Economic Development


New acquisition comes just months after announcement of high-capacity sawmill in Weldon, N.C.

Springfield, Ore. – Just months after the announcement of a state-of-the-art lumber mill in Weldon, N.C., Roseburg Forest Products has purchased an additional 30,000 acres of timberland in Halifax County, N.C., and southeast Virginia. The well-managed loblolly pine plantations are in addition to the 158,000 acres of timberland that Roseburg owns in the Roanoke Valley area, making it the largest private timberland owner in the region.

“This expansion is just another example of our commitment to the Weldon community and investment in the surrounding Halifax County area,” Roseburg Senior Vice President of Resources Scott Folk said. “The addition of these high-quality properties to our existing Roanoke Tree Farm allows us to add more scale and operational efficiency to our southeastern timber operations.”  

In addition to this latest acquisition, Roseburg expects to break ground on Roanoke Valley Lumber in the first quarter of 2022, with startup scheduled for later in the year. The new 375,000-square-foot facility located on approximately 200 acres of land in Weldon will bring 137 jobs to the area over the next two years. The sawmill will be capable of producing as many as 400 million board feet of dimensional lumber per year, making it one of the highest-capacity mills on the East Coast.

For more information about the progress of the project, as well as upcoming hiring opportunities, please visit the Roanoke Valley Lumber website.

Governor Northam Announces More Than $4.4 Million to Revitalize Communities Across Virginia

Grants will support entrepreneurs and boost local economies

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that local business owners and community organizations will benefit from more than $4.4 million in grants for 33 investment projects across the Commonwealth.

These projects will create and support business development, economic recovery, and the redevelopment of industrial and commercial structures.

“This is about renovating old buildings, investing in neighborhoods, and launching new businesses,” said Governor Northam. “These projects will greatly benefit Virginia’s local economies and business owners.” 

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development administers these important programs, as well as some American Rescue Plan funds.

The Industrial Revitalization Fund leverages local and private resources to redevelop deteriorated structures. This creates more long-term employment opportunities and supports infrastructure and economic revitalization.

Community Business Launch grants help prepare businesses for success. Entrepreneurs can receive training and help with developing business plans.

The Virginia Statewide Business District Resurgence Grant supports historically economically disadvantaged communities and business districts that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“This funding will expand job growth, nurture entrepreneurial ecosystems, and provide support to communities most affected by the pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Supporting this funding means supporting the Commonwealth’s small businesses and an economic future that works for all Virginians.” 

2022 Industrial Revitalization Fund Awardees:

VUMAC Adaptive Reuse: Boutique Hotel | $600,000

Town of Blackstone

Blackstone Hotel Partners is rehabilitating a former women’s college into a boutique hotel with 109 rooms, a restaurant, microbrewery, gift shop, and movie theater. The funding will support public improvements, including water and sewer lines, stormwater solutions, sidewalks and curbs, electrical service, and a backup generator for the property. The project is expected to create 25 full-time equivalent positions, 35 jobs in total. 

Hotel Petersburg | $600,000

City of Petersburg

The city of Petersburg will renovate a 65-room hotel that was originally built in 1915. The owner, Tabb Street Development, will operate the facility in conjunction with Retro Hospitality, who has experience with boutique hotels in the region. The project is expected to create 60 full-time and 40 part-time jobs.

Carver Food Incubator and Community Kitchen | $470,000

Culpeper County

The former George Washington Carver Regional High School, located on Route 15 in Culpeper, was constructed in 1948 and served as the regional high school for African American students. Culpeper County is renovating the property to become a cultural, agricultural, and vocational business incubator with educational and research facilities. The funding will support the construction of a commercial kitchen, which will be used as a food business incubator, providing food truck services, a point source for locally grown products, and a community education kitchen. The George Washington Carver Food Enterprises Center will manage the kitchen. The project is expected to create 28-38 full-time positions.

2510 Jefferson Avenue | $250,000

City of Newport News

The city of Newport News will renovate a 1930-building into retail and office space. The Newport News Economic Development Authority acquired this property in June 2020. Since the acquisition, the city has created the Critical Community Improvements Plan, which outlines the plan for the 2510 Jefferson Avenue building. The project is expected to create and/or support 11 full-time positions.

2022 Community Business Launch Awardees:

RDA Dream Launch Entrepreneurship Program | $90,000

City of Danville

The Downtown Danville Association will organize a nine-week business training series, followed by a business plan pitch competition, focused on North Union/Spring Street, a historically Black commercial district adjacent to downtown Danville. Downtown Danville Association and its many partner organizations will focus on business types that serve the North Union neighborhood and will engage in outreach to identify potential entrepreneurs fitting with both the history and future of the area. At completion, the project will train more than 85 entrepreneurs, create or expand three businesses, and create at least five jobs.

