VGA Implements Entrepreneurship and Small Business Initiatives

Virginia's Growth Alliance (VGA) is now in the process of implementing a comprehensive program of services to small and emerging businesses. As a result of the recommendations of the Entrepreneurship Committee of the Stronger Economies Together (SET) plan and the study highlighting the gaps in services supporting small business development by the Small Business Development Center at Longwood University, VGA is working with the Longwood Small Business Development Center, Southside Planning District Commission, Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to implement a four-pronged approach to increasing small business development throughout the region.

The four-pronged approach includes; a web portal providing access to small business services from various organizations serving the region, comprehensive education and technical assistance to small and emerging businesses, enhanced financial resources for emerging and small businesses and an aggressive marketing effort to promote these new or enhanced services.

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Free Workshop for new & existing small businesses!

Do you have a spark, a creative vision?

Want to grow that spark into a new business?

Longwood Small Business Development CenterLongwood Small Business Development Center is proud to offer an in-depth training program designed to fully educate and empower you to be successful in starting your new business or growing your existing business.

Classes will be held every Wednesday evening, 6:00p.m – 9:00 p.m., for 12 weeks at the Lawrenceville Town Municipal Building, starting October 23rd, featuring instructors skilled in marketing, finance, and business planning.

Those who successfully complete the entire training program may APPLY for BUSINESS LOANS.

This opportunity is FREE, but registration is now closed for the current session. Stay tuned for information on the next session.

CLASSES & WORKBOOKS are provided at NO COST TO YOU!

Longwood SBDC is working with the VA Tourism, VBDA, Southside VA Community College, and your local Professionals to ensure this program is successful.

Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Preparation Grant Awarded

The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Revitalization Commission at its September 27th meeting approved a grant to the Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) Foundation for training of our workers in advanced manufacturing and other technical skills. The grant in the amount of $456,756 would provide additional equipment at several SVCC locations to expand the existing technical training at those facilities.

One small but very important component of the grant award is a $40,000 initiative to develop modern curricula for advanced manufacturing occupations, specifically, welders, precision equipment operators and industrial maintenance technicians. These occupations were identified in a major study completed by Boston Consulting as being needed to support the projected employment in advanced manufacturing throughout the region.

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Virginia's Growth Alliance hires Executive Director

Jeffrey G. Reed, Executive Director of Virginia's Growth AllianceSouth Hill, VA ─ Virginia's Growth Alliance (VGA), the regional economic development organization serving Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg and Nottoway and the City of Emporia, has completed an extensive international search for its Executive Director. Jeff Reed, formally of Halifax County, VA has accepted the position and began work on October 1st.

Jeff brings extensive business development and recruitment experience to the VGA region. "His successes in major industry recruitment both nationally and internationally has proven that he has the expertise to help the region be successful" said Michael Fergusson, Board Chairman. Jeff grew up in a rural county and his family still lives on the family farm in rural West Virginia that has been in their family since 1841. He has worked in neighboring Halifax County and is very familiar with the VGA region. His economic development experience has always been in smaller, rural communities.

Jeff's previous jobs include project manager for the Industrial Development Authority of Halifax County where he successfully worked with a team that brought in 460 new jobs and saved over 800 in a 3-year period. Additionally, he was the driving force behind a successful branding initiative that included the development of a new website, logo, newsletter, tagline, and collateral materials for targeted market sectors as well increased outreach via social media. Jeff worked for five years as the Project Manager/Interim Director/Assistant Director for the Danville Office of Economic Development. While with Danville he helped to announce more than 6,700 new jobs and over $700,000,000 in new investment including Swedwood – IKEA's first US manufacturing facility, EBI, Target, Home Depot, Harley Davidson and Yorktowne, among many other manufacturing, retail and commercial projects. Jeff also is the President of his own private consultant firm. His firm was a primary and driving force behind www.mountainmade.com, a national pilot project with the Robert C Byrd National Technology Transfer Center that showcased the internet as a rural economic development tool.

Virginia's Growth Alliance is comprised of six counties and one city and is located within southeastern Virginia along the state border. It is comprised of Interstates 95 and 85 along with US Highways 360, 460 and 58 and has extensive rail service. To learn more about Virginia's Growth Alliance visit their website at www.vagrowth.com.

Building a Regional Plan for Small Business Development

Through the SET planning process, the desire to create a collaborative regional strategy for small business development was outlined. In 2012, a pilot program was started with United Virginia, a nonprofit with a goal to connect aspiring entrepreneurs with the training, connections, and resources they need to grow successful businesses in Central and Southern Virginia. This initiative has evolved into leveraging of resources to continue a training program for implementation across the region. Through a partnership with VGA, the training coordinator, Cassandra Smith, has transitioned to the Longwood Small Business Development Center.

United Virginia uses Technology to Tap Local (and Not-so-Local) Capital

United Virginia was selected by Capital One Financial Corporation to be a trustee in working together to connect Kiva lenders to entrepreneurs that they know and trust in their communities. With the impending changes in securities trading allowed by the Jobs Act, the rise of crowdsourcing, and an increased emphasis on building local economies, it's no surprise that Virginia's micro-enterprise development organizations are exploring the power of the world wide web to go local.

KivaZip allows for person to person lending. While you can't currently own part of a company, you can as an individual, can go online and provide capital to entrepreneurs who you think are playing an important role in a community.

Bruce from Southside Mortgage in South Hill, VAIn South Hill, mortgage broker Bruce used a KivaZip loan to grow his business. Bruce tapped KivaZip after enrolling in United Virginia's entrepreneurship course. United Virginia endorsed his loan application for investment in Southside Mortgage Corporation. In addition to the partnership through a micro-enterprise development organization, an important element of KivaZip is the entrepreneur's story. This is what connects people to the aspirations of the business owner and the community benefits of the business. Here is an excerpt of Bruce's story.

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Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Expands Colocation

New high-bandwidth sites now established in Washington, DC and Richmond, VA

Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC), a successful wholesale open-access network transport provider, announced today its network expansion in the mid-Atlantic region with connections in Washington and Richmond, Virginia.

MBC has expanded the reach of its advanced open-access transport network with new Points of Presence (POP) locations at the CoreSite data center at 1275 K Street in Washington, DC and the QTS data center at 6000 Technology Boulevard, Richmond, Virginia. These expanded POP locations will enable MBC to provide wholesale transport services to its carrier customers as well as enable additional connectivity options.

MBC has extended their robust Infinera DTN network into these new interconnection facilities. MBC's Infinera network enables rapid provisioning for high bandwidth transport services, and provides low latency transport connections to southern Virginia and MBC interconnection facilities in the Carolina's and Georgia.

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