Kimball, W.Va. (November 6, 2023) – Peter S. Corum, owner of SEE Appalachia, LLC, earned second place in the recent Pitch Southern West Virginia Business Idea Competition with his multi-faceted concept of developing much-needed affordable housing in Kimball. His business plan resonated with the judges and live audience and yielded him an award valued at $2,500.
Now, Corum is gearing up to allocate the award funds toward the acquisition of business insurance, creating a digital presence, and expanding his content. He said the technical assistance offered by the WV Hive – who coordinated the pitch competition in partnership with the West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) Launch Lab — will be instrumental in streamlining the setup of the company’s accounting and human resource systems while refining his business plan.
SEE Appalachia is developing an open-source financing and training model for building and remodeling affordable housing in McDowell County and other communities. His initial project in Kimball would develop four housing units.
Corum credited the WV Hive for its overall counsel and for steering him to resources of the Communities of Healing program, a recovery to work initiative created in southern West Virginia. “This milestone wouldn’t have been possible without the valuable insights and exposure gained from participating in the Communities of Healing Investment Lab Cohort,” said Corum, who resides in Shepherdstown. “The lab validated and energized my goal of helping people in the community while achieving my business goals.”
Corum has been spending time collaborating with leaders in McDowell County, including Kimball Mayor Adam Gianato; Jason Tartt, owner of Appalachian Gold; and Professor Crystal Cook Marshall, new owner of the Big 4 Motel. “These folks were pivotal in SEE Appalachia’s focus of starting our business in the Town of Kimball and potentially utilizing the shuttered 99,000-square-foot Walmart building,” he said. “SEE Appalachia is now on a footing to manufacture affordable homes, while embracing at-risk community members and future homeowners in collaboration with local, state, and national governments, and non-profit partners.
Corum invites community members interested in the project to reach out to him and share their community knowledge and skills.
Presentations of community and student business ideas were presented October 12 on the campus of WVU Tech. Judges for the evening’s competition included:
- Ryan Thorn, State Director, West Virginia, Rural Development, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Dr. Scott Fleming, Dean, College of Business, Humanities and Social Sciences, WVU Tech
- Connor Golden, Business Banking Portfolio Manager, United Bank
- Christopher R. Vaught, President and CEO, Vaught, Inc.
Entries were open to residents and businesses located in Raleigh, Fayette, Nicholas, Summers, Webster, Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Monroe, Mercer, Wyoming, McDowell, Logan and Mingo Counties and WVU Tech students, faculty and staff. Businesses being pitched are required to be new start-ups or in operation for less than three years.
Funds for the awards were contributed by private sponsors, including United Bank and the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (gold sponsors) and Stephens Auto and WV Auto Buyers (silver sponsor). All sponsorship funds are provided to the contestants as winnings.
SEE Appalachia LLC is devoted to the manufacturing of affordable homes by tapping into the potential of at-risk members of the community. By forming meaningful alliances with local, state, and national entities, as well as nonprofits and individuals dreaming of homeownership, SEE Appalachia is weaving a tapestry of community empowerment and housing accessibility.
Contact: Peter S. Corum, Founder, SEE Appalachia, (304) 283-2467, firstname.lastname@example.org
The WV Hive is the entrepreneurship program of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority. More information about the WV Hive can be found at wvhive.com