Uptown Partnership Community Business Launch | $90,000

City of Martinsville

Uptown Partnership, in partnership with the Advancement Foundation, will host a 12-week business workshop series, followed by a business plan pitch competition, focused on Uptown Martinsville. Uptown Partnership recently completed a retail market analysis in 2021 and will use that information to guide its entrepreneurial outreach strategies, with a specific emphasis on small-scale manufacturing businesses and retail catering to the needs of uptown residents. At completion, the project will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs. 

Town of Bedford Business Launch | $65,000

Town of Bedford

The town of Bedford, in partnership with the Advancement Foundation, will host a 12-week series of business planning workshops culminating in a two-week pitch competition, focusing on entrepreneurs seeking to open in Centertown Bedford. Bedford aims to diversify its retail business mix with a focus on small-scale manufacturing businesses that offer retail shoppers the experience of watching products being made. At completion, Bedford will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.

Bristol Community Business Launch | $60,000

City of Bristol

Believe in Bristol will host a six-week business training series followed by a business plan pitch competition, focused on downtown Bristol. Believe in Bristol recently embarked on an assessment of small-scale manufacturers and would like to emphasize the addition of these types of retails to downtown. At completion, Believe in Bristol will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.

Wood Avenue Revitalization | $45,000

Town of Big Stone Gap

The town of Big Stone Gap will host a six-week business training series followed by a business plan pitch competition, focused on Wood Avenue in the historic downtown area of Big Stone Gap. Big Stone Gap will focus on specialty retail and restaurants to fill a critical mass of vacant properties in order to turn around a highly visible area of the community. At completion, the project will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.

Homegrown for Hopewell | $45,000

City of Hopewell

Hopewell Downtown Partnership, in partnership with Virginia State University, will host a six-week business workshop series, followed by a business plan pitch competition focused on downtown Hopewell. Hopewell Downtown Partnership will focus on businesses that will fill gaps in available services for residents and visitors to Hopewell, such as specialty grocery, outdoor recreation outfitters, and/or a small conference center/hotel. At completion, the project will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.

Scottsville Community Business Launch | $40,000

Town of Scottsville

The town of Scottsville, in partnership with the Community Investment Collaborative, will host an eight-week business workshop series followed by a business plan pitch competition, focused on downtown Scottsville. The town of Scottsville recently completed an assessment of its retail and housing market, identifying several retail business categories with opportunity for growth, such as restaurants, general merchandise, grocery, and specialty retail. At completion, the project will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.

2022 Virginia Statewide Business District Resurgence Grant Awardees

“Made in Bristol:” Small-Scale Manufacturing for State Street | $150,000

City of Bristol

Building on its small-scale manufacturing strategic plan, the city of Bristol will initiate a Made in Bristol membership program open to any and all small-scale producers in the Bristol area. Members will have access to training, technical assistance and capacity-building grants specific to the needs of small producers. SWaM businesses will be particularly encouraged to participate. This project seeks to promote stability and growth among existing businesses, providing direct assistance to at least 20 businesses.

North Main Hill Neighborhood Business District Revitalization Program | $150,000

Downtown Danville Association | City of Danville

The Downtown Danville Association will partner with the Danville Regional Foundation and the city of Danville Office of Economic Development to pilot a new neighborhood commercial district revitalization program in historically BIPOC neighborhoods adjacent to downtown, such as North Main Hill. The organization aims to develop an action plan to provide services to an expanded footprint including but not limited to business assistance, marketing, façade improvement programs, and place making rooted in economic inclusion. Upon completion, this will increase access to capital, loans, and grants, increase business training and start-ups, execute at least one resident-driven project, and lay the groundwork for infrastructure improvements such as WiFi hotspots.

Black Entrepreneurial Advancement and Community Opportunity Network (BEACON) Incubator Project | $150,000

New Hill Development Corporation | City of Charlottesville

New Hill Development Corporation, in partnerships with the city of Charlottesville, Community Investment Collaborative, Operation Hope, and the Virginia Department of Health, will develop a business accelerator, commercial kitchen, and co-working space for Black food and beverage entrepreneurs in and around the Starr Hill community of Charlottesville. New Hill CDC  plans to conduct entrepreneur identification and outreach, rent a commercial kitchen, provide culinary business training, conduct a pop-up restaurant event and organize a competitive startup grant program. Upon completion, New Hill CDC  will assist at least 24 businesses, create 10 new businesses, create at least 12 jobs, and build organizational capacity for growing the project even further.

