Recently, the GO Virginia state board announced that the SOVA Innovation Hub and Longwood University Office of Community and Economic Development (LOCED) will receive a grant award, totaling $449,000, to develop a two-year training initiative to help build capacity and connections within Region 3, focusing on entrepreneurial development, youth entrepreneurship and increasing access to capital. Seeking to train 200 entrepreneurs, the grant is expected to create new businesses and jobs within Southside Virginia.
“We are proud to support this program, which aims to drive long-term development of the rural entrepreneurship ecosystem in Region 3. Business works best when it works together, and this plan will deepen collaboration across the area, leading to a stronger economic recovery.” – Randy Lail, Region 3 Council Chairman
Paired with matching and leveraged funds, the total budget for the project will be $819,000 to cover training, outreach and a variety of other costs to ensure the project benefits all 15 localities within Region 3. The public school systems in Cumberland and Prince Edward County will also be include, serving as the targets for youth entrepreneurship programs.
“Our region needs to continue building entrepreneurial capacity – particularly with the intention to improve equity – and this program will be a key piece of this process. We’re excited to be helping a diverse group of entrepreneurs from a variety of backgrounds, communities, age ranges and experience levels through this program.” – Lauren Mathena, Director of Economic Development and Community Engagement, MBC
Complimenting the Region 3 Entrepreneur and Innovation Investment Strategy developed by the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC) and the LOCED, the project will spur economic growth through business formation and align with the six goals of the Region 3 strategy:
- Connect entrepreneurship resources;
- Support existing business growth and innovation
- Develop entrepreneurship training programs to nurture aspiring entrepreneurs
- Expedite access to capital
- Expedite broadband expansion; and
- Fund and facilitate implementation to ensure flexibility and sustainability
“We are so thankful for the support of GO Virginia, SOVA Innovation Hub, and all of our partners in this project. As an institution, Longwood is strategically working to build connections, partnerships and educational outreach to reshape the future of our regional economy. This collaboration will leverage the experience and grassroots partnerships of our Small Business Development Center in successfully supporting new and innovative business opportunities in our region.” – Sheri McGuire, Assoc. VP for Community & Economic Development, Longwood
Image Credit (GO Virginia Logo): GO Virginia
Image Credit (Region 3): Go Virginia
Image Credit (SOVA Innovation Hub): The Gazette-Virginian