Recent News

09.30.2021
Funding will allow communities to prioritize local needs Governor Ralph Northam today announced an allocation of more than $7.7 million in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grants to advance community economic recovery efforts. This funding will support 14 projects focused on economic diversification, workforce development, talent pipelines, economic resiliency, and business-ready sites. “As Virginia's economy continues to surge, it's important that every part of the state shares in that success,” said Governor Northam. “These grants support projects that drive local and regional economic growth, spurring innovation and creating jobs in our communities across the Commonwealth.” GO Virginia has funded 196 projects and awarded approximately $75.6 million to support regional economic development efforts since 2017. This round of grants include eleven regional projects and three projects through GO Virginia’s Economic Resilience and Recovery Program. The awarded projects will receive an additional $4.2 million in local and non-state resources. “Economic development is an inherently collaborative endeavor, and GO Virginia’s regional approach has proven to be an invaluable tool in this regard,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These projects build upon the economic assets each region has to offer, supporting job creation and new investment in the Commonwealth’s communities.” “I would like to commend the thoughtful work of councils and partners represented in the projects awarded today,” said GO Virginia State Board Vice Chair Todd Stottlemyer. “The success of GO Virginia is predicated on the belief that communities are stronger when the public and private sectors work together on shared challenges and opportunities. The projects reflect that commitment to working collaboratively to strengthen regional economies and provide good job opportunities for the individuals who reside in them.” Grants include a $1.4 million investment to accelerate the growth of the emerging Pharmaceutical Manufacturing cluster, making it an international leader in advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing, research, and development. This will lead to high-paying jobs, the expansion of companies, and investments in high-tech sector activity. Another grant helps equip unemployed and under-employed residents of South Norfolk, many of which have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the skills needed to be gainfully employed in a career that provides a sustainable living wage. To learn more about the GO Virginia program, click here. 2021 ROUND THREE REGIONAL GRANT AWARDS GROW(TH): The Business of Agriculture in Southwest Virginia | $52,950 Region 1: Counties of Smyth and Washington and the towns of Abingdon, Glade Spring, Meadowview, and Saltville Emory & Henry College School of Business will complete a feasibility study of an innovation hub for agriculture initiatives to support ongoing agriculture-related entrepreneurship education through a set of distinct, custom programs that will drive workforce growth in the sector. Appalachian Council for Innovation Business Continuity and Resiliency | $68,500 Region 1: Counties of Bland, Wythe, and Tazewell and the towns of Bluefield and Wytheville The Appalachian Council for Innovation, in partnership with the Appalachian Council of Business Leaders, Small Business Development Centers, and others will take a three-tiered approach to provide access to information and resources, along with knowledge of business continuity and resiliency and its importance in business survival during times of crisis. This strategy includes the implementation of community-based educational events, business continuity, resilience assessments, gap analysis, and input from the health care community to help guide businesses moving forward through the COVID-19 crisis, as well as for future disasters. Hampton Roads Regional Energy Master Plan | $84,000 Region 5: Counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton and the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach The Hampton Roads Alliance will work with partners to evaluate the projected population growth of the region and analyze the energy infrastructure needed to support this level of growth. This project will develop a baseline of the capacity of the current energy supply system, create a clear understanding of the capacity of that system, and identify options to deliver energy to meet further demand. Setting Pathways that Activate Real-World Knowledge (SPARK) | $100,000 Region 5: Cities of Franklin, Newport News, Norfolk, and Portsmouth Portsmouth Public Schools will contract with a partner organization, JASON Learning, to design, produce, publish, and distribute a digital course module to support effective classroom instruction of the SPARK course material and deliver that training to up to 100 educators from regional school districts. This project will ensure a strong connection between STEM learning opportunities available in the region’s high schools and regional workforce needs in advanced manufacturing, enabling high school juniors and seniors to prepare for immediate entry into the workforce upon graduation. Profiles that Increase the Competencies, Knowledge and Skills that Matter | $100,000 Region 2: Counties of Floyd and Pulaski Using the American College Testing (ACT) Job Profiling system, the New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Consortium Board will consult with experts at companies to analyze the skills, skill levels, and skill frequency workers need to be successful at certain jobs. This project will support the economic growth of the region’s priority industry clusters by developing a tool, process, and common language in helping businesses