Chamberbrook Arts and Business District Master Plan Activation | $150,000

Real Chances Inc. | City of Richmond

Real Chances Inc., in partnership with the Storefront for Community Design and the FORM Coalition, will conduct master planning and early stage implementation for the Chamberbrook Arts and Business District at the northern gateway into the city of Richmond. Real Chances Inc. will work with design and planning consultants to develop a master plan and architectural pattern book for Chamberbrook, organize pop-up retail and place making projects, offer business start-up training/coaching, and administer business start-up grants. Upon completion, Real Chances will complete a master plan, develop an e-commerce platform, assist five businesses, and improve six commercial buildings in the Chamberbrook district.

Entrepreneurial Support Hub for Businesses on Williamson Road Corridor | $150,000

Williamson Road Area Business Association | City and County of Roanoke and County of Salem

Williamson Road Area Business Association (WRABA) will develop a new shared workspace/incubator adjacent to WRABA’s existing space to serve a multi-lingual, multinational population of highly-motivated entrepreneurs hoping to open businesses along the Williamson Road corridor. WRABA plans to complete its facility buildout, execute start-up business training, and install public artworks that communicate the purpose of the hub.

Waynesboro Renaissance | $116,000

Waynesboro Economic Development | City of Waynesboro

Building on the city’s strategy to support small business recovery downtown and create a path to a Waynesboro renaissance, funding will be used for façade improvement grants, business training and technical assistance, marketing/promotions, and a downtown housing study. This project will assist businesses in historically economically disadvantaged communities, drive traffic to existing businesses in their historic main street, and prepare the area for new investment.

757 Makerspace - Peninsula Expansion | $100,000

Economic Development Authority of the City of Hampton | City of Hampton

A spin-off of the successful 757 Makerspace in Norfolk, this project creates access to the same resources North of the James and expands access to these resources closer to innovators affiliated with NASA, Langley AFB, Newport News Shipbuilding, VIMS, Hampton University, William & Mary, and all of their suppliers. This project will be executed in partnership with Hampton Public Schools’ vocational/technical programs, including BIPOC students and their families. Through the StartWheel online platform, they will promote entrepreneurial activities and early-stage startup businesses in the area.

B-Cubed Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Expansion | $100,000

City of Harrisonburg and County of Rockingham

The city of Harrisonburg, as part of a multi-partner effort called B-Cubed (Black- and Brown-owned Business) Growth Program, will support next stage growth and adaptation of its Bricks and Clicks business retention program to focus on the needs of underserved entrepreneurs who will benefit from more coaching, larger grants to overcome undercapitalization, and less instruction in institutional settings. The B-Cubed Growth Program will assist 30 businesses and provide 30 grants.

Expansion of Bloom Co-Working Space and Incubator | $100,000

Partnership Development Foundation | City of Portsmouth

The Partnership Development Foundation will support the expansion of the Bloom coworking and incubator space in Portsmouth, which will provide local startups and micro-companies targeted resources and educational programming to grow into successful businesses. Bloom is currently providing subsidized space and services for small-business owners to help them recover and pivot as necessary. This space will target Portsmouth small businesses and veterans, minorities, persons with a disability, and women. This incubation and co-working space seeks to increase the availability of co-working space, increase the revenue of associated businesses and individuals, and increase job creation.

Filling Street Level Vacancies in Arts and Culture District | $100,000

Venture Richmond | City of Richmond

Venture Richmond will identify and fill vacant or underutilized retail storefronts along the Broad Street section of Richmond’s Arts and Culture District damaged during the social uprisings of the summer of 2020 and recruit existing small, women, and minority (SWaM) and immigrant-owned businesses to fill vacancies in the district. Building and business owners will be eligible for façade improvement grants from the city of Richmond. New start-ups will be eligible for business training and mentoring through the Metropolitan Business League and grants for specific reimbursable expenses. 

We Care Recovery and Small Business Resiliency | $100,000

Metropolitan Business League | City of Richmond and County of Henrico

The Metropolitan Business League (MBL) will expand the capacity of its existing “We Care” recovery and resiliency project in order to provide relief funds for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 and social justice demonstrations. Through this program, MBL provides direct grants, financial counseling, technical assistance, and corporate training to businesses in the Richmond metropolitan region, directly serving Black and Brown business owners in low- to moderate-income areas.

Childcare Business Support in the Historic Triangle | $100,000

Inner Peace Coalition Inc. | City of Williamsburg and County of James City

Inner Peace Coalition Inc., in partnership with James City County Department of Social Services, will provide business support services to small, woman-, minority- and immigrant-owned businesses in the Historic Triangle area, with an emphasis on businesses providing child care services. Inner Peace Coalition Inc. plans to conduct outreach, training and ongoing mentorship to new and existing business owners. The organization will train at least 150 entrepreneurs and create at least two new businesses.

