Governor Terry McAuliffe today unveiled the first ever Virginia Community Business Launch (CBL) and announced the first three communities that will each receive up to $100,000 for small business development: The cities of Staunton and Hopewell and Gloucester Courthouse in Gloucester County. The pilot program is an initiative of Governor McAuliffe’s new Virginia economy Strategic Plan, falling under the pillars of economic development, entrepreneurship and small business development.
“Small business development is critical for building a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Through this new initiative, we are placing the community at the center of small business development in order to help Virginia entrepreneurs thrive and contribute to our state economy starting in their own backyards.”
The CBL is designed to assist communities in taking a systems approach to defining and pursuing an asset-based small business development strategy. The program starts with a community’s unique vision for its future and then uses a local business competition to find and foster the entrepreneurs that connect with that vision. CBL will provide the tools to effectively prepare multiple entrepreneurs to operate successful businesses in a downtown or neighborhood commercial district and allow them to compete for funding to start up their new endeavor.
While only a limited number of entrepreneurs may win the business competitions, CBL will give rise to many budding entrepreneurs that have been prepared, through the CBL initiative, to be successful businesses. In addition, it will help communities begin to develop a coordinated, comprehensive sustainable environment that identifies, launches and supports community-based entrepreneurs and small business at all levels of development.
“Small business is the backbone of communities around the Commonwealth. They provide jobs, they provide talent, and they end up leading our civic organizations and help our children to pursue their dreams,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “Entrepreneurship is a key component of our economic strategy, and we want to foster the development of these individuals and their ideas.”
For more information about the Virginia Community Business Launch, visit www.dhcd.virginia.gov.