The Value Chain Cluster (VC2) Initiative provides hands-on business development and coaching services to strengthen local food and farm businesses interested in expanding and seizing new opportunities. The core strategy of the program is to build resilient food and farm businesses that create real jobs throughout West Virginia by growing, buying, moving and consuming local foods.
VC2 works with groups and regional organizations located in four multi-county clusters, covering 17 counties or about a third of West Virginia. They accomplish this work by collaborating with partners and local lead organizations to advance a network of businesses, experts, and services providers.
Since their business is working with people, they’ve intentionally created an organization that is flexible and can respond to almost any business need. They grant technical assistance, specifically services/ expertise via staff coaches or contracted experts, and access to capital, while fostering new sales connections and building a supportive network of these businesses across the state.
Each staff member works part-time for the Value Chain Cluster Initiative. They spend the other portion of their time working for their own or other’s food and farm business. This explains why they’re so passionate about the value of local food and agriculture, creating jobs, and improving health in West Virginia.
Whether the client is a small growers’ cooperative, a network of organizations wanting to develop a distribution loop or an economic development authority seeking to expand into this growing sector, the VC2 team works their clients to focus projects, determine next steps and identify experts and resources to assist. During the entire process, the staff member remains available and in contact with the business to ensure that the business is getting what it needs.