Danville’s River District Association Reflects on Dream Launch Success and Prepares for Another Impactful Year

With support from Virginia DHCD’s Community Business Launch (CBL) program, Danville’s River District Association (RDA) held its first Dream Launch Boot Camp and Pitch Competition during spring 2019! More than 75 individuals participated in some or all of the boot camp classes, and nine completed all the requirements to take part in the pitch competition. Ultimately, four entrepreneurs were awarded $75,000 in total funding to expand or open their new businesses: KG Graphics, Firefly Studios, Grizzly’s Hatchet House and River City Escapes. Thankfully, all four businesses that were received funding have survived the novel coronavirus pandemic!

“We were extremely excited to work with these businesses. While the grant funds will go a long way to help us move these businesses forward, there are now several other new offerings in the pipeline. We had a tremendous response to the Dream Launch Boot Camp, and we saw other businesses open their doors throughout the region as a result of the boot camp classes. The opportunity to give a large number of people knowledge and understand the journey to business ownership and self-sustainability is one of the most important parts of this program.”

– Diana Schwartz, Executive Director, River District Association

In addition to DHCD’s CBL funds, the 2019 program was also supported by the City of Danville and the Danville Regional Foundation through matching funds. The proven success of RDA’s Dream Launch has resulted in continued support for the program and the downtown district, as well as other parts of the City and region supported by funding from the City of Danville, the Dan River Region Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, the Danville Regional Foundation, and in 2021, the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce.

Over the past two years, more than 150 individuals have participated in some or all of the bootcamp classes and 12 businesses were awarded a total of $145,000 in grant funding to start or expand a business in Danville’s River District and the wider area. The next iteration of RDA’s Dream Launch kicks off in spring 2021, with a prize pool of $100,000!

Through the Dream Launch Boot Camp and Pitch Competition, RDA will continue to provide start-ups the tools, information and assistance needed to give them the best possible opportunity for success. Click here to learn more!