Website Development Program Application

In March 2020 when the COVID-19 shutdown started, the Bluefield WV Economic Development Authority (BEDA) looked for ways to support our business community and be a resource during these challenging times.  Since then, we have been looking for ways to help our business community to recover.

 

In January of 2021, BEDA started conducting a Local Business Website Study which tracked 80+ businesses physically located in the City of Bluefield and found that among them, 43% did not have a website, and 35% had poor quality or minimally functional websites.  As a result, BEDA applied for a Rural Business Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish the MyBluefield Website Development Program (also known as “MyBluefield WDP”).

 

The MyBluefield WDP aims to provide up to 25 businesses physically located within the City of Bluefield with an updated online presence as well as training and technical assistance to ensure website longevity, potential job creation, and future sustainability. The goal of this program is to accommodate the trend of mass digitalization and provide Bluefield businesses with the resources to meet their customers’ needs – especially online.

5 businesses will receive a new e-commerce website with basic functionality, 10 will receive a new informational/static website, and 10 will receive updates to their already existing website.

In order to participate in the program, each applicant must submit an application and:

  • Attend or designate a staff member to attend all pre/post program training with BEDA staff and the website developer/designer.

  • Financially contribute towards the development or update of their website. (The Grant is not intended to cover 100% of the development costs, participants will be required to cover the cost of their domain and webpage hosting; we have estimated this to average $260 per year for these services.)

  • Contribute to the creation of the website by providing original and high-resolution (good-quality) photos, videos, and copy.

  • Consider enrolling and completing BEDA’s online Entrepreneur’s Bootcamp and/or Business Expansion classes while participating in the MyBluefield WDP program. This step is not required but is recommended.

The following entities are eligible for this program:

  • New Businesses in the City of Bluefield

  • Existing Businesses in the City of Bluefield

The following are not eligible for this program:

  • Non-profit organizations

  • Entities outside of the City of Bluefield City Limits

 

This application is for consideration for MyBluefield WDP program participation. Once the applications are submitted, they will be reviewed by a selection committee. Once the application is received, BEDA staff will notify each applicant that the submittal has been received and the status of their applications. 

ALL APPLICATIONS ARE DUE BY 4:30 PM ON OCTOBER 1, 2021.

If additional information is needed while the applications are being reviewed, BEDA staff will reach out to individual applicants.

Business Owners and/or a designated employee must attend or have a designated employee attend pre/post program training which consists of the following:

  • Two Pre-Training sessions will be instructed by BEDA staff consisting of ~1 instructional hour each covering topics like what makes a good website, design thinking for websites, creating a site map, and a hands-on brainstorming session

  • Post-Training will be completed by the design firm. There will be 2-3 sessions (the third session is for participants that will receive an e-commerce site) held to ensure the participants have the tools and education needed to update their website on their own.

 

Optional sessions may be attended by the business owner and/or the designated employee which consists of the following:

  • Two Individual work sessions instructed by BEDA staff to meet with accepted applicants. These sessions would be 1.5-instructional hours each with BEDA staff to assist in planning website copy and components. These sessions are on an as-needed basis either in-person or through Zoom.

  • Post-Training with BEDA staff. Program Participants would meet with BEDA staff 6-12 months post-program implementation to cover any additional questions or review training components. This training is on an as-needed basis.

 

BEDA will require a follow-up, either in person or Zoom, to survey each business owner on program implementation and review.

By continuing to the application, you are confirming you have read and understand the eligiblity criteria above

The following button will take you to an external link to complete the application