Governor McAuliffe announces 14 winners of first-ever Community Business Launch

virginia-newGovernor Terry McAuliffe today announced that 14 entrepreneurs were awarded grants to open or expand their businesses through the Virginia Community Business Launch (CBL) initiative. The pilot program supports small business development and included three $100,000 grants to Gloucester, Staunton and Hopewell.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Entrepreneurship and small business development are important components of my administration’s strategy to build a new Virginia economy.  The CBL Initiative fosters strong ecosystems for entrepreneurs and small businesses in Virginia’s communities, an indispensable ingredient for them to thrive.”

“Job growth in the Commonwealth requires entrepreneurs and small businesses in every community across the state. CBL is demonstrating the power of public and private sector partners collaborating to create and sustain best-in-class business environments that help our communities prosper,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.

CBL utilizes local business competitions to find and foster entrepreneurs that connect with a community’s unique small business development strategy and vision for its future. This year’s entrepreneurs went through a rigorous eight-week course to comprehensively prepare to operate successful businesses in their downtown or neighborhood commercial district. The competition ended with a pitch night where the participating entrepreneurs gave brief presentations of their business and their plan for moving forward. In each community, several winners were chosen to receive grants and in-kind support for the launch or expansion of their business. In addition to the grants provided through CBL, additional local partnerships provided marketing, rental and utility assistance to numerous winners and even funded an additional $5,000 grant for an additional business.

Winners from the 2015 CBL include:


Business NameOwnerGrant Amount
Latitudes Fair Trade StoreAnna Schoenduby$12,000
EccoHollow Art and SoundWavley Groves$10,000
3 Snugbugs StudiosPatty Brower$10,000
106.3FM WQSV Community RadioTom DuMontier$10,000
Staunton Olive Oil CompanyMichelle Gallaugher$4,000
TraipseDarren Smith$4,000


Business NameOwnerGrant Amount
Sweet Tooth ParlorCrystal Burton$20,000
The Nines Pet Boutique and PhotographyKarin Fary$10,000
Essential Wellness BodyworkJill Reece and Ginger Platsis$5,000


Business NameOwnerGrant Amount
Fat BabsDave McCormack$20,000
Sweet ToothCraig Richards$20,000
The Greedy SpoonMarilyn Craig$15,000
K and J FitnessLamonz Tyler$15,000

The program is currently accepting applications from communities for the CBL program for the upcoming year. For more information about the Virginia Community Business Launch, visit

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