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Secretary of State unveils BIG map

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By Marla Pisciotta

For The State Journal


A new Business Industry Growth (BIG) map shows statistics on businesses on every county in the state.

Published recently on the Secretary of State’s website, the map ranks counties’ growth on a percentage basis.

For instance, Hampshire County ranks as number one in growth in West Virginia from April 1 to May 1.

The BIG map show Hampshire County as having 721 businesses, 15 new businesses, two closed businesses, therefore growing by 1.80 percent.

Tyler County is the second on the list and Braxton County is listed as 55th.

“Hampshire didn’t have the most new business but it did have the highest percentage of growth,” said Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.

Hampshire County Commission President Steve Slonaker said he didn’t know about the map but, “it’s certainly good news.”

“I always felt Hampshire County was a good place to live and to do business. I put 30 years of my time and business in this county,” Slonaker said.

Slonaker said he thinks other entrepreneurs have decided to do the same by coming to Hampshire County.

The reason the growth is determined in percentage is that if it was done by sheer number, Kanawha would always be No. 1.

“This BIG map gives a different perspective, a more statewide view of new business information,” Tennant said.

Tennant said the map can be used to compare similar to similar counties or cities — what types of jobs have been created and why a business should consider locating in a specific area.

“These are great pieces of information,” she said. “My priority is to help businesses. This map breaks down not only county and region information, it shows what kind of jobs and what type of businesses are opening. “Users are able to search by business purpose such as coal mining, software publishers, sporting goods, or grocery stores then can see how many have registered in a particular county or city and their growth or decline.

This also allows a prospective entrepreneur to research a particular region to decide where to open his or her business.

All the data on the BIG map can be broken down by county and by city, allowing the comparison of parts of a county or regions of the state.

The interactive map is at wvsos.com, located under the business and licensing category.

“I am a small business owner,” Tennant said. “My priority is to help businesses come to the state.

“We want business to succeed in West Virginia, and this is the newest and best tool to help them do that.”