with their recruiting, hiring, training, and promoting practices. Additionally, it will assist businesses to make decisions about jobs, identify strengths, set training goals, and find appropriate training programs for in-demand jobs for high-growth businesses. Shenandoah Valley Aviation Technology Park Site ECB | $100,000 Region 8: Counties of Augusta and Rockingham and the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Waynesboro The Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport Commission will build-out the infrastructure of the Shenandoah Aviation Technology Park, completing the water and sewer design and engineering to support subsequent phases of the park. Lighthouse Labs Alumni Program | $429,000 Region 4: County of Henrico and the city of Richmond  Lighthouse Labs will strengthen the post-acceleration resources offered to startup companies in high-growth sectors. By offering support for an additional nine months after the three-month acceleration program, Lighthouse Labs will help alumni scale organically and attract outside capital to grow. ExperienceWorks | $516,628 Region 3: Counties of Amelia, Brunswick, Charlotte, Cumberland, Danville, Halifax, Henry, Lunenburg, Martinsville, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Patrick, Pittsylvania, and Prince Edward The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research will lead the ExperienceWorks initiative, a systems approach that leverages GO Virginia Region 3 investments to connect students and young adults to high-skill, high-wage employment opportunities through a myriad of work-based learning opportunities. Establishing connections with students while they are still in high school will allow businesses to access an emerging workforce and provide mentorship, increasing the number of high school graduates in Region 3 who are connected to employment opportunities in targeted growth sectors. Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Cluster Scale-Up | $1,400,000 Region 4: Counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Hanover, Henrico, Prince George, and Powhatan and the cities of Petersburg and Richmond  Activation Capital will accelerate growth of the emerging Pharmaceutical Manufacturing cluster for Region 4, making it an international leader in advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing and research and development, thereby growing high-paying jobs, recruitment, and expansion of companies and investment in high-tech sector activity. The project will use a six-pronged approach: create a collaborative organization, build the supply chain in the region, solve critical regional infrastructure and lab space issues, implement a communications campaign, assure workforce needs are identified and met, and cultivate strategic relationships. Strengthening Southern Virginia’s Economy by Expanding the Inventory of Shovel-Ready Sites | $1,534,900 Region 3: Counties of Halifax, Patrick, and Pittsylvania and the city of Danville The Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, in partnership with the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, will develop a site development program that will parallel the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s site characterization program. The project will raise seven sites, totaling 1,188 acres, from Tier 2 to Tier 4, and raise three sites, totaling 311 acres, from a Tier 2 to Tier 3 or 4 on the VBRSP scale. 2030 Initiative | $2,460,190 Region 7: Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William and the city of Fairfax Refraction Inc., in partnership with George Mason and participating localities, will double the capital raised and jobs created by technology startups and high-growth companies in Northern Virginia by 2030. The 2030 initiative is targeted to address three critical needs of startups: capital, customers, and coaching. ECONOMIC RESILIENCE AND RECOVERY APPLICATIONS Career and Community Development Program Expansion | $85,222 Region 5: Cities of Chesapeake and Norfolk The organization, Neighborhood, will help equip unemployed and under-employed residents of South Norfolk, many of which have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the skills needed to be gainfully employed in a career that provides a sustainable living wage. The organization will relocate and expand its 620-square-foot building to a larger 2,400-square-foot facility to meet a growing workforce demand in South Norfolk. Neighborhood will provide a six-month training program to provide community leaders with soft skills, personal development, community engagement, and job skills training in high demand jobs of shipbuilding, ship repair, cyber security, and information technology. New Kent County/Rappahannock Community College Welding Program | $300,000 Region 4: Counties of Charles City, King William, and New Kent and the town of West Point New Kent County, in partnership with Charles City County, King William County, the town of West Point, Rappahannock Community College, and local employers, will renovate a portion of the former New Kent High School to develop a start-of-the-art welding facility for the greater region. This project will address the critical and growing need for welders in the area and help revitalize the talent pipeline of welders, which was significantly stalled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tech Set | $425,000 Region 7:  Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun Marymount University will implement a two-month educational program designed to develop work-ready social and technological skills to help economically disadvantaged juniors and seniors who were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will address a need identified by Region 7’s tech companies for entry-level workers.

