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.
About CRAN: A non-profit corporation based in Beckley and serving all 55 counties of the Mountain State, CRAN offers emerging businesses early stage, seed funding to bring their creations to market. CRAN’s investment services are possible through a startup grant from the U.S. Economic Development Authority, with support from the One Foundation, Massey Family Foundation, Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, and the Charlottesville Angel Network. CRAN is administered by the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority’s WV Hive and has recruited qualified investors to evaluate, invest in, and mentor individual startup businesses. CRAN completes the NRGRDA ecosystem of innovation and health, attracting a new economy to a region of boundless natural beauty and possibilities. https://www.wvcran.com/.