City of Waynesboro December Update & Focus: In 2017, Grow Waynesboro entered its second year as Waynesboro’s entrepreneurial and small business development program and held its second start-up competition, The Search Downtown. This year’s three winners were awarded $51,000 in grants to assist in areas like leasehold improvements, marketing, rent, and inventory.
While the 2017 grant recipients open their businesses, the 2016 awardees continue to grow and create jobs in the community. Grow Waynesboro has a sustained focus on educational opportunities for entrepreneurs opening businesses in Waynesboro. In the past two years the program has put over 30 people through business planning classes and provided additional training in marketing and QuickBooks. Additionally, the program has created networking opportunities by crafting a co-working space downtown and supplying 14 memberships to the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Going into 2018, Grow Waynesboro seeks to deepen relationships with building owners in an effort to pair new businesses to vacant buildings through branded signage. Efforts to train entrepreneurs and assist them with access to capital are ongoing.
City of Staunton November Update & Focus: Last fall (2016) the City of Staunton submitted applications for three transportation projects totaling 11.5 million under VDOT’s Smart Scale Program. The Commonwealth Transportation Board met in June and approved Virginia’s Six-Year Improvement place for fiscal years 2019-2023. The approval included funding for of all three Staunton City Projects. The awarded funding includes the projects, as outlined below:
View entire City of Staunton blog.
Shenandoah County October Update & Focus: Shenandoah County continues to leverage its location along the I-81 corridor to promote growth and economic development opportunities. Earlier this year, the county also restructured its economic development efforts by combining the Economic Development Director role and Director of Tourism role into one, making Jenna French Director of Tourism and Business Development for the county. This restructuring supports all types of business within Shenandoah County from small entrepreneurs to major industry and everyone in between. View entire Shenandoah County blog.
Rockbridge County August Update & Focus: Rockbridge County's achievements over the last year have been vast and varied, from education to outdoor recreation, and much in between.
The Rivermont School, which is a therapeutic educational programs for special needs students ranging in ages between 5 and 22, held its grand opening on August 2nd. Rivermont helps students learn to manage their behavior to return to their home schools and become productive citizens. The program moved into the vacated Rockbridge Middle School property, which has offered a new life to a previously vacated school.
In other exciting educational news, Byers Technical Institute (BTI) held its grand opening on August 9th. BTI is a certified State and AWS welding school located on Route 501 in the southern part of the County. The school will focus on providing local businesses with certified, quality welders, which are high in demand but short in supply. View entire Rockbridge County blog.
Page County July Update & Focus: The Page County Economic Development Authority (EDA) began monthly meetings in the Spring of 2017 to focus on reviewing and updating the county’s strategic plan for economic development. While the plan is still under review, early results include the establishment of a workforce development program that will be implemented through ongoing industry roundtables. This program will be a collaborative effort, partnering with Page County Technical Center, Lord Fairfax Community College, and local businesses. The EDA has also begun development of new business and retention programs, which are expected to launch in late summer.
View entire Page County blog.
Highland County June 2017 Focus & Update: “We love our entrepreneurs – both home-grown and those who move here -- we will help you pursue your dreams!”
That is the message the EDA of Highland sent this spring when it made grants to three local businesses. All three businesses provided evidence that growing their market will result in adding new jobs in the community. View entire Highland County blog.
Main Street Lexington launched the Lexington Collaboratory and Makerspace, which is designed to provide equipment, resources, and a community for hobbyists and entrepreneurs to make ideas come to life. Through engagement and interaction with people of all ages, Lexington hopes to become a place for connection, inspiration, and creation in Rockbridge. Be on the lookout for information regarding available resources in the City, as well as the Lexington Collaboratory and Makerspace. View entire City of Lexington blog.
The City of Harrisonburg's April Update & Focus: The global cybersecurity market is projected to increase from $67 billion in 2011 to $156 billion by 2019. This explosive growth of the cybersecurity sector provides an economic opportunity for the City of Harrisonburg. By maximizing the existing assets available in the area and developing new ones, Harrisonburg can be positioned to tap into this fast growing industry.
Harrisonburg Economic Development has set out on a course to build a successful cybersecurity eco-system, consisting of a sustainable workforce, partnerships with education, quality infrastructure, support from the government and interaction amongst peers in the industry. The first step in creating that eco-system is to understand the needs of the industry. View entire City of Harrisonburg blog.
The City of Buena Vista March Update & Focus: Advanced manufacturing laboratory courses will be developed to help meet the skills needed by local industry, including careers as electrical and instrumentation technicians, HVAC technicians, fabricators, industrial maintenance technicians, welders and other high-demand careers. As existing industries continue to grow and expand, the City of Buena Vista and its partners are working to help solve their current and future workforce needs.
View entire City of Buena Vista blog.
Bath County February Update & Focus: The Bath County Economic Development Authority and the Bath County Office of Tourism and Economic Development, partnering with the Shenandoah Valley Partnership (SVP), the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), successfully recruited Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. to Bath County in 2016. Bath County is proud that Speyside, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of oak barrels, will invest $5 million into the County and create up to 35 jobs manufacturing barrel staves. Importantly, this operation will also be sourcing 80% of its timber needs from Virginia landowners. The Commonwealth of Virginia and Bath County were jointly able to leverage a Governor’s Agriculture & Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund award to incentivize this operation, along with workforce funding support from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). Speyside is on track to be open for business by early September of 2017. View entire Bath County blog.
Augusta County January Update & Focus: Augusta County continues to move forward in 2017 with its focus on business attraction, business retention and expansion, and entrepreneurial support. Mill Place Commerce Park, a 371-acre commercial and industrial Park owned by Augusta County and located in Verona, Virginia, is one of Augusta County’s major assets for supporting these economic development priorities.
After a year-long analysis, the Richmond-based engineering firm Timmons Group completed a comprehensive study of Mill Place Commerce Park which resulted in a new and improved Development Plan. This draft plan was presented to the Augusta County Board of Supervisors on January 23, 2017. Based on the study’s consideration of utility, environmental, transportation, and road connector factors, Timmons Group determined Mill Place Commerce Park to be nearly a Tier 4 site on the TG Site Readiness Scale. View entire Augusta County blog.