10.20.2021
Grants will support entrepreneurs and boost local economies Governor Ralph Northam today announced that local business owners and community organizations will benefit from more than $4.4 million in grants for 33 investment projects across the Commonwealth. These projects will create and support business development, economic recovery, and the redevelopment of industrial and commercial structures. “This is about renovating old buildings, investing in neighborhoods, and launching new businesses,” said Governor Northam. “These projects will greatly benefit Virginia’s local economies and business owners.”  The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development administers these important programs, as well as some American Rescue Plan funds. The Industrial Revitalization Fund leverages local and private resources to redevelop deteriorated structures. This creates more long-term employment opportunities and supports infrastructure and economic revitalization. Community Business Launch grants help prepare businesses for success. Entrepreneurs can receive training and help with developing business plans. The Virginia Statewide Business District Resurgence Grant supports historically economically disadvantaged communities and business districts that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. “This funding will expand job growth, nurture entrepreneurial ecosystems, and provide support to communities most affected by the pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Supporting this funding means supporting the Commonwealth’s small businesses and an economic future that works for all Virginians.”    2022 Industrial Revitalization Fund Awardees:   VUMAC Adaptive Reuse: Boutique Hotel | $600,000 Town of Blackstone Blackstone Hotel Partners is rehabilitating a former women’s college into a boutique hotel with 109 rooms, a restaurant, microbrewery, gift shop, and movie theater. The funding will support public improvements, including water and sewer lines, stormwater solutions, sidewalks and curbs, electrical service, and a backup generator for the property. The project is expected to create 25 full-time equivalent positions, 35 jobs in total.    Hotel Petersburg | $600,000 City of Petersburg The city of Petersburg will renovate a 65-room hotel that was originally built in 1915. The owner, Tabb Street Development, will operate the facility in conjunction with Retro Hospitality, who has experience with boutique hotels in the region. The project is expected to create 60 full-time and 40 part-time jobs.   Carver Food Incubator and Community Kitchen | $470,000 Culpeper County The former George Washington Carver Regional High School, located on Route 15 in Culpeper, was constructed in 1948 and served as the regional high school for African American students. Culpeper County is renovating the property to become a cultural, agricultural, and vocational business incubator with educational and research facilities. The funding will support the construction of a commercial kitchen, which will be used as a food business incubator, providing food truck services, a point source for locally grown products, and a community education kitchen. The George Washington Carver Food Enterprises Center will manage the kitchen. The project is expected to create 28-38 full-time positions.   2510 Jefferson Avenue | $250,000 City of Newport News The city of Newport News will renovate a 1930-building into retail and office space. The Newport News Economic Development Authority acquired this property in June 2020. Since the acquisition, the city has created the Critical Community Improvements Plan, which outlines the plan for the 2510 Jefferson Avenue building. The project is expected to create and/or support 11 full-time positions.   2022 Community Business Launch Awardees:   RDA Dream Launch Entrepreneurship Program | $90,000 City of Danville The Downtown Danville Association will organize a nine-week business training series, followed by a business plan pitch competition, focused on North Union/Spring Street, a historically Black commercial district adjacent to downtown Danville. Downtown Danville Association and its many partner organizations will focus on business types that serve the North Union neighborhood and will engage in outreach to identify potential entrepreneurs fitting with both the history and future of the area. At completion, the project will train more than 85 entrepreneurs, create or expand three businesses, and create at least five jobs.   Uptown Partnership Community Business Launch | $90,000 City of Martinsville Uptown Partnership, in partnership with the Advancement Foundation, will host a 12-week business workshop series, followed by a business plan pitch competition, focused on Uptown Martinsville. Uptown Partnership recently completed a retail market analysis in 2021 and will use that information to guide its entrepreneurial outreach strategies, with a specific emphasis on small-scale manufacturing businesses and retail catering to the needs of uptown residents. At completion, the project will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.    Town of Bedford Business Launch | $65,000 Town of Bedford The town of Bedford, in partnership with the Advancement Foundation, will host a 12-week series of business planning workshops culminating in a two-week pitch competition, focusing on entrepreneurs seeking to open in Centertown Bedford. Bedford aims to diversify its retail business mix with a focus on small-scale manufacturing businesses that offer retail shoppers the experience of watching products being made. At completion, Bedford will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.   