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SPEAKER:  Hannah Vargason, Natural Capital Investment Fund

TOPIC:  “The Non-Traditional Lender’s Approach to Finance”

PRESENTATION:  Small businesses and entrepreneurs will learn about various funding/financing options and non-financial resources they can use to start, expand or sustain their business.  They will learn about lender and investor risk, and what forms of capital may be available to them and under what conditions.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Ms. Vargason is the Business Development Manager at Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF), which lends to businesses, agricultural enterprises, and non-profits so they can grow, create jobs, and contribute to environmental and human health in underserved communities in central Appalachia and the Southeast.

Ms. Vargason manages outreach and technical assistance services, develops products and services for strategic initiatives, and sources and underwrites loans, working with a regional network of service providers and capital and funding sources. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Bright Community Capital, with a mission of driving more solar energy investments in low-income areas, as well as the steering committee for the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Women’s Network.

Ms. Vargason has a Master of Public Policy from the College of William and Mary, and a BA in Economics and Anthropology from Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia. Ms. Vargason lives in her native western Maryland and works out of NCIFund’s Shepherdstown, West Virginia headquarters.

ABOUT EASTERN PANHANDLE ENTREPRENEURS FORUM (EPEF):  The Eastern Panhandle Entrepreneurs Forum is a non-profit organization comprised of individuals from within the business and technical community to promote the formation and growth of innovative new businesses.  The EPEF is a chapter of the West Virginia Entrepreneurs Forum at West Virginia University.  Typical quarterly meetings include networking with a variety of business professionals including venture capitalists, private investors, industry experts, business service providers, inventors, and other successful entrepreneurs.  In addition, a presentation on a topic of interest to entrepreneurs is also on the program.  The EPEF is based on the premise that the future economic vitality of our region must come from the emergence of new businesses through entrepreneurship.  In order for this to occur, there must be an entrepreneurial culture, a pool of resources to draw from, and successful models to follow.  It is our hope that the EPEF can provide the critical mass necessary to create this mindset and attract these resources to our region.  The Eastern Panhandle Entrepreneurs Forum is a collaboration between Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties.

WHEN and WHERE: The EPEF meets quarterly on the first Thursday of the month in February, May, August and November and rotates between the three counties in the Eastern Panhandle at various locations.  The events are FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC and start at 5:30 pm with refreshments and networking followed by the program at 6:00 pm.

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Exhibitor tables are available for area businesses to showcase their business offerings.

For more information, or to reserve an exhibitor’s table, contact Lori Taylor at the Berkeley County Development Authority, at 304.267.4144 or


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