Small Scale Developer Education and Activation | $95,000

Hopewell Downtown Partnership | City of Hopewell

Hopewell Downtown Partnership (HDP) will train a cohort of small, woman, and minority developers to tackle projects in Hopewell, update Hopewell’s retail market analysis, and create a new business investment guide. Hopewell Downtown Partnership plans to organize a series of small-scale real estate development trainings, including advanced training and coaching for owners with active projects that are ready to begin right away. Hopewell Downtown Partnership will train 120 small-scale developers, including at least 30 of whom will be small, woman, and minority developers benefiting from scholarships.

Lawrenceville Merchants Assistance Program | $88,000

IDA of Brunswick | County of Brunswick

The IDA of Brunswick will provide SWaM retail merchants with technical assistance and mentoring, joint marketing opportunities and the development of a shared e-commerce platform for Brunswick County merchants and makers, with an emphasis on Lawrenceville. This project will leverage existing entrepreneurial initiatives to provide additional impact.

Southeast Commercial District Business Assistance | $86,000

Newport News Economic Development Authority | City of Newport News

The Newport News Economic Development Authority (NNEDA) will support existing small business growth and entrepreneurship in the southeast commercial district, a historically underserved and disadvantaged area of Newport News. In partnership with the Women's Empowerment Development, NNEDA plans to offer hands-on technical and financial assistance to small businesses in the community as well as distributed commercial locations within the broader Southeast Community.

Strategic Plan for Inclusion of Fifth Street Corridor in Downtown Lynchburg Association Service Area | $64,000

Downtown Lynchburg Association | City of Lynchburg

Downtown Lynchburg Association (DLA) will conduct a strategic action plan to expand DLA’s service district to include Fifth Street, a historically Black commercial district. Downtown Lynchburg Association plans to follow up its strategic planning with place making projects such as murals, interpretive signs, and beautification along with enhanced supportive services for Fifth Street businesses and property owners.

Southeast Community Commercial District Strategic Action Plan | $50,000

City of Newport News

Womens Empowerment Development Inc., (WED), in partnership with the city of Newport News Economic Development Authority (NNEDA), will develop a strategic action plan for the Southeast Community in the historic Jefferson Avenue and Chestnut Avenue commercial districts. WED will conduct an assessment of potential gaps and opportunities to support the business ecosystem and to provide an inclusive framework for community-driven, comprehensive revitalization and vitality, entrepreneurship readiness, and start-up SWaM business support services.

B-Force Accelerator | $50,000

Black Brand | City of Portsmouth

Black Brand will expand capacity of the existing microenterprise assistance, B-Force Accelerator program. This expansion will provide technical assistance and training workshops to early stage minority business owners to increase their ability to access capital, scale up, increase revenue, decrease expenses, and develop a professional network.

Gainsboro Neighborhood Business Assistance Program | $50,000

City of Roanoke

The city of Roanoke will complete a needs assessment for merchants in the Gainesboro commercial district. The results of the assessment will inform program design for grant and technical assistance in the historically underserved neighborhood commercial district adjacent to downtown Roanoke. 

Welcome Back to Business | $50,000

South Hill Chamber of Commerce | Town of South Hill

The South Hill Chamber of Commerce will develop a public space for outdoor dining and events, façade improvement program, business technical assistance and training, and the development of a marketing campaign to draw customers to the central business district. This program seeks to expand the availability of business support services to historically disadvantaged business owners in the community. The South Hill Chamber of Commerce will serve 30 businesses, improve 10 downtown businesses, and provide assistance to ten historically disadvantaged businesses through this initiative.

Commercial Real Estate Rehabilitation Incentive Enhancements | $50,000

Town of South Hill

The town of South Hill seeks to further capitalize existing façade improvement funds for building owners and offer reimbursable grants for business interior buildout projects. This project will directly support 10 building improvement projects and will include outreach and engagement to ensure the inclusion of traditionally underserved business owners in these initiatives while leveraging existing business incentives to create a more resilient business district.

Start Smart Education for Early Stage Low and Moderator Income Entrepreneurs | $10,000

BizWorks | County of Chesterfield

BizWorks Enterprise Center will organize and host a series of small-scale business startup classes and mentoring focused on low- and moderate-income residents of the Route 1 corridor of Chesterfield County. BizWorks Enterprise Center plans to conduct extensive outreach to nearby residents. Biz Works will offer business training and mentoring and host a business plan competition. BizWorks Enterprise Center will train 30 students, retain and strengthen 10 businesses, create at least five jobs, and generate $50,000 in loans.

Governor Northam Announces Major New Produce Packing Facility in Brunswick County

Partnership and facility to help former tobacco farmers seize fast-growing market for organic vegetables

RICHMOND—Governor Northam today announced Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing, LLC has partnered with Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority to construct a new, 45,000 square-foot, $4.2 million produce processing and packing facility.

