Virginia River Recreation Workshop set for September 17th, 18th


Maurice-JonesSecretary of Commerce, Maurice Jones is keynote speaker at the South Hill / Clarkvsille Virginia River Recreation Workshop.

This workshop will provide tools to advance river recreation in Virginia, including information on economic impacts, planning and design, potential partners, promotion and resource protection. Fun, educational field trips are planned in the afternoons. Register Here



Agenda Sept. 17, 2014 in South Hill

2-4:30 p.m.  p.m.-Field trip options near South Hill (weather dependent)

    A-Interpretive Tour of Whittle’s Mill dam (c. 1805)  Visit historic Whittle's Mill Dam on the Meherrin River, an area that dates back to Revolutionary War.  After the tour, boats will be available for you to explore the river on your own (weather and water-level dependent)
    B-Stand-Up Paddling Instruction  ($48 fee) minimum 5-maximum 12    Learn about the world of Standup Paddleboarding!  These 90-minute clinic covers how to get on and off your board, paddling techniques, proper stance, and turning methods.Call 919-416-1200 to pay fee and register or email with your questions
    C-Bring your bike and tour the Tobacco Heritage Trail on your own (17 miles from La Crosse to Lawrenceville)
    D-South Hill Tour on your own --Tobacco Farm Life Museum of Virginia, South Hill Depot

6-8:30 p.m. Evening program at Colonial Theater in South Hill

    6:00 Dessert Reception sponsored by Virginia Tourism Corporation at Colonial Theater
    6:30 Welcome and Recognition of Partners
    6:45 Planning for Water Trails (panel)
    Waterside Camping, Water and Land Opportunity Spectrum, Positioning for funding
    7:30 Roundtable Discussion: Ideas to advance river recreation in Virginia
    8:00 Lightning Talks on Water Trails in Virginia

Agenda Sept. 18, 2014 in Clarksville

8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.  Classroom Sessions at Magnuson Hotel Conference Center in Clarksville

    8:00 a.m. Registration (coffee/snacks)
    8:30 Welcome and Recognition of Partners
    9:00 Developing Effective Partnerships (panel)
    9:30 Financing your Water Trail (panel)
    9:45 Economic Impacts of river trail recreation (panel)
    10:45 Break
    11:00 Boating Access Development Considerations: Site, Use, Design, Materials
    11:45 Managing Public Access (Panel)
    12:15 Lunch
    12:30 Keynote Speaker Secretary of Commerce
    1:00 Strategic Marketing for your Water Trail

2:-4:30 p.m. Afternoon FIeld Trips options near Clarksville (weather dependent)

    A-Tour of Occoneechee State Park Visit the marina, boat ramp, canoe-in campsite and other recreation amenities at this lovely state park on the John H. Kerr Reservoir.  After the 45-minute tour, enjoy the park on your own.
    B-Paddling trip Beechwood Flats Water Trail This 5.3-mile water trail on the Roanoke River from Buggs Island to Beechwood Flats passes by the Dick Cross Wildlife Management Area.  Boats provided.
    C-Tour of Kerr Reservoir Recreation Amenities  Tour facilities around Kerr Reservoir, including an ADA-accessible launch for paddlers, the powerhouse, and the Tanner Environmental Education Center.  Enjoy the Liberty Hill nature trail on your own to see another side of the dam and take in beautiful views of the river and Buggs Island.

If ADA/reasonable accommodations are needed, please call (804) 786-9240 or email at least 10 working days in advance of the registration deadline or event.



VHTA's Regional Tourism Summit coming in July


Berry Hill Resort & Conference Center

Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association's Regional Tourism Summit will be held at Berry Hill Resort & Conference Center in South Boston, VA on Tuesday, July 8 from 2:30- 4:30pm.

Online registration is available until July 8; click here to register.

For more information, contact Sarah Stafford at  or 804-288-3065.

