The New River Valley Regional Commission worked with the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to pursue a grant from the GO Virginia regional economic development program. The GO Virginia Region 2 council awards grants to economic development projects that advance high-wage job creation in their area (Region 2 includes the New River Valley, Roanoke, and Lynchburg regions). For more information on GO Virginia, please visit: http://govirginia.org/regions/two/.
The NRVRC helped to develop an application to the GO Virginia grant program that would provide the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center with the additional funding they need to expand small business development counseling and technical assistance services to New River Valley-based businesses. The New River Valley has not had a local branch of the statewide Small Business Development Center network since the closure of the Radford SBDC in 2016. Since that time, the Roanoke Regional SBDC has provided limited service for New River Valley-based businesses to access the SBDC network’s business development resources, but has not been able to raise the funds necessary to provide full-time staff and locally-tailored service delivery for this expanded service area. For more information, please visit: https://roanokesmallbusiness.org/.
In September 2018, the GO Virginia Region 2 Council announced an $85,000 grant award to the Roanoke Regional SBDC to support their New River Valley expansion project, providing the resources to add a full-time counselor focused exclusively on the New River Valley, and improving the ability for NRV-based businesses to meet with counselors at locations in the New River Valley. In addition, the project will support expanded services to businesses in GO Virginia’s target manufacturing and technology sectors, such as business plan development assistance or free marketing workshops and counseling, as well as access to free appointments with specialty business consultants.
The NRVRC helped secure pledges of $50,000 in matching funds from local governments to support the project, with local leaders showing great enthusiasm for the goal of expanding support for small business development in their communities. After the two-year grant funding is complete, local governments are planning for an annual contribution to continue funding for expanded SBDC services in the New River Valley, with additional support from fundraising efforts with private sector and institutional donors.
For more information about the NRVRC’s efforts to support regional economic development projects, please contact Patrick O’Brien at [email protected] or 540-639-9313 x206.