Best Businesses to Start in West Virginia

Ready to start a business in West Virginia? We can help you form your dream business in just minutes. 

Starts at $0 + state fees and only takes 5-10 minutes

Excellent 4.8 out of 5 stars 15,756 reviews

The Mountain State has a diverse economy and a history of leadership in natural resources and industry.

We’ve helped many entrepreneurs form new businesses. Many start out with a successful business idea, but others need a little guidance. That’s where we come in. This article lists and describes the most profitable business ideas in West Virginia. However, the best small business for you to start in West Virginia is the one that matches your skills and interests.

The Most Profitable Small Business Ideas in West Virginia

When you’re starting out as a new business owner, you may wonder, What is the best business to start in West Virginia? Our business experts researched the many types of businesses available, and these are our picks for the best business ideas in West Virginia.

Idea #1: Energy

West Virginia is the country’s second-largest coal producer and the seventh-largest natural gas producer. As one of the first states in the region to create drilling regulations, the state has clear rules to protect the environment, landowners, and the industry’s interests.

Finally, the state’s Office of Energy offers support through free assessments, training, and technical assistance to help your energy business improve productivity, maximize energy efficiency, and reduce waste. The state’s benefits in this sector qualify it as the best of West Virginia business.

Idea #2: Forestry and Forest Products

West Virginia has 11.9 million forested acres that generate $3.2 billion annually for the state’s economy. It’s the third most forested state in the country. Each of West Virginia’s counties contributes to the wood industry. In addition to loggers, sawmills, and dry kilns, you might consider wood products manufacturing businesses (such as rustic rail fence producers), veneer plants, furniture parts producers, kitchen cabinets, and other wooden furniture.

Idea #3: Information Technology

West Virginia’s technology industry provides $2.5 billion to the state’s economy. Called the Silicon Valley of America’s biometrics activity, West Virginia houses several federal agencies and high-tech federal operations — including 25 satellite federal operations and two of the three federal biometric centers.

The state also boasts an excess of graduate IT students. Further, the state passed House Bill 4621 during the 2020 Legislative Session. This allows new businesses to test an innovative financial product or service for 24 months without paying licensing fees. So you may want to consider starting a business in cybersecurity, cloud services, data centers, or biosciences.

Idea #4: Tourism

Many West Virginians refer to their state as “almost heaven” thanks to John Denver and the state’s abundant natural beauty, picturesque towns, and friendly population. One of the state’s largest industries, tourism contributed $4.27 billion to the state’s economy in 2010.

Visitors travel to the state for its outdoor recreation, including rock climbing, whitewater rafting, hiking, backpacking, hunting, and fishing. The state is also home to many historic and cultural attractions, including Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, located at the approximate midpoint of the Appalachian Trail. Most importantly, the West Virginia Tourism Development Act offers tax credits for new tourism businesses.

Why these are the best small businesses to start in West Virginia

We chose these sectors and industries as good businesses to start in West Virginia because they leverage West Virginia’s:

  • Financial and tax incentives — West Virginia provides aggressive development assistance through tax credits and financing programs. The state eliminated the business franchise tax in 2015 and reduced the corporate net income tax rate in 2014, reducing the business tax burden by $800 million over the past 8 years. 
  • Small business resources and support — The West Virginia Development Office and West Virginia University’s “West Virginia Forward” program offers programs and training opportunities to support new businesses and entrepreneurs, including grants for women to start a business in West Virginia.
  • Human Capital — 14% of West Virginia’s college graduates have STEM-related degrees. West Virginia’s workforce had the lowest manufacturing turnover rate in the country, and all other workforce categories had lower turnover rates than the national average.
  • Location — close to supply hubs, distribution bases, and customer markets. West Virginia is within a day’s drive of half the U.S. population and a third of the Canadian market and has five navigable rivers to connect to international shipping ports.

While these are important factors to consider when deciding on your business idea, the best business in West Virginia for you to start is the one that you’re passionate about. It takes a lot to maintain a lucrative business, so choose the type of business that you’ll enjoy. Think about your business plan and the business skills you already have. Then, choose something that fits you and your interests.

Best Cities in West Virginia for Starting a Business

Once you have your idea, your next question might be what’s the best place to start a business in West Virginia? These cities have a wide range of business opportunities:

  • Charleston
  • Huntington
  • Morgantown
  • Parkersburg
  • Wheeling
  • Weirton
  • Fairmont
  • Martinsburg

If you’ve found your match and are ready to open the best small business in West Virginia, let us help. When you use our Business Formation Services, we’ll guide you through registering your West Virginia limited liability company or West Virginia corporation. If you need help choosing the right business structure, visit our page to compare business structures

Why Form Your Business with Us

When you’ve chosen the best business for you to start in West Virginia, we can help. In addition to our Business Formation Services that can help you form your business quickly and easily, we offer continuous support throughout the lifetime of your business. When you use our business products and services, like our Worry-Free Compliance Service, you can rest easy knowing our team of business experts is working for you. We’ll organize your important documents on your business dashboard, send you reminders of important deadlines, and send specially-curated guidance for every stage of your business.


  • In recent years, West Virginia has focused on improving its workforce, business climate, entrepreneurship, and infrastructure. Among the recent improvements are regulatory reforms that promote fairness and efficiency and a reduction in business taxes. Finally, the state has one of the lowest costs of living in the nation.

  • West Virginia business owners can plug into local support groups, like WV SBDC, the West Virginia Development Office, and West Virginia University’s “West Virginia Forward” program. These groups offer mentoring, training, and education for new entrepreneurs wanting to grow their companies.

  • When you open a franchise location, you join a business with an established reputation and client base. However, the franchise opportunities available will vary at any given point in time. So be sure to research franchise options in the area you’re interested in when you’re ready to apply.

  • You can usually start an online business with a small amount of funding. Consider online sales, homemade crafts, or transcription services. Don’t forget that your business will likely need to apply for local business licenses, even if you’re operating out of your home.

  • The best home-based business is one that uses your existing resources. Some ideas include blogging, podcasting, or high-end clothing resale.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

zenbusiness logo

Written by Team ZenBusiness

Best Businesses to start in each state

Ready to start a business? More leading business idea's listed by state.

Start Your West Virginia LLC