GO Virginia board approves Startup Shenandoah Valley grant proposal
The GO Virginia board has approved a grant proposal that will fund virtual acceleration programming, infrastructure buildout, and ecosystem builders across the region for an investment total of over $1 million.
The proposal, submitted by the Staunton Creative Community Fund and multiple Shenandoah Valley partners, will support Startup Shenandoah Valley Program, 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 2018 TEConomy consultant report for Region 8 highlighted four Potential Priority Action Items for building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“We are thrilled to receive this state grant award to strengthen our entrepreneurs’ opportunities to build vibrant and sustainable new ventures in the Valley,” said Mary Lou Bourne, executive director of James Madison Innovations and chair of GO VA Region 8 Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Advisory Committee. “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,” said Ellen Brock, president of the SCCF Board of Directors.
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.