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West Virginia small business profile

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This SmalBusiness.com Local Project entry provides a overview of small business activities in West Virginia. You can find information about a wide array of small business resources in West Virginia at the West Virginia Hub.

West Virginia Small Business Profile - In West Virginia, small businesses are vital to the financial well-being of the state’s economy. Their contribution is essential for economic growth since they make up almost all employer firms in the state. As entrepreneurs and innovators, small business owners represented a diverse group in 2004 and continued to keep the state’s economy productive. The Small Business Profile provides information on the performance of small businesses in the state using the most current federal data available. This Small Business Profile was prepared by the U.S. Small Business Administration and provides information on the performance of small businesses in the state using the most current federal data available.

Number of Businesses

There were an estimated 119,806 small businesses in West Virginia in 2004. Of the 36,830 firms with employees, an estimated 96.7 percent, or 35,621, were small firms. In 2004, the estimated number of employer businesses decreased by .08 percent. The number of self-employed persons (including incorporated) decreased overall by 15.3 percent, from 69,878 in 2003 to 59,196 in 2004. Non-employer businesses numbered 84,185 in 2002, an increase of 1.7 percent since 2001, based on the most recent data available.
(Sources: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employment and Training Administration; U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau; U.S. Dept of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Women-Owned Businesses

In 2002 women-owned firms totaled 31,302, an increase of 4 percent from 1997, and generated $3.3 billion in revenues. Firms owned jointly by women and men numbered 12,518 with revenues of $2.8 billion. Women represented 29 percent of the self-employed persons in the state.
(Sources: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau.)

Minority-Owned Businesses

In 2002, Hispanic-owned firms numbered 664, a decrease of 29 percent from 1997. Black-owned firms numbered 1,475, an increase of 28 percent; Asian-owned firms numbered 1,236, an increase of 0.08 percent; American Indian and Alaska Native-owned firms numbered 405, a decrease of 60 percent; and there were 11 Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander-owned businesses.
(Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau.)

Business Turnover

There were an estimated 3,937 new employer businesses in 2004, 4.6 percent less than the previous year. Business terminations numbered 5,136 in 2004, a decrease of 7.5 percent. Business bankruptcies decreased by 14.8 percent and totaled 247 in 2004.
(Sources: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employment and Training Administration; Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts; U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau.)


Small firms with fewer than 500 employees numbered 31,597 in 2002 and employed 302,598 individuals, or 53.9 percent of the state’s non-farm private sector. Net job gains among firms with fewer than 20 employees totaled 4,126, while large firms with 500 or more employees created 4,669 jobs between 2001 and 2002.
(Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau, Statistics of U.S. Businesses.)

Small Business Income

Non-farm proprietors’ income, a partial measure of small business income, increased by 3.7 percent, from $2.9 billion in 2002 to $3 billion in 2003.
(Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce.)


Commercial bank lenders are an important source of small business loans, and small firms usually rely on them for financing. Over the last 10 years the number of banks in West Virginia has declined. The Office of Advocacy has identified banks in each state that make the most loans to small businesses. This information is available in its banking studies at http://www.sba.gov/advo/research/lending.html.

See also