Highland County May 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.


Big Fish Cider received a $5,000 grant to improve its packaging systems so it could more easily expand into offering ciders at restaurants. “Big Fish had the most growth potential of any applicant,” noted EDA member Robin Sullenberger.  Owner, Kirk Billingsley was raised in Highland and that is where he learned his love of apples and cider making. 


Church Hill Produce received $3,200 to secure “GAP” certification (Good Agricultural Practices), which is a voluntary audit process verifying fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled and stored safely according to recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, USDA. The certification will help the company expand its sales. Michael and Keri Sponaugle, owners of Church Hill Produce were born and raised here; they are raising two young sons on their farm located in Doe Hill.


Fireside Farm received $1,800 to purchase equipment for its laying hens, which expands the farms offerings.  Jim and Catie King, owners of Fireside Farm are new to the area. 


IMADE3D won the “Innovation in Emerging Business Award” Wednesday, May 3 at the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council’s 17th annual “Tech Nite” at the James Madison University Festival Center. IMADE3D believes that there is no better way to understand 3D printing, and its potential for remaking the nation’s manufacturing sector, than to build your own 3D printer. 

IMADE3D has designed a DIY 3D printer kit, the ‘JellyBOX,’ specifically for educational purposes. JellyBOX is easy to build and use, and can be assembled and disassembled quickly using zip ties. It is the only reusable kit on the market and the only one designed specifically for education. Its price point is competitive and, because it can be used more than once, it is a cost-effective option for (shared workspaces) and school systems. It is easy for teachers and students to build their machines, calibrate them, and use them to produce products for their communities.

The award was acceptby by IMADE3D owners Ladi Goc and his wife, Ivana Gocova, based on the nomination made by Highland EDA.

To learn more about opportunities in Highland County, contact Betty or Josh at 540-468-1922 or highlandcenter@htcnet.org