BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Judy Moore, director of the West Virginia Hive Network in Beckley, cited Kelli Harrison of Analabs, Inc. as its 2020 Small Business of the Year awardee.
Moore said companies, partners, and higher education institutions are recognized by the leadership of the West Virginia Hive annually. “While we announced these over-achievers on October 16th at the ribbon cutting ceremony of our new offices and coworking space, I believe strongly that each of these compelling organizations deserve an individual shout out before the close of 2020,” said Moore.
Harrison said “The WV Hive was able to provide much needed financial support for legal fees and for technical upgrades for our software, helping our business achieve the next type of testing we added.”
Moore encourages other companies to contact the WV Hive with their hopes and aspirations.
In 1987, Charles Thompson started Analabs to meet the analytical needs of regional laboratories. Over the years, the southern West Virginia laboratory relied heavily on the coal industry. And this market sustained them for many years, even as they navigated through the many economic downturns that plague the coal industry. Due to the most recent hit to the coal industry, Kelli Harrison, Vice President, saw a need to diversify the testing facilities. Analabs began offering drug and alcohol testing, air quality testing, and others, but still struggled to create revenue streams that were able to offset their losses in the coal industry.
As federal and state legislation was passed in the hemp and marijuana industries, Analabs wanted to become the first WV lab to offer the stringent testing needed. To begin this venture, additional equipment, software, overhead and human capital were needed. Kelli and the management team knew this needed to happen to keep the lab operating and continue employment of the 30+ employees. Due to their financial situation, moving forward was going to be difficult. Kelli explored many financing options and even pursued outside investors. Because of the many risks involved, none of these options worked out for Analabs. Through perseverance, some willing vendors, and support from the WV Hive, Kelli was able to secure the equipment, software, and training she and her team needed to begin hemp testing.
According to Cannabis Business Times, West Virginia’s hemp industry is growing fast and 2020 is expected to surpass the 1,000-acre mark. As the WV Department of Agriculture works to grow this industry in WV, the need for testing will increase. Analabs is posed to be the leader in this new industry.
Moore also recognized business and university leaders with annual West Virginia Hive awards, including:
- 2020 Social Enterprise of the Year: Appalachian Furnishings
- 2020 Business Startup of the Year: Dumas Psychology Collective & The Brain Training Center
- 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year: Alison Ibarra, Pinheads Bowling Center
- 2020 Partners of the Year: Dr. Carolyn Long, President of WVU Institute of Technology; the Region 1 Workforce Development Board; and the Beckley Presbyterian Church
- 2020 Community Advocate of the Year: Ann Worley
The West Virginia Hive has served 306 businesses and helped launch 44 businesses in its service area. It is currently assisting 79 clients with business advising and technical assistance support on business modeling, financing, human resources, marketing, and other services.
The Hive is the entrepreneurship program of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority and the administrator of the Country Roads Angel Network. More information about the West Virginia Hive can be found at https://wvhive.com/.