Bristol Community Business Launch | $60,000 City of Bristol Believe in Bristol will host a six-week business training series followed by a business plan pitch competition, focused on downtown Bristol. Believe in Bristol recently embarked on an assessment of small-scale manufacturers and would like to emphasize the addition of these types of retails to downtown. At completion, Believe in Bristol will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.   Wood Avenue Revitalization | $45,000 Town of Big Stone Gap The town of Big Stone Gap will host a six-week business training series followed by a business plan pitch competition, focused on Wood Avenue in the historic downtown area of Big Stone Gap. Big Stone Gap will focus on specialty retail and restaurants to fill a critical mass of vacant properties in order to turn around a highly visible area of the community. At completion, the project will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.   Homegrown for Hopewell | $45,000 City of Hopewell Hopewell Downtown Partnership, in partnership with Virginia State University, will host a six-week business workshop series, followed by a business plan pitch competition focused on downtown Hopewell. Hopewell Downtown Partnership will focus on businesses that will fill gaps in available services for residents and visitors to Hopewell, such as fast casual dining, specialty grocery, outdoor recreation outfitters, and/or a small conference center/hotel. At completion, the project will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.   Scottsville Community Business Launch | $40,000 Town of Scottsville The town of Scottsville, in partnership with the Community Investment Collaborative, will host an eight-week business workshop series followed by a business plan pitch competition, focused on downtown Scottsville. The town of Scottsville recently completed an assessment of its retail and housing market, identifying several retail business categories with opportunity for growth, such as restaurants, general merchandise, grocery, and specialty retail. At completion, the project will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.   2022 Virginia Statewide Business District Resurgence Grant Awardees   “Made in Bristol:” Small-Scale Manufacturing for State Street | $150,000 City of Bristol Building on its small-scale manufacturing strategic plan, the city of Bristol will initiate a Made in Bristol membership program open to any and all small-scale producers in the Bristol area. Members will have access to training, technical assistance and capacity-building grants specific to the needs of small producers. SWaM businesses will be particularly encouraged to participate. This project seeks to promote stability and growth among existing businesses, providing direct assistance to at least 20 businesses.   North Main Hill Neighborhood Business District Revitalization Program | $150,000 Downtown Danville Association | City of Danville The Downtown Danville Association will partner with the Danville Regional Foundation and the city of Danville Office of Economic Development to pilot a new neighborhood commercial district revitalization program in historically BIPOC neighborhoods adjacent to downtown, such as North Main Hill. The organization aims to develop an action plan to provide services to an expanded footprint including but not limited to business assistance, marketing, façade improvement programs, and place making rooted in economic inclusion. Upon completion, this will increase access to capital, loans, and grants, increase business training and start-ups, execute at least one resident-driven project, and lay the groundwork for infrastructure improvements such as WiFi hotspots.   Black Entrepreneurial Advancement and Community Opportunity Network (BEACON) Incubator Project | $150,000 New Hill Development Corporation | City of Charlottesville New Hill Development Corporation, in partnerships with the city of Charlottesville, Community Investment Collaborative, Operation Hope, and the Virginia Department of Health, will develop a business accelerator, commercial kitchen, and co-working space for Black food and beverage entrepreneurs in and around the Starr Hill community of Charlottesville. New Hill CDC  plans to conduct entrepreneur identification and outreach, rent a commercial kitchen, provide culinary business training, conduct a pop-up restaurant event and organize a competitive startup grant program. Upon completion, New Hill CDC  will assist at least 24 businesses, create 10 new businesses, create at least 12 jobs, and build organizational capacity for growing the project even further.   Chamberbrook Arts and Business District Master Plan Activation | $150,000 Real Chances Inc. | City of Richmond Real Chances Inc., in partnership with the Storefront for Community Design and the FORM Coalition, will conduct master planning and early stage implementation for the Chamberbrook Arts and Business District at the northern gateway into the city of Richmond. Real Chances Inc. will work with design and planning consultants to develop a master plan and architectural pattern book for Chamberbrook, organize pop-up retail and place making projects, offer business start-up training/coaching, and administer business start-up grants. Upon completion, Real Chances will complete a master plan, develop an e-commerce platform, assist five businesses, and improve six commercial buildings in the Chamberbrook district.   