Virginia’s Growth Alliance to Award up to $90,000.00 in Business Startup and Expansion Grants

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Entrepreneurs, new business startups and existing business owners are invited to participate in Virginia Growth Alliance’s 2018 Regional Business Competition, “Growing Entrepreneurs Together” (G.E.T.)

The G.E.T. business competition is designed to cultivate local economic development by inspiring and supporting local entrepreneurs and existing businesses with a desire to expand in the VGA towns of Clarksville, South Hill, and the city of Emporia.

The competition will give rise to many budding entrepreneurs and expanding businesses that have been prepared through a free 6 week bootcamp-style workshop series provided by the experts at the Longwood Small Business Development Center (LSBDC). These workshops will be instrumental in guiding participants through studying the feasibility of their proposed business, exploring business models, and developing successful business plans.

Multiple winners will be awarded prizes that range from $5k to $30k. Additionally, winners could receive other benefits that include access to a low-interest revolving loan funds, building lease rebates, local and regional business mentoring, and other local incentives to be announced.

“Although up to $30k is available for each award, we anticipate the majority of the awards to be around the $5-10k range”, explained competition organizer, Tina Morgan. “We are really excited to see what big ideas come in for the competition, and based on what our residents and visitors are saying, we’re particularly hoping to see entries for Food Trucks, Restaurants, Brewery’s, Bakery’s, Retail, and maybe even Tasting Rooms.”

Applicants aren't limited to these communities; the VGA is hoping to see entries come in from across the country by entrepreneurs who desire to take advantage of local incentives to build in one of these named locations.

“Small businesses are the lifeline of our communities around the Commonwealth. They provide jobs, they provide talent, and a sense of place.” said Jeff Reed, Executive Director of Virginia’s Growth Alliance. “Entrepreneurship is a key component of our economic strategy, and we want to foster the development of these individuals and their ideas, particularly here in rural Virginia”

Planning is underway for this exciting project and those interested are invited to join one of three upcoming (free) Lunch and Learn information sessions to be held in each of the named locations, beginning with Emporia on November 17th. Register for this session and find details about other upcoming information sessions, competition guidelines, and application by visiting www.thinkbiggervga.com and following the Get Cash links.

The VGA is interested in knowing what types of businesses you’d like to see open in these areas, so you are invited to weigh in with your opinion at www.thinkbiggervga.com (click on Survey). By completing the survey, you will be entered into a drawing for a $100.00 Visa Gift Card.

For additional information or questions, contact Tina Morgan, Competition Organizer at the following email: tina@vagrowth.com or phone 434-200-8066.

This initiative is made possible through seed funding from the DHCD, educational resources by the LSBDC, support and mentorship from state and local officials, additional funding resources by the SPDC, and planning and administration by the VGA.

VGA includes the counties of Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Greensville, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, and Prince Edward, and the city of Emporia.

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