STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - Entrepreneurs in the Shenandoah Valley will have a new opportunity to speed-up their business ideas.
Go Virginia approved the Startup Shenandoah Valley Program (S2V) that was submitted by the Staunton Creative Community Fund.
S2V was developed to help entrepreneurs accelerate their business ideas in the areas of food processing, light manufacturing, information technology and more.
The program will also help with infrastructure build out and ecosystem builders across the region.
GoVirginia and Staunton Creative Community Fund are partners in the program.
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Staunton Creative Community Fund Press Release:
Shenandoah Valley, VA (June 24, 2020) – The GO Virginia State board approved the grant proposal submitted by the Staunton Creative Community Fund and multiple Shenandoah Valley partners on Tuesday, June 23rd. The proposal will fund virtual acceleration programming, infrastructure buildout, and ecosystem builders across the region for an investment total of over $1 million.
The Startup Shenandoah Valley Program (S2V) will be a part of the greater Shenandoah Valley entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Shenandoah Valley is a unique rural region with multiple budding hubs throughout the area including Winchester, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Lexington and Waynesboro, each at different levels of development. Each hub, either itself or within the immediate surrounding area, has strong traded sector diversification, supportive institutions of higher education, and various existing entrepreneurial assets.
Startup Shenandoah Valley (S2V) is a virtual acceleration program that will target entrepreneurs with scalable business ideas, particularly those focused on Region 8′s traded sectors of food processing, light manufacturing, information technology, cybersecurity, and biomedical and biotechnical. In addition to the customized virtual accelerator programming the grant will also support dedicated workspace and entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure buildout throughout the region, along with the hiring of two dedicated ecosystem builders to support the network and programming. Infrastructure buildout includes the purchase of equipment for many of the partner organizations like Innovault, Valley Makers Association, The Perch, 143 CoWork, Staunton Innovation Hub, Strasburg Coworking, and Warren EDA Coworking.
The December 2018 TEConomy consultant report for Region 8 highlighted four Potential Priority Action Items for building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. Startup Shenandoah Valley will address three of the four priority action items: Support advancement of integrated accelerators-incubators-coworking entrepreneurial hubs across the region; Leverage and support engagement of college and university business schools and professional service providers to assist startup companies from ideation through growth and scale-up; and Catalyze follow-up venture funding to go beyond initial risk capital sources in the region.
Mary Lou Bourne, Executive Director of James Madison Innovations and Chair of GO VA Region 8 Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Advisory Committee which led the grant application effort, reports that “We are thrilled to receive this state grant award to strengthen our entrepreneurs’ opportunities to build vibrant and sustainable new ventures in the Valley. Through collaboration with leaders in our business and economic development organizations as well as higher education partners, we developed a vision for helping entrepreneurs be successful in rural regions. I am grateful to all who participated to create and support this vision, and particularly to the Staunton Creative Community Fund as the non-profit entity and applicant positioned to execute the acceleration program and network infrastructure across the Valley.”
“We have long realized that in order to sustain the programs our entrepreneurs and small businesses need, SCCF has to operate on a regional scale in an integrated system with partner organizations. The timing for this grant couldn’t be better, given the acute challenges to our region’s entrepreneurs brought on by the pandemic. We are excited that Debbie is advancing this vision of SCCF’s potential.” said Ellen Brock, President of the Board of Directors for SCCF.
The Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity (GO Virginia) is a business-led initiative that was formed to foster private-sector growth and diversification across nine economic development regions in the Commonwealth. State financial incentives designated for regional projects that encourage collaboration between private sector companies, workforce, education, and government are administered by the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board.
George Pace, past Chair of the GO Virginia Region 8 Council, is “very pleased to see this proposal was approved by the State Board and I’m looking forward to working alongside the program partners to make this program impactful across the region.”
Region 8 represents the Shenandoah Valley and includes the counties of Augusta, Bath, Clarke, Frederick, Highland, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren; and the cities of Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Staunton, Waynesboro, and Winchester. The Regional Council consists of 28 members and is supported by the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission (NSVRC); the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission (CSPDC); and the Shenandoah Valley Partnership (SVP).
For more information on GO Virginia, visit online at Shenandoah Valley Partnership or Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.