Grow Waynesboro announces start-up grant awards
Grow Waynesboro announced the final grant awards for four local businesses, helping them to create jobs and build a culture of entrepreneurship in Waynesboro. This marks the third year of the Grow Waynesboro initiative and the first year the program was funded through local sponsorship with funding from Lumos Networks, Shentel, and Union Bank and Trust.
Once again, the City partnered with the Staunton Creative Community Fund and the Valley Small Business Development Center to assist applicants in developing their business plans and preparing them to launch or expand their businesses. Applicants completed an eight-week business planning class and a pitch workshop facilitated by the Staunton Creative Community Fund. Participants received one-on-one counseling and expertise from a host of guest speakers with specific business experience. In the fall, the Valley Small Business Development Center will work with the awardees on their marketing plans.
“We are excited by the continued community support of this program that has had an impact on downtown and beyond,” says Courtney Cranor, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Tourism for the City of Waynesboro. “Not only did we receive funding support from within the community, but also a great turnout for the live pitch night. We are beginning to see a ripple effect beyond the businesses awarded grant funding. Entrepreneurs are increasingly attracted to Waynesboro’s support of our small businesses.”
Judges chose the awards based on a diversity of criteria, including the start-ups’ job creation, their business viability and readiness, as well as their positive impacts on Waynesboro. “Supporting businesses that will create jobs and add to the economic vitality of Waynesboro weighed into the judges decision-making process,” says Greg Hitchin, Director of Economic Development and Tourism.
The businesses chosen to receive the 2018 Grow Waynesboro grant awards are:
- The Blue Ridge Children’s Museum, awarded a $10,000 matching grant, to aid in their transition from operating as a museum without walls to a bricks and mortar incubator space as the museum continues to grow.
- Pyramid, awarded $6,000, will become the area’s first new-age store. Owner Anh Stanley has been marketing their handcrafted skin care products and candles for ten years to clients as diverse as Giorgio Armani and Eagles quarterback, Nick Foles. Pyramid desires a downtown Waynesboro location to pair with their online presence.
- The City Cow, awarded $4,000 to launch a bike rental program from their downtown location. Owner Becky Kincaid has targeted partnerships with other downtown businesses to encourage visitors to take advantage of Waynesboro’s bike-friendly routes and Greenway Trail.
- LoStro Entertainment, awarded $2,000, is an entertainment company, that will be booking for several of owner, Lorie Strother’s, acts as well as other local performers.
“We are looking forward to working with this year’s recipients to establish or expand their businesses and to growing this program to support small business and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Waynesboro,” says Cranor.
For additional information, or photographs, please contact Courtney Cranor, Assistant Director for Economic Development and Tourism.