Entrepreneurial Support Hub for Businesses on Williamson Road Corridor | $150,000 Williamson Road Area Business Association | City and County of Roanoke and County of Salem Williamson Road Area Business Association (WRABA) will develop a new shared workspace/incubator adjacent to WRABA’s existing space to serve a multi-lingual, multinational population of highly-motivated entrepreneurs hoping to open businesses along the Williamson Road corridor. WRABA plans to complete its facility buildout, execute start-up business training, and install public artworks that communicate the purpose of the hub.   Waynesboro Renaissance | $116,000 Waynesboro Economic Development | City of Waynesboro Building on the city’s strategy to support small business recovery downtown and create a path to a Waynesboro renaissance, funding will be used for façade improvement grants, business training and technical assistance, marketing/promotions, and a downtown housing study. This project will assist businesses in historically economically disadvantaged communities, drive traffic to existing businesses in their historic main street, and prepare the area for new investment.   757 Makerspace - Peninsula Expansion | $100,000 Economic Development Authority of the City of Hampton | City of Hampton A spin-off of the successful 757 Makerspace in Norfolk, this project creates access to the same resources North of the James and expands access to these resources closer to innovators affiliated with NASA, Langley AFB, Newport News Shipbuilding, VIMS, Hampton University, William & Mary, and all of their suppliers. This project will be executed in partnership with Hampton Public Schools’ vocational/technical programs, including BIPOC students and their families. Through the StartWheel online platform, they will promote entrepreneurial activities and early-stage startup businesses in the area.   B-Cubed Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Expansion | $100,000 City of Harrisonburg and County of Rockingham The city of Harrisonburg, as part of a multi-partner effort called B-Cubed (Black- and Brown-owned Business) Growth Program, will support next stage growth and adaptation of its Bricks and Clicks business retention program to focus on the needs of underserved entrepreneurs who will benefit from more coaching, larger grants to overcome undercapitalization, and less instruction in institutional settings. The B-Cubed Growth Program will assist 30 businesses and provide 30 grants.   Expansion of Bloom Co-Working Space and Incubator | $100,000 Partnership Development Foundation | City of Portsmouth The Partnership Development Foundation will support the expansion of the Bloom coworking and incubator space in Portsmouth, which will provide local startups and micro-companies targeted resources and educational programming to grow into successful businesses. Bloom is currently providing subsidized space and services for small-business owners to help them recover and pivot as necessary. This space will target Portsmouth small businesses and veterans, minorities, persons with a disability, and women. This incubation and co-working space seeks to increase the availability of co-working space, increase the revenue of associated businesses and individuals, and increase job creation.   Filling Street Level Vacancies in Arts and Culture District | $100,000 Venture Richmond | City of Richmond Venture Richmond will identify and fill vacant or underutilized retail storefronts along the Broad Street section of Richmond’s Arts and Culture District damaged during the social uprisings of the summer of 2020 and recruit existing small, women, and minority (SWaM) and immigrant-owned businesses to fill vacancies in the district. Building and business owners will be eligible for façade improvement grants from the city of Richmond. New start-ups will be eligible for business training and mentoring through the Metropolitan Business League and grants for specific reimbursable expenses.    We Care Recovery and Small Business Resiliency | $100,000 Metropolitan Business League | City of Richmond and County of Henrico The Metropolitan Business League (MBL) will expand the capacity of its existing “We Care” recovery and resiliency project in order to provide relief funds for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 and social justice demonstrations. Through this program, MBL provides direct grants, financial counseling, technical assistance, and corporate training to businesses in the Richmond metropolitan region, directly serving Black and Brown business owners in low- to moderate-income areas.   Childcare Business Support in the Historic Triangle | $100,000 Inner Peace Coalition Inc. | City of Williamsburg and County of James City Inner Peace Coalition Inc., in partnership with James City County Department of Social Services, will provide business support services to small, woman-, minority- and immigrant-owned businesses in the Historic Triangle area, with an emphasis on businesses providing child care services. Inner Peace Coalition Inc. plans to conduct outreach, training and ongoing mentorship to new and existing business owners. The organization will train at least 150 entrepreneurs and create at least two new businesses.   