FOR decades, state government's economic development efforts in West Virginia have concentrated on public money, often investing in projects that had less than solid business plans.
Was a payphone company really a good idea at the dawn of the cellphone revolution?
On Wednesday, the state took a step toward a better plan as Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced the formation of an Angel Fund, in which private investors pool their money together to help new and expanding businesses.
These investors will provide the seed corn that will provide the next crop in commerce.
Other states have had good results with similar funds.
At its website, the Angel Fund outlines the four things investors seek:
n Companies should have products/services with clear and strong intellectual property protection (patent protection) of specific features that competitors do not have and cannot copy easily.
n Companies are entering a competitive environment where existing products/services do not solve significant problems that buyers want solved — for instance, the cost of existing products may be considered prohibitive for many buyers.