New round of Virginia grants aimed at addressing COVID-19 economic impacts

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Three Economic Resilience and Recovery Program projects that will help Virginia communities mitigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 public health response are among those being funded through $6 million in GO Virginia grants announced this week.

The ERP projects will leverage an additional $6.5 million in local and other non-state resources to assist with ongoing economic diversification and growth efforts throughout the Commonwealth.

Also announced this week is support from GO Virginia for two statewide projects and six regional projects that will be oriented toward growing Virginia’s business-ready sites portfolio, provide additional capacity to expand talent pipelines in key industries, and support the growth of startup businesses engaged in coastal resiliency and life sciences initiatives.

“These projects leverage the assets of each region and forge innovative partnerships that will help tackle some of our most pressing challenges,” Gov. Ralph Northam said. “GO Virginia is providing exactly the kind of investment we need to move our economy forward, drive private-sector growth, and continue our progress toward an equitable and sustainable recovery in the months ahead.”

“The GO Virginia regional councils are demonstrating that we can approach our economic recovery strategically even amid this incredibly challenging year,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These awarded projects will help address the wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic while supporting job creation and new investment in high-growth sectors.”

“GO Virginia has succeeded in creating a framework for strategic thinking in at the regional level,” said GO Virginia Board Vice Chair Nancy Howell Agee. “The mission of the program is perhaps even more relevant today than it was when we announced our first grant. Growing and diversifying regional economies while creating high quality jobs for Virginians is a goal we share with our partners across the Commonwealth.”

Since the program began in 2017, GO Virginia has funded 149 projects and awarded approximately $52.2 million to support regional economic development efforts.

The 24-person GO Virginia Board includes members of the Governor’s cabinet, the business community, and the General Assembly.

Additional information about the GO Virginia program is available at dhcd.virginia.gov/gova.

GO Virginia grants: Round 4

Virginia Bio Connect

$1,599,653
Region 2: City of Roanoke
Region 4 (lead): Counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, and Powhatan and the city of Richmond
Region 5: City of Virginia Beach
Region 7: Counties of Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William
Region 9: Counties of Albemarle, Culpeper, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, and Orange and the city of Charlottesville
Virginia Bio Connect aims to create jobs in the bioscience industry by forming four new “BioHubs” to serve existing and emerging life science companies. Virginia Bio Connect will offer programming and collaboration with established partners and help close the talent gap by facilitating job connections, internships, and network opportunities. This initiative will also create a statewide virtual entrepreneur-in-resident network that brings together experts from diverse backgrounds with life science industry expertise to support early-stage life science companies.

Launching a Coastal Resilience and Adaptation Economy

$2,937,163
Region 5: Counties of Accomack and Northampton, the cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach, and the town of Chincoteague
Region 6 (lead): Counties of Essex, Gloucester, King and Queen, King William, Mathews, and Middlesex and the towns of Tappahannock, Urbanna, and West Point
The Coastal Resilience and Adaptation Economy initiative will lay the foundation for a long-term, high-paying industry cluster by supporting business plan competitions and accelerator services. The initiative will form an industry/education consortium to engage with the broader business community about the risks and economic impacts of sea level rise and build capacity for adoption of resilient practices.

Wildwood Natural Gas Extension

$527,600
Region 1: Counties of Carroll and Grayson and the city of Galax
The Blue Ridge Crossroads Economic Development Authority will provide natural gas access to the Wildwood Commerce Park to position the site for future industrial development opportunities.

Central Virginia Community College Career and Technical Education Academy

$266,000
Region 2: Counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell and the city of Lynchburg
Central Virginia Community College has partnered with 10 regional high schools and industry stakeholders to develop career pathways training models and launch four new credentialing programs. The Career and Technical Education Academy aims to build a broader pool of job-ready talent in the region and will enable students to pursue well-defined career education that leads to high-paying job opportunities.

LaGrange Industrial Park Master Planning and Preliminary Engineering Report

$76,992
Region 6: Counties of Essex, King and Queen, and Middlesex and the town of Tappahannock
Essex County will work with King and Queen and Middlesex counties, and the town of Tappahannock to improve 29 acres in the LaGrange Industrial Park and increase the site’s marketability. This project will escalate the site from a Tier 2 to at least a Tier 3 in accordance with the Virginia Business Ready Site Program, providing a business-ready site for new firms in the region’s targeted industry sectors and laying the foundational groundwork for the creation of a Regional Industrial Facility Authority.

Regional Robotics Innovation Hub

$73,000
Region 5: Cities of Hampton, Newport News, and Norfolk
The Hampton Roads Alliance will conduct trend, situational, and supply chain analyses to identify best practices and competitive niches to accelerate and interconnect technology innovation. These analyses focus on key Hampton Roads industries including manufacturing, digital shipbuilding and repair, distribution and logistics, water technologies, modeling, and simulation.

RVA-757 Connects I-64 Corridor Talent Pipeline: Today and Tomorrow Initiative

$90,000
Region 4: Henrico County and the city of Richmond
Region 5: Counties of Isle of Wight, James City, and York and the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg
RVA-757 Connects will develop a strategy to create jobs for the Hampton Roads and Richmond regional talent pool. This initiative will focus on the region’s priority industry sectors, identify the major trends that will impact the talent pool of tomorrow, and develop a plan of action for the future.

Venture Central

$300,000
Region 9: Albemarle County and the city of Charlottesville
Venture Central will work with firms that have high-growth potential in targeted industry sectors, connecting entrepreneurs and early-stage companies to a network of service providers that will improve the startup and survival rate of firms in the region. Through a partnership with the Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce, Venture Central will help entrepreneurs start and grow new ventures through a physical front door with concierge-style services and a network of support organizations with access to space for meetings, lectures, and events. This initiative will also include targeted programming, such as pitch nights, mentoring, and accelerator activities.

Economic Resilience and Recovery Grants

Capital Region Small Business Development Center Launch

$30,500
Region 4: Counties of Chesterfield, Goochland, and Henrico, the city of Richmond, and the town of Ashland
Small Business Development Center (SBDC) business advisors will provide confidential one-on-one business advising and group training to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. Virginia Community Capital (VCC) is serving as host to the Capital Region SBDC for the Greater Richmond area.

Virginia Virtual Maritime Trades Training

$100,000
Region 5: Cities of Hampton, Newport News, and Norfolk
This project seeks to address the high demand for training in shipbuilding and ship repair by investing in virtual training at Tidewater Community College, Thomas Nelson Community College, Paul D. Camp Community College, and the Apprentice School. The investment will allow for greater social distancing among trainees and minimize touch points on manufacturing equipment and training mockup structures. The simulations will put students in realistic job settings where they can work scenarios replicated in a safe environment without the risk of injury, damage to equipment, loss of materials, or exposure to COVID-19.

Regional Business and Professional Connector Platform

$76,500
Region 9: Counties of Albemarle, Culpeper, Fauquier, Fluvanna, Madison, Nelson, and Orange and the city of Charlottesville
The Connector Platform is a cloud-based interactive mobile application and website platform with a region-wide interactive search and filtering functionality that allows users to find regional business data, resources, and services. It will include a dedicated COVID-19 information and resources page, a central business location for individuals and businesses to connect, a business referral network, a resource map, an education center, an events calendar, a job board, and more.


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