Small Scale Developer Education and Activation | $95,000 Hopewell Downtown Partnership | City of Hopewell Hopewell Downtown Partnership (HDP) will train a cohort of small, woman, and minority developers to tackle projects in Hopewell, update Hopewell’s retail market analysis, and create a new business investment guide. Hopewell Downtown Partnership plans to organize a series of small-scale real estate development trainings, including advanced training and coaching for owners with active projects that are ready to begin right away. Hopewell Downtown Partnership will train 120 small-scale developers, including at least 30 of whom will be small, woman, and minority developers benefiting from scholarships.   Lawrenceville Merchants Assistance Program | $88,000 IDA of Brunswick | County of Brunswick The IDA of Brunswick will provide SWaM retail merchants with technical assistance and mentoring, joint marketing opportunities and the development of a shared e-commerce platform for Brunswick County merchants and makers, with an emphasis on Lawrenceville. This project will leverage existing entrepreneurial initiatives to provide additional impact.   Southeast Commercial District Business Assistance | $86,000 Newport News Economic Development Authority | City of Newport News The Newport News Economic Development Authority (NNEDA) will support existing small business growth and entrepreneurship in the southeast commercial district, a historically underserved and disadvantaged area of Newport News. In partnership with the Women's Empowerment Development, NNEDA plans to offer hands-on technical and financial assistance to small businesses in the community as well as distributed commercial locations within the broader Southeast Community.   Strategic Plan for Inclusion of Fifth Street Corridor in Downtown Lynchburg Association Service Area | $64,000 Downtown Lynchburg Association | City of Lynchburg Downtown Lynchburg Association (DLA) will conduct a strategic action plan to expand DLA’s service district to include Fifth Street, a historically Black commercial district. Downtown Lynchburg Association plans to follow up its strategic planning with place making projects such as murals, interpretive signs, and beautification along with enhanced supportive services for Fifth Street businesses and property owners.   Southeast Community Commercial District Strategic Action Plan | $50,000 City of Newport News Womens Empowerment Development Inc., (WED), in partnership with the city of Newport News Economic Development Authority (NNEDA), will develop a strategic action plan for the Southeast Community in the historic Jefferson Avenue and Chestnut Avenue commercial districts. WED will conduct an assessment of potential gaps and opportunities to support the business ecosystem and to provide an inclusive framework for community-driven, comprehensive revitalization and vitality, entrepreneurship readiness, and start-up SWaM business support services.   B-Force Accelerator | $50,000 Black Brand | City of Portsmouth Black Brand will expand capacity of the existing microenterprise assistance, B-Force Accelerator program. This expansion will provide technical assistance and training workshops to early stage minority business owners to increase their ability to access capital, scale up, increase revenue, decrease expenses, and develop a professional network.   Gainsboro Neighborhood Business Assistance Program | $50,000 City of Roanoke The city of Roanoke will complete a needs assessment for merchants in the Gainesboro commercial district. The results of the assessment will inform program design for grant and technical assistance in the historically underserved neighborhood commercial district adjacent to downtown Roanoke.    Welcome Back to Business | $50,000 South Hill Chamber of Commerce | Town of South Hill The South Hill Chamber of Commerce will develop a public space for outdoor dining and events, façade improvement program, business technical assistance and training, and the development of a marketing campaign to draw customers to the central business district. This program seeks to expand the availability of business support services to historically disadvantaged business owners in the community. The South Hill Chamber of Commerce will serve 30 businesses, improve 10 downtown businesses, and provide assistance to ten historically disadvantaged businesses through this initiative.   Commercial Real Estate Rehabilitation Incentive Enhancements | $50,000 Town of South Hill The town of South Hill seeks to further capitalize existing façade improvement funds for building owners and offer reimbursable grants for business interior buildout projects. This project will directly support 10 building improvement projects and will include outreach and engagement to ensure the inclusion of traditionally underserved business owners in these initiatives while leveraging existing business incentives to create a more resilient business district.   Start Smart Education for Early Stage Low and Moderator Income Entrepreneurs | $10,000 BizWorks | County of Chesterfield BizWorks Enterprise Center will organize and host a series of small-scale business startup classes and mentoring focused on low- and moderate-income residents of the Route 1 corridor of Chesterfield County. BizWorks Enterprise Center plans to conduct extensive outreach to nearby residents. Biz Works will offer business training and mentoring and host a business plan competition. BizWorks Enterprise Center will train 30 students, retain and strengthen 10 businesses, create at least five jobs, and generate $50,000 in loans.

