The importance of small-scale manufacturing for West Virginia’s economy was highlighted at the “Made Right Here” Summit, June 20 – 21, 2004, in Charleston.
The two-day event convened more than 150 small-scale manufacturers, economic developers, practitioners and policy makers in interactive panel discussions, with audience participation. The panels focused on a variety of issues, from the basics of small-scale manufacturing marketing, to policy issues (taxation, health care, etc.), services, product markets, and developing communities where small-scale manufacturing can survive and thrive. Caroline Carpenter, program director for Food Systems and Rural Development programming at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, participated at the summit as a moderator for the policy session. The summit served as a networking event for businesses, providing them the opportunity to meet service providers and other small-scale manufactures for the first time.
The “Made Right Here” Summit saw tremendous success and laid the groundwork for continued discussions focusing on small-scale manufacturing, noted Marilyn Harrell, Director of Planning, Marketing & Development for the Center for Economic Options, a Charleston, West Virginia –based non profit organization that provides small-scale manufacturers market access and assistance.
Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-WV, hosted the summit in partnership with the Discover the REAL West Virginia Foundation, and, the Center for Economic Options.
The Center for Economic Options also sponsors Showcase West Virginia, an innovative access-to-markets program serving small-scale enterprises. Its 2,400 square foot retail store features the products of 280 rural, West Virginia businesses. For more information on the Center for Economic Options, visit their Web site at www.centerforeconomicoptions.org.