economic stability of the State;
(5) Identify businesses, resources and programs both inside and outside of state government which are available to assist, support and mentor the development and growth of minority-owned businesses.
(6) Identify the sources of potential financing that are available to support the establishment or expansion of minority- owned businesses, both through traditional bank loans, mitigated options through banks, federal or state guaranteed loan programs through both in-state and out-of-state banking institutions, micro loans programs offered through federal or state agencies, or other available sources;
(7) Provide support and technical advice and assistance, through the Department of Commerce's Small Business Division, to existing and prospective small minority business owners, with respect to the preparation and submission of applications for financing by persons seeking to establish or expand a minority- owned business in this state;
(8) Promote and seek the establishment of a minority business council in this state, either as a stand-alone facility, or by partnership with an existing minority business council located in a neighboring state, to help identify West Virginia minority-owned businesses and to establish additional mentoring and support opportunities for minority-owned business owners in this state; and,
(9) Improve coordination between banks, agencies and existing programs and resources that are available to prepare and process loans for necessary infrastructure, equipment, working capital requirements and other financial needs of new or expanding minority-owned businesses.
(d) On or before the fifteenth day of January, two thousand nine, the West Virginia Development Office shall submit a report to the Legislature's Joint Committee on Government and Finance regarding the progress which has been made to establish, promote or expand minority-owned businesses in the state. As a part of that report, the Development Office shall identify the resources that presently exist in the West Virginia to promote and support the growth and development of minority-owned business, and recommend identify or propose additional programs or resources that are needed to further their development. As a part of that report, the West Virginia Development Office shall recommend how the goals and objectives set forth above can best be satisfied, and make recommendations as to how the efforts to provide minority business support can be better coordinated and centralized. Finally, the West Virginia Development Office shall identify the additional resources that are required to fully develop a centralized office and comprehensive program that is primarily or exclusively dedicated to the promotion and development of minority business ownership in this state.

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