A new grant, announced on Tuesday, would lay the foundation for a long-term economic recovery from the effects of the pandemic by focusing on entrepreneurship education, young entrepreneurship and improving access to capital.
The GO Virginia State Board announced a $ 449,000 grant to SOVA Innovation Hub and Longwood University’s Community and Economic Development Office for a robust training initiative that will build capacity and connectivity.
The two-year program will train 200 entrepreneurs. It is expected to create dozens of new businesses and jobs as a result. Companies in the region will also be positioned for more investment and financing opportunities for small businesses, which will lead to more growth.
“We are proud to support this program, which aims to advance the long-term development of the rural entrepreneurship ecosystem in Region 3,” said Randy Lail, Chair of the Region 3 Council. “Business works best when it works together This plan will deepen cooperation across the region and lead to stronger economic recovery over the next five years and beyond. “
The GO Virginia funds of $ 449,000 will be combined with matching and leveraged funds for a total project budget of $ 819,000 to cover training costs, contacting, planning, consulting and administration. This project benefits all 15 regions in Region 3. Also included are the public school systems in Cumberland and Prince Edward counties, which initially target youth entrepreneurship programs.
“Our region needs to continue building entrepreneurial capacity, particularly with the intent to improve equity, and this program will be a key element of that process,” said Lauren Mathena, director of economic development and community engagement at MBC. “We are excited to serve a diverse group of entrepreneurs with different backgrounds, communities, ages and levels of experience with this program.”
The project is part of a broader strategy to promote economic growth, the Region 3 Entrepreneur & Innovation Investment Strategy. Developed by the team at Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC) and the Longwood Office of Community and Economic Development (LOCED), the strategy provides a framework for leveraging resources to invest in projects that encourage business creation in the area support.
The Region 3 strategy has six main objectives:
Connect resources for entrepreneurship;
Support existing business growth and innovation;
Developing entrepreneurship training programs to promote aspiring entrepreneurs;
Accelerate access to capital.
Accelerate broadband expansion. and
Financing and facilitating implementation to ensure flexibility and sustainability.
“We are grateful for the support from GO Virginia, SOVA Innovation Hub, and all of our partners in this space,” said Sheri McGuire, Longwood’s vice president, community and business development. “As an institution, Longwood works strategically to build connections, partnerships and educational opportunities to reshape the future of our regional economy. This collaboration will use the experience and basic partnerships of our Small Business Development Center to successfully support new and innovative business opportunities in our region. “