10.20.2021
Virginia on track to close digital divide by 2024 Governor Northam announced that Virginia has received a record number of local and private sector applications to match state broadband investments, putting the Commonwealth on track to become one of the first states to achieve universal broadband access by 2024. Virginia anticipates more than $2 billion in total broadband funding, thanks to local and private sector matching funds that go beyond the $874 million in state appropriations since the Governor took office in 2018. “Broadband is as critical today as electricity was in the last century,” said Governor Northam. “Making sure more Virginians can get access to it has been a priority since I took office, and the pandemic pushed us all to move even faster. Virginia is now on track to achieve universal broadband by 2024, which means more connections, more investments, easier online learning, and expanded telehealth options, especially in rural Virginia.” The Virginia Telecommunication Initiative is the Commonwealth’s broadband program. It was started in 2017 to fund public-private partnerships to extend broadband service to areas unserved by an internet service provider. When the most recent application round closed last month, the program received 57 applications from 84 localities, requesting $943 million to connect more than 250,000 Virginia homes and businesses. These applications leverage $1.15 billion in private and local matching funds. The Department of Housing and Community Development is reviewing applications and expects to award the funds by the end of the year.  Virginia has taken dramatic steps on broadband since Governor Northam took office in 2018, as Virginia’s first rural Governor in a generation. He set out a clear goal: achieve universal access to broadband within 10 years. The goal was bold, as Virginia’s broadband program was investing just $4 million a year and 660,000 Virginians did not have access to high-speed internet. Since then, Governor Northam and the General Assembly have awarded $124 million in grants to connect more than 140,000 homes, businesses, and community organizations. The Virginia Telecommunication Initiative has awarded 39 projects in 41 different counties, supported by over $94 million in matching private and local funds. Along with private investment and federal broadband grants, the Commonwealth has reduced the digital divide by 65 percent. Plans accelerated further in August, when Governor Northam and the General Assembly allocated $700 million in American Rescue Plan funding to broadband, moving the original goal for achieving universal access to 2024. “Ensuring that rural Virginians have access to broadband is the number one way we can make sure they  have equal access to the economic, educational, and health opportunities that broadband provides,” said Broadband Advisory Council Vice-Chair Delegate Roslyn Tyler. “No Virginian should be left behind. Thanks to Governor Northam’s commitment to get universal broadband done, we’re seeing record levels of public and private sector matching funds, and we’ll have this critical infrastructure available to all Virginians more quickly than we imagined.” “Broadband a vital resource for communities across the Commonwealth,” said Broadband Advisory Council Chair Senator Jennifer Boysko. “Broadband access allows our citizens to connect to their workplaces, schools, and doctors, and broadens their opportunities and choices about where to live and work. The Northam administration’s investment in broadband, paired with these matching funds, will get universal broadband access to Virginians in record time.” The overwhelming response to this year’s Virginia Telecommunication Initiative grant round demonstrates that Virginia has built an innovative and successful model for bridging the digital divide.

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DHCD's Housing Innovations in Energy Efficiency (HIEE) Program is funded through Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) proceeds. The program will make energy efficiency upgrades to new and existing residential buildings to reduce energy bills for low-income Virginians

Virginia Governor's Housing Conference

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Local Government Exchange Program

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