Berry Hill Resort and Conference Center
3105 River Road
South Boston, VA  24592

VA Hospitality & Travel Associationberry-hill-logoVirginia is for Lovers


Virginia Main Street Summer Toolkit

Virginia Main Street Summer ToolkitEntrepreneurship and Downtown: Supporting and fostering local entrepreneurs

July 16-17, 2014

Charley’s Waterfront Café
201 Mill Street
Farmville, Virginia

At the core of any downtown revitalization effort is understanding the need for unique and local shopping and dining opportunities, which are owned by local entrepreneurs. Often times, these business owners and potential business owners need encouragement, support and assistance to make their dreams a reality.

Virginia Main StreetHow can Main Street organizations really support these entrepreneurs and small businesses? Entrepreneurship and Downtown: Supporting and fostering local entrepreneurs, the 2014 Virginia Main Street Toolkit, is designed to help communities focus the Main Street Four Point Approach ® on exactly that question.

Join the state’s engaged network of downtown revitalization professionals and volunteers for this fast-paced, interactive event.

A full conference overview is available here. To register, visit


“Building the Foundation for Your New Business” - Small Business Seminar

open-your-businessEntrepreneurship is the American Dream. Unfortunately, of the 1 million businesses started each year, most of them eventually fail. The one common theme may be a lack of planning. If you are considering the possibility of starting a business, this free seminar will provide information that may help your business be among the 20 percent that survive and thrive.

Prepare to start a successful business by evaluating your entrepreneurial abilities, marketing strategies, financial resources, legal form of organization, and receive tips to prepare and present your business plan.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 9:00am — 12:00noon

Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center 118 E. Danville Street, South Hill, VA

Sponsored by Longwood Small Business Development Center & Mecklenburg County Office of Economic Development

Registration is required by calling (434) 738-6191 Ext. 4261 or email

sponsor-smbiz-workshopFunded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.


CONTRACTING 101 – Doing Business with the Federal Government - FREE

The Federal government spends over $500B dollars a year on supplies and services with over $100B in contracts being awarded to small business. This seminar will give an overview of the Federal small business goals and small business programs that give advantages to small business who want to contract with the Federal government. We will also provide instruction on how to register to do business with the Federal government and the processes involved in certifying your company to participate in the various small business programs to include the 8(a) program, HUBZone program, Woman Owned Small Business program and the Veterans/Service Disabled Veteran Owned small business program.

The one on one sessions will be one hour (longer if necessary) appointments with companies who want hands on assistance with their Federal registrations and certifications to include SAM registration, CCR and ORCA registrations, HUBZone applications, 8(a) applications, Woman Owned Small Business certification and Veteran/Service Disabled Veteran Owned certification.

Instructor: Joanne Tompkins, Director, Crater Procurement Assistance Center

Pre-registration for non-credit classes is required by calling Angela McClintock at 434-949-1026 or

Thursday, February 6th (Seminar) and Thursday, February 20th ( One on One)
John H. Daniel Campus – Keysville, VA
Cost: FREE
Workshop times: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Southside Virginia Community College is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institute.


FREE Seminar: Growing Aquaculture - Is it for You?

free-seminarDate: Tuesday, February 18th
Time: 7:00 PM
Southside VA Workforce Development Center
SVCC Campus
200 Daniel Road, Keysville, VA

Find out the "How-To" of raising Catfish, Shrimp, Hybrid Striped Bass, and Rainbow Trout on your local farm.

New Opportunities at Southside Virginia's Heartland Food Center (Aquaculture processing and value-adding facility)
Tony Banks
Tony Banks, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation


Dr. Lynn Blackwood Chairman, VA Aquafarmers Network Blackwood Farms
Dr. David Kuhn, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, VA Tech

Chris Moore, Growing Virginia LLC
Dr. Brian Nerrie, College of Agriculture, VA State University

For additional Information:
Susan Adams, Charlotte County, 434-542-5117
OR Your Local Extension Agent

Virginia Cooperative Extension


Give your business the gift of a free confidential business health checkup

Longwood Small Business Development Center free financial analysisLongwood Small Business Development Center offers a myriad of valuable services for our region's small businesses, and they have the perfect tool to help you start the new year off right.

Take advantage of their FREE, confidential, and personalized financial analysis consulting, offered as a service to support existing small businesses. Each confidential analysis includes a benchmark of your performance against real-time private company industry information. To learn more about this free service, visit their blog.

