Northam announces $780K in GO Virginia grants

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Gov. Ralph Northam announced more than $780,000 in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) funding for five regional projects.

The GO Virginia Board, which includes key members of the Governor’s cabinet, the General Assembly, and the business community, reviewed and approved three grant requests, and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) reviewed and administratively approved two additional grants. These grants will support efforts to strengthen and diversify regional economies, build a more robust pipeline of workers to support targeted industry sectors, and encourage collaboration among local governments, public sector partners, and private industry.

“GO Virginia is fostering regional collaboration among business, education, and government leaders and supporting the implementation of innovative approaches to meet their workforce and economic development needs and address structural barriers that may impede regional growth,” said Northam. “These grant awards will also leverage an additional $904,000 in non-state resources to assist with economic diversification throughout Virginia and build new capacity in our communities, helping to position them for long-term success.”

The GO Virginia grants will be used to implement projects that align with each region’s Growth and Diversification Plan. These locally developed plans identify priority industry sectors and strategies based on each region’s assets. Initiatives that advance strategies developed through the planning process are key in strengthening each region’s economy and creating better career opportunities for Virginians. The board approved the most recent revisions to the nine regional Growth and Diversification plans, which are updated biennially.

“The diversity of projects funded by the Governor is testament to the unique needs of each GO Virginia region,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These projects support a wide variety of strategies, including building strong entrepreneurial ecosystems, enhancing workforce development and strengthening our ability to support industries and emerging technologies.”

In addition to the grants, the board approved a new policy that will allow the nine GO Virginia regions to apply for future funding for regional broadband planning efforts, as well as support select middle-mile broadband infrastructure projects focused on meeting the business needs of a community.

“GO Virginia represents the coming together of public and private sector partners to develop transformational strategies for regional prosperity,” said Delegate Chris Jones. “These grants are a result of the hard work of many players across the Commonwealth and we look forward to seeing their results.”

Since the inception of the program in 2017, GO Virginia has funded 65 projects and awarded more than $33 million to support regional economic development efforts. Individuals interested in learning more about GO Virginia and activities in their region can visit the DHCD website.

2019 ROUND 3 REGIONAL GRANT AWARDS

GO Virginia Region and Partnering LocalitiesProject NameProject DescriptionAward

(Type)

Region 2: Towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Montgomery, Pulaski, and Roanoke counties, and the city of RoanokeBlockchain Ecosystem CatalystVirginia Tech will develop and implement a Blockchain Ecosystem Catalyst program that will encourage entrepreneurship and commercialization of blockchain technologies. The project will train educators and mid-career professionals to expand the number of workers skilled to support the application of blockchain and related distributed ledger systems.$246,800
(Per Capita)
Region 2: Botetourt, Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Roanoke counties, the cities of Salem and Radford, and the town of VintonDeveloping a Destination for TalentVirginia Tech’s Office of Career and Professional Development will develop regional hubs to connect local employers, students, Virginia Tech faculty, and economic development officials. The program will create a pipeline of talent from Virginia Tech to employers in the region’s identified priority industry clusters through an internship program and create expanded opportunities for Virginia Tech faculty to collaborate with employers and interns on technology transfer projects.$300,000
(Per Capita)
Region 3: Region wide/Southside VirginiaEntrepreneurship and Innovation Investment StrategyMid-Atlantic Broadband Communities and Longwood University’s Small Business Development Center will develop a comprehensive strategy to map and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem for the region.$100,000
(Per Capita)
Region 1: Wise County and the city of NortonProject OasisInvestSWVA, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), will evaluate sites within the region suitable to attract data centers. InvestSWVA will also explore the development of tools to utilize mine-pool water reclamation to support data center operations.$50,000

(Enhanced Capacity Building)

Region 5: Town of Exmore and Accomack and Northampton countiesThe GIG (Gather + Innovate + Grow)The Eastern Shore Foundation will work to strengthen its assets to encourage and support entrepreneurism by providing broadband-connected co-working space, startup business support services, and space for small-scale production and prototyping.$85,117

(Enhanced Capacity Building)

TOTAL:$781,917


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