Awarding Businesses in a Difficult Economy - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Awarding Businesses in a Difficult Economy

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UVA's Darden School of Business is once again honoring companies that are achieving success in communities that face economic hardship. Last year, five companies received the Tayloe Murphy Resilience Award and one winner is taking advantage of their prize by attending Darden's Executive Education Program this week.

Tom Bandy owns a software company called BandyWorks in Petersburg, Virginia.

"We've grown pretty fast and we have a great board of friends that are helping us but we've reached a point where we're stretching beyond our regional management structure," Bandy said.

To better manage his company, he's attending Darden's week long Executive Education Program. While others in the course paid roughly $10,000 to participate, Bandy is getting the education for free.

"I'm really grateful for the opportunity," Bandy said.

Bandy is one of five winners of the 2010 Tayloe Murphy Resilience Award. To apply, businesses in manufacturing, retail, service and the wholesale industry had to demonstrate growth and promote economic uplift in their community. Gregory Fairchild is Executive Director of the Tayloe Murphy Center.

"Our finalists were businesses that had triple digit growth rates per year in revenue and also had double digit, high double digit, 80 percent or more growth rates in the employees that they were adding," Fairchild said.

Companies must also be located in areas of Virginia where unemployment and poverty are above the state average. Waynesboro is one of those qualifying communities.

"Waynesboro was founded on manufacturing and at one point half of our workforce was in manufacturing. Today it's in the low teens," Greg Hitchin, Director of Economic Development for the City of Waynesboro, said.

The Tayloe Murphy Resilience Award highlights struggling communities that still have businesses that are thriving.

"Even in tough communities there are great businesses and we hope that others will read about them, see them, emulate them and support them," Fairchild said.

Applications for the Tayloe Murphy Resilience Award opens May 2nd. The deadline is June 30th. Winners will be announced in September.

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