Oh, yeah, did I mention that it's FREE?


Urban farms taking America back to our roots

farming in Virginia's Growth AllianceIn a movement that is taking America full circle back to our roots, urban farms are not only transforming blighted areas into productive acreage, they're also creating economic opportunity for residents of those cities and helping to rebuild their neighborhoods into stable communities in which they can live more safely.

One of the newest developments in urban farming is that Hantz Farms® has purchased 150 acres in urban Detroit, planning to transform it into Hantz Woodlands, "the world's largest urban farm."

In the words of their website, "Picture oaks, maples, and other high value trees planted in straight, evenly spaced rows. Grass between rows of trees will be mowed regularly, and flowering trees will be planted between streets and sidewalks to create a breathtaking place of beauty each spring and fall season."

Sounds suspiciously like what we already enjoy in the Virginia's Growth Alliance economic development region.

Throughout our history America's farmers have worked their land to productivity, using ingenuity and creativity to adapt to what nature hands them. Unlike factories that can simply uproot and move to another city or even country, farms don't have that option.

It's fitting that areas abandoned by factories and fleeing families, many whom only decades ago fled rural life to work in those factories, are now being transformed by the very industry that is dominant in rural areas.

For hundreds of years Virginia's Growth Alliance's land has been farmed by families who have multi-generational commitments to producing food, trees, and other crops while also lovingly caring for the land that supports them. Their commitments have helped provide stability in our communities.

Urban areas are beginning to see what we have always known: that farming can not only coexist with modern technology and factories, but also helps provide a stable environment and dedicated workforce for those companies.

Technology companies like Microsoft and Hewlett Packard already call us home, as well as manufacturers like Amcor Pharmaceutical Packaging, Georgia Pacific Wood Products, and Boars Head Provisions Company.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to take a moment to appreciate our farmers who have fed us, cared for our lands, and maintained the stability in our communities that companies are looking for. Thank you to all of our farmers!


Support small businesses to help our region grow

shop localWe hear "shop at home" often, but this Thanksgiving I'd like to ask you to really think about what that means to our region. When you shop local, your support of local businesses will come back around to help the region (and you!) by contributing jobs, sales taxes, and business property taxes. All of these help us have better schools, parks, and infrastructure. And don't forget that the people who work in those businesses will then be more able to spend their own money in our regional economy.

A couple items of interest are:

  • Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country. Founded by American Express in 2010, this day is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (this year it's November 30). This one small day has grown into a movement that millions of individuals, businesses, and communities have embraced nationwide—and continue to support each and every day. Learn more about the "Shop Small" movement at
  • The 3/50 Project - - was founded to help save the brick and mortar businesses our country is built on. The 3/50 Project asks you to think about "what 3 independently owned businesses would you miss if they disappeared?" Further, "if half the employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenues."

According to the 3/50 Project, for every $100 spent in locally-owned businesses, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures.

It's often easy to take our local businesses for granted, but this holiday season let's make an extra effort to support them. While we're at it, let's also try to buy "Made in Virginia" and "Made in America" if possible.

We all know how much retailers depend upon the holiday season to put their businesses in the black for the year, but consider that your holiday shopping can help make the difference in whether a local business is able to stay afloat. That's powerful.


Charlotte County is on Facebook

charlotte-pumpkinCharlotte County has a new Facebook page that we hope you'll take a minute to visit and like. I'm impressed that they already have over 600 likes!

While you're at it, please visit pages for these other VGA communities. The other communities will have pages coming soon; please check back to visit them.

If that's not enough to keep you busy, there's also our own Facebook page. Thank you for supporting Virginia's Growth Alliance, where We Cultivate Success!


Welcome to Virginia's Growth Alliance!

As Executive Director of VGA, I'd like to welcome you to our website and our region!

We’re setting a course here in Southern Virginia.  Over the past two years, regional organizations, local leaders, economic development specialists and the community have investigated new approaches to creating jobs and strengthening the identity of our region. There’s a lot here to capitalize on, and we’re just getting started.

Continue reading
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