Old Dominion Organic Farms, a member of Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing, will operate the facility. Over the next three years, 40 new jobs will be created and the facility is expected to process nearly $24 million Virginia-grown vegetables, approximately 80 percent of which will be certified organic. The new facility will support more than 22 farmers located in Amelia, Brunswick, Dinwiddie, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Prince George, and Surry Counties during its first season.

“As the Commonwealth’s largest and oldest industry, agriculture is an integral part of Virginia’s economic wellbeing—especially in rural areas,” said Governor Northam. “I commend the members of Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing and all of the public and private sector partners who have made this project a reality. They have set an example for how we can all work together to support Virginia agriculture and the communities that rely on this important industry.”

During Governor Northam's administration, the Commonwealth has brought in a record-breaking $48.2 billion in capital investment and created over 91,500 new jobs, including over $8.4 billion and 21,500 jobs in distressed communities.

Since 2001, the price and volume of tobacco sales in Virginia have decreased by nearly half, forcing many Southern Virginia farmers to find new markets or close down their operations. By contrast, the market for organic produce has boomed over that same period, with annual growth frequently exceeding 10 percent. Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing is taking advantage of this market opportunity by leveraging its existing land and labor assets, investing in organic certification, and partnering with farmers across the region to provide wholesalers with a stable and abundant supply of organic and conventional produce. 

Over the next five years, Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing expects to make more than $60 million in produce sales, with $42 million being returned directly to individual farmers. A non-profit has been created to assist prospective farmers with growing these crops and obtaining organic certification, so they too can participate in this market.  

“Embracing innovation and exploring new opportunities in agriculture is key to the growth and prosperity of rural communities,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I am pleased that Brunswick County’s first Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development award is being used to partner with Southern Virginia Vegetable Packing to create new markets and support local farmers and producers with creative ways to maintain and grow their farming operations.”

“Access to a facility that provides efficient packing, cooling, and distribution of vegetables for local farmers will create access to markets previously unavailable to them,” said Jordan Brandon of Old Dominion Organic Farms. “This was the key component farmers were lacking to capitalize on the land, equipment, labor, and farming experience they already possess.”

The Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked closely with Brunswick and the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission to secure the project for the Commonwealth. The architectural and engineering work needed to move the project forward was supported through a $35,000 Planning Grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund awarded in June to Brunswick and Lunenburg Counties. To assist the county in securing this project for Virginia, Governor Northam awarded Brunswick’s Industrial Development Authority a $400,000 Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Facility Grant, the county’s first-ever Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development award.  The project is also supported by a $500,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.

“The Brunswick County Board of Supervisors is excited to see this project come to fruition as it capitalizes on our existing agricultural community, aligns with our Board Vision 2035 to create new business opportunities, and will result in more job creation for our citizens,” said Brunswick County Board of Supervisors Chair Dr. Barbara Jarratt Harris. “We look forward to a continued partnership with the Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority, the Brunswick County Agriculture Task Force, and other stakeholders to redefine our niche and help our agriculture industry thrive in new markets.”

“Three years ago, the Industrial Development Authority convened an Agricultural Task Force comprised of state and local leaders in agriculture, education, business, and economic development to leverage our farming heritage to create a new vision for development in the county,” said Industrial Development Authority of Brunswick Chair Gloria Meneweather-Woods. “This project is an outgrowth of that vision, and I sincerely thank the task force for their leadership. While there is still much to do, we know collaborative efforts like this offer us a pathway to continued success.”

“I am delighted that this project will draw on the farming expertise and experience of local folks in this effort to supply fresh, wholesome food to Virginians,” said Senator Frank Ruff.

“Supporting our local farmers and producers is every bit as important now as it has always been for our region,” said Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission member Delegate Roslyn C. Tyler. “This facility will enable local farms to reach new customers and pursue new wholesale opportunities that will increase profitability and help ensure that these farms remain operational for generations to come. This is a big win for agriculture in our region and I’m pleased the Commission chose to support this important project. I look forward to seeing construction get underway on this new facility as soon as possible.”

The Northam administration has funded an historic number of projects through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development fund. As of today, 109 businesses have received Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development grants, investing nearly $10 million in businesses all over the Commonwealth, helping them create more than $1 billion in new investment, nearly 3,500 jobs, and over $1 billion in commitments to purchase Virginia-grown products.

Commonwealth Invests in Southside Businesses Through RebuildVA

Delegate Roslyn Tyler highlights RebuildVA small business grants in her district

EMPORIA, Va.—Today, Delegate Roslyn Tyler (HD-75) held a press conference in Emporia highlighting the RebuildVA grants issued by the Commonwealth to help small businesses in Southside Virginia. 

