Local Community Business Launch Program Wins 2022 Community Economic Development Award

Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc. was awarded a 2022 Community Economic Development Award (CEDA) from the Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA) for its STARTUP Franklin Southampton initiative, which prepares entrepreneurs to start businesses through business education and allows businesses who submit business plans to pitch for prize money to open their new venture in the community.

Initially, the program began with a Community Business Launch (CBL) grant, totaling $60,000, in 2017. Franklin’s initial CBL and subsequent rounds have been quite successful, launching 10 new and expanded businesses, many of whom continue to expand their operations and create catalytic transformation for the downtown. Some of the businesses to result from the program include TaylorMade Fitness, Main Event, Tiers to You and Storehouse Coffee. Storefronts that once sat empty have been replaced with vibrant businesses, and the program continues to address other spaces throughout the community.

After the initial CBL grant, Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc. absorbed the program into its annual operating budget, ensuring entrepreneurs continue to receive the support they need and creating a model for other communities to follow in jumpstarting their revitalization efforts. To date, they have completed four rounds of STARTUP Franklin Southampton!

“The success of STARTUP is the success of our businesses and staff that make it happen. Our private and public sponsors, volunteers and supporters are also critical in making STARTUP a key catalyst for economic growth and small business development in Franklin Southampton.” – Karl Heck, FSEDI President & CEO

Community Business Launch is now open for applications through April 28th. If you’re interested in applying or have questions regarding the program, please contact Jessica Hartness by emailing jessica.hartness@dhcd.virginia.gov.