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Waynesboro: Entrepreneurs eligible for start-up grants through competition

Waynesboro, VirginiaLocal entrepreneurs planning to launch a Waynesboro business are invited to participate in the Grow Waynesboro Main & Wayne training and start-up grant competition.

Existing and aspiring downtown business owners are eligible for one of three prizes totaling $48,000.

Grow Waynesboro Main & Wayne is a business training program designed to provide a base of business fundamentals to individuals looking to start or expand a business in Waynesboro.

Following the completion of an eight-week program, selected individuals will be invited to present their business plan at a live pitch night and compete for start-up grants.

Grants will be available for businesses opening a new storefront in the downtown historic district by Sept. 30, 2023.

Aspiring entrepreneurs, or existing businesses looking to expand, may submit their business idea via the GrowWaynesboro.com portal through 10 a.m. on Jan. 23.

Applicants will be selected to proceed in an eight-week business planning class and intensive small business coaching program.

During that time, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to develop their business plans, draft marketing campaigns, identify storefront locations, refine cash flow projections and network with local mentors and business development experts.

Any business type, including for profit, nonprofit, home-based businesses, retail storefronts, professional services, manufacturing and more may submit their idea and take advantage of the training.

“Grow Waynesboro is comprehensive in its approach,” says Greg Hitchin, the city’s Director of Economic Development and Tourism. “We’re encouraging as many ideas and submissions as possible to take advantage of this top-notch business training plus start-up grants to ensure that the best ideas will have both the capital and expertise they need to succeed in Waynesboro.”

Once entrepreneurs have successfully completed the business planning course, their final ideas will compete for three grants totaling $48,000, providing much needed capital for leasehold improvements, equipment and more.

A panel of judges will prioritize job creation, filling empty storefronts in the historic district, and the ability to successfully launch by September 2023 in their review of the final proposals.

Additional information may be found at www.GrowWaynesboro.com/main-wayne/

The GWMW program has been made possible by a $45,000 grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development Community Business Launch Program.

Waynesboro was one of three communities to receive the CBL grant as announced by Governor Youngkin on Oct. 7.

Additional funding is provided by the City of Waynesboro, the Waynesboro Economic Development Authority and local sponsors.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.