“The RebuildVA program is essential to fostering economic growth in rural Virginia. These grants allowed our local businesses to receive vital assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Del. Tyler. “I am excited to continue working in the House of Delegates to make sure to maintain Virginia’s status of being ‘the best state to do business.’” 

In House District 75, which encompasses most of Southside, had 13 businesses receive a total of $609,000 in RebuildVA grants. The grant recipients include a diner, a law office, a body shop, a trucking company, and two nonprofit organizations providing community-based services. Three of the recipient businesses are Black-owned.

“We still have a lot of work to do, but the RebuildVA grants are vital to the families here in Southside Virginia,” said Alfreda Jarrett-Reynolds, Brunswick County Director of Economic Development. “The funds will afford us the opportunity to not only survive during the pandemic but thrive afterward. Businesses need help to be able to adjust to new realities, and we are grateful for the assistance.”

During the General Assembly’s Special Session II, House Democrats allocated $250 million of federal American Recuse Plan relief to fully fund the Rebuild VA program, to reinvest in our economy and to take strides toward building a better Virginia.

Governor Northam Announces Over $11.1 Million in GO Virginia Grants

Funding will support workforce and site development, infrastructure, entrepreneurial ecosystems

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced an allocation of more than $11.1 million in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grants to help advance economic recovery efforts across the Commonwealth. This funding will support 20 projects focused on expanding workforce development and talent pipelines in key industries, growing startup businesses and entrepreneurial ecosystems, and increasing Virginia’s business-ready sites portfolio.

“The targeted support that GO Virginia provides is critical to ensuring communities across our Commonwealth are well positioned to succeed in a post-pandemic economy,” said Governor Northam. “These projects demonstrate how regional collaboration can drive innovation and deliver positive economic results, including diversifying our workforce, supporting entrepreneurs, and upgrading our infrastructure.”

Included in this round of GO Virginia funding is one statewide project, 16 regional projects, and three projects through GO Virginia’s Economic Resilience and Recovery Program. The awarded projects will leverage an additional $7.1 million in local and other non-state resources.

“The regional approach of GO Virginia continues to spur creative economic development strategies throughout the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These projects will support regional priorities and help communities achieve economic growth goals now and in the future.”

“The collaboration inspired by GO Virginia is evident in these projects,” said Nancy Howell Agee, who was elected to serve as Chair of the GO Virginia Board at the June 15th meeting. “It is important to recognize the leadership of the GO Virginia regional councils and the localities partnering on these important initiatives and acknowledge their continued efforts to build stronger regional economies that provide quality job opportunities for Virginians.”

Since the program’s inception in 2017, GO Virginia has funded 182 projects and awarded approximately $68 million to support regional economic development efforts. To learn more about the GO Virginia Program, visit


Cybersecurity Job Creation System | $1,450,000
Region 5 (lead): Counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton and cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach
Region 7: Fairfax County
Regions 3, 4, 6

Old Dominion University Research Foundation will develop and deliver a cost-effective, cloud-based compliance system to help Virginia’s Department of Defense contractors achieve Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) accreditation. A NIST 800-171/CMMC education program will be developed and delivered by Old Dominion University, Eastern Shore Community College, and as part of the four VA-affiliated universities and participating community colleges.


Southwest Virginia Regional Ecosystem Initiative Implementation | $290,850
Region 1: Cities of Bristol, Galax, and Norton and the town of St. Paul

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise is partnering with SWVA Startup and Opportunity SWVA to increase the number of entrepreneurs in the region by 2027 and ensure they have access to a robust ecosystem, including support for existing, early-stage businesses. The multi-prong strategy includes hiring a regional ecosystem builder, implementing a virtual accelerator program, and focusing on increased outreach and programming to develop a more diverse entrepreneurship community.

Project Fuse | $70,000
Region 1: Counties of Dickenson, Lee, Scott, and Wise, and the city of Norton

Project Fuse will develop an action-oriented plan with business retention and recruitment tools for local economic developers to promote telework employment strategies in the Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority territory. This project supports the needs of companies and economic developers looking to expand the use of teleworking strategies as well as residents interested in remote employment opportunities.

Project Thoroughbred | $100,000
Region 1: Counties of Lee and Scott

Project Thoroughbred will add capacity to the maximum output farmers can produce, strengthen market confidence in the region’s ability to meet quality specifications, diversify products, and take the first step toward creating jobs for graduates of the Mountain Empire Community College’s Grain Management Program. 

Dearing Ford Industrial Park | $506,000
Region 2: Campbell County and the town of Altavista

The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance will manage a project to extend gas service to the Dearing Ford Industrial Park and the adjacent publicly-owned development parcels. This project will create the only gas-serviced site in the Lynchburg sub-region and significantly increase the marketability of the sites.

