There are a handful of creative economy pioneers in West Virginia who are still going strong. Scot Jackson and his Dreamcatcher web services firm, launched in Charleston in 1996, are certainly among those who have blazed the high-tech trail within this industry segment.
Scot and his growing staff were profiled in the Charleston Gazette-Mail. We're also pleased to note that Dreamcatcher was selected to re-design the createwv.com web site, which (fingers crossed) should be completed this fall to enhance our ability to stay connected and share new economy best practices and ideas across the state.
Scot is also a major supporter of West Virginia's creative economy growth and finding ways to hire great local talent. "The push for creative business is a good thing. Most [local creative talent] want to stay," he said. "We try to figure out a way to use them."
There are creative, web-centric businesses like Dreamcatcher popping up all over West Virginia, some in places many would not expect. For example, Matterhorn Marketing, an Internet search engine optimization and marketing firm focused on the tourism industry, is based in Hico.
The beauty of these growing businesses is their ability to locate themselves almost anywhere and serve markets within West Virginia and beyond. The major growth inhibitors aren't necessarily tax related or legal climate (although we certainly agree those need work); it is the ability to find or attract the creative talent required to fuel these businesses. That's why Create WV and others are championing West Virginia's need to improve and market our "quality of place," those tangible and intangible characteristics that make a place attractive for young talent to thrive.
With this model, the economic development slogan shifts somewhat to "build it and they will come" to "they (creative entrepreneurs) will come and build it."