Helping Local Employers Prepare the Existing and Future Workforce for Industry 4.0 | $45,360
Region 2: Counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Franklin, and Roanoke, the cities of Covington, Roanoke, and Salem, and the town of Vinton

The Learning Factory in Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech, in partnership with the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center, will address the need for trained talent in Industry 4.0 technology skills in the region and increase competitiveness for manufacturers. The project will convene employers and stakeholders to help identify areas of needed growth in Industry 4.0 such as necessary new technology, skill gaps among the current and future workforce, areas of potential collaboration and others. 

Lynchburg Beacon of Hope | $97,740
Region 2: Amherst County and the city of Lynchburg

Lynchburg Beacon of Hope will develop a Playbook for Future Centers to provide a programmatic guide of its existing Future Centers model that will focus on in-demand careers in the region’s targeted industries of manufacturing, information technology, and life sciences. The playbook will guide the operations and sustainability of the Future Centers model, a template for hiring a director of each Future Center, and a professional development and training module for effective Future Centers. 

Building a Regional Health Sciences Talent Pipeline | $100,000
Region 2: Counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Franklin, and Roanoke, the cities of Covington, Roanoke, and Salem, and the town of Vinton

The project will establish the Blue Ridge Partnership for Health Science Careers to work as a consortium with public institutions and private employers, helping them to more systematically collaborate to leverage resources and align curriculum with employers’ future growth strategies. This project will accelerate the development of a new model for widespread business-education collaboration, increase the number of health and life science graduates, and begin to formalize a health science talent pipeline focused on engineering, cybersecurity, mechatronics, and the broader life sciences trade sector.

Minority Small Business Launch Center at Virginia State University | $453,000
Region 4: Counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Henrico, Prince George, Surry, and Sussex and the cities of Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Richmond

The Division of Research and Economic Development and the Center for Entrepreneurship at Virginia State University will create a Minority Small Business Launch Center that will provide a comprehensive suite of services for minority business founders and early-stage businesses. Funding will support the creation of 90 jobs and 40 new businesses.

Virginia’s Gateway Region Sites | $1,634,407
Region 4: Counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Prince George, and Powhatan and the city of Petersburg

Virginia’s Gateway Region will advance site readiness in Region 4 by three-fold, elevating 15 sites (totaling 1,652 acres) to Tier 4 on the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Business Ready Sites Program. This effort will promote the availability of shovel-ready sites to prospective businesses, which will in turn help to create higher-paying jobs in the region.

Sussex County Water Study | $96,000
Region 4: Counties of Isle of Wight, Sussex, and Surry

Virginia’s Gateway Region will facilitate a preliminary engineering report for the evaluation of water supply alternatives to serve a 1,000-acre development site in Sussex County. Funding will support the expanded marketability of the site by identifying strategies to provide additional water capacity.

Campus 757 | $500,000
Region 5: Cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, and Portsmouth 

The Hampton Roads Workforce Council will create an initiative to increase the percentage of college students who stay and work full time in Hampton Roads. The project aims to assist up to 400 companies and connect 700 to 1,500 students with employment opportunities. 

757 Collab | $2,415,573
Region 5: Cities of Hampton, Newport News, and Norfolk

757 Collab, an ongoing venture of 757 Accelerate, 757 Startup Studios, and 757 Angels, will continue building and delivering new innovation and entrepreneurship programming, capacity, and services to early-stage companies by bringing together an accelerator, private capital, collaborative space, and community outreach programs. 

Establishing a Regional Internet of Things Accelerator Program in the Rappahannock Regional Entrepreneur Ecosystem | $215,000
Region 6: Counties of King George and Stafford and the city of Fredericksburg

Stafford County and partnering localities will collaborate with the Center for Innovative Technology to expand entrepreneurial programs in the Rappahannock Region. Programs will also support the technology-based Virginia Smart Community Testbed in Stafford and provide entrepreneurs with access to the proven Regional Internet of Things Accelerator Program and additional community-focused programming.

Northern Virginia Community College Dual Enrollment Expansion Program for Information and Engineering Technology | $1,106,777
Region 7: Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park

Northern Virginia Community College, in conjunction with multiple partners, will implement the Dual Enrollment Expansion Program for Information and Engineering Technology (DEEP-IET) to develop regional workforce capacity in IET, specifically targeting information technology and engineering technology. The DEEP-IET approach will target successful student outcomes with multiple touch points on the STEM talent pipeline and will result in 288 additional graduates, 96 new internships, and expand the number of certified dual enrollment teachers in the region.

Innovation Forward | $100,000
Region 7: Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park

The Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance will undergo a strategic planning process to determine the best approaches to organization and management, budgeting and funding, staffing, policy development, business development activities, and brand development. This project will ultimately develop regional capacity and leverage combined assets to grow and diversify the regional economy.

Accelerating Regionally Significant Sites | $786,333
Region 9: Counties of Culpeper and Louisa

The Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development will elevate one 700-acre site to Tier 4 on the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Site Characterization scale and enhance the marketability of a 266-acre Tier 4 site by completing water and sewer engineering studies for the sites. The project will benefit the region by increasing the number of shovel-ready sites and supporting economic development efforts that will increase the business tax base and create high-paying jobs.


Expansion of Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program Mentor Network | $882,794
Region 7 (lead): Counties of Loudoun and Prince William and the cities of Alexandria and Fairfax
Region 2, 4, 5, 6 

George Mason University will expand the statewide network of Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program mentors, who will support startups and early-stage companies. Services will include assistance with developing strategic plans and accessing funding and grants through a new regional hub service network.


The Future of Workforce Development Outreach | $148,689
Region 9: Counties of Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, and Nelson

Virginia Career Works – Piedmont will address newly identified service equity gaps by providing targeted assistance to displaced workers who do not have access to a career center or high-speed internet. They will create face-to-face support for job seekers and increase access to training and employment opportunities.

Accelerate 2022 | $100,000
Region 7: Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William and the city of Fairfax

Refraction Inc., in partnership with George Mason University, will launch Accelerate 2022, a high-profile, multiday showcase and pitch competition that will bring investors from across the United States to fund Northern Virginia startups and high-growth companies. The project will address the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on raising critical capital, which will lead to more than 100 high-paying jobs and $16 million in follow-on funding within five years.

Governor Northam Announces More Than $13.4 Million in Community Development Block Grants

Fourteen localities receive funding for housing and community revitalization efforts

GREENSVILLE—Governor Ralph Northam today announced more than $13.4 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for the counties of Accomack, Alleghany, Grayson, Greensville, James City, Lee, Mecklenburg, Russell, and Wise, and the towns of Appomattox, Chase City, La Crosse, Parksley, and South Boston. Governor Northam made the announcement at an event in Greensville, where he presented local officials with a check for one of the fourteen awarded projects.

“The Community Development Block Grant program continues to be a vital resource for funding projects that help build strong regional economies throughout Virginia and address the most pressing needs in our communities,” said Governor Northam. “The localities receiving these grant awards are making important investments in infrastructure, housing rehabilitation, and downtown revitalization that will enable them to deliver essential services to their citizens and attract new residents, businesses, and visitors.”

Since 1982, the federally-funded CDBG program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and Virginia receives approximately $18.1 million annually for this grant program. CDBG grants are awarded through a competitive process. Most projects benefit low- and moderate-income persons, and many projects are targeted for the prevention or elimination of dilapidated structures and blighted conditions.

“These grants fund 14 different projects targeted to improve quality of life,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “CDBG is a flexible tool we utilize to help address blight, improve housing, provide facilities for a variety of needed services, and increase access to water and sewer in communities throughout the Commonwealth.”

2019 CDBG Competitive Grant Awards:





Project Name





Accomack County

Gospel Temple/Adams Crossing CDBG Project


Alleghany County

Wrightsville Community Revitalization Project


Town of Appomattox

Appomattox Downtown Revitalization


Town of Chase City

Endly Street Phase II


Grayson County

Eagle Bottom Housing Phase II


Greensville County

Washington Park Phase VI


James City County

James City County Scattered Site Rehab


Town of La Crosse

Pine Street Neighborhood Improvement Phase I


Lee County

St. Charles Water Line Replacement Phase III


Mecklenburg County

Quail Hollow Road Housing Rehab Project


Town of Parksley

Parksley Downtown Revitalization


Russell County

Belfast Waterline Extension Project Phase II Letter of Intent


Town of South Boston

Poplar Creek Homes Letter of Intent


Wise County

Banner Sewer Project




Nike Air Presto Fly

GO Virginia Region 3 announces successful project award for GO TEC

Up to $4.9 Million to be awarded to broaden the talent pipeline in Southern and Southwest Virginia

GO TEC (Great Opportunities in Technology & Engineering Careers), a workforce development approach in Southern and Southwestern Virginia, was awarded the largest grant to date from the GO Virginia Competitive Funding pool. The investment by GO Virginia is matched 1-to-1by support from over 15 local partners.

Workforce training will be provided by seven higher education institutions to address current and future market demand in areas such as precision machining, welding, IT/cyber security, advanced materials and robotics, automation and mechatronics. At the foundational level, K-12 systems are creating Career Connection Labs that introduce middle school students to these in-demand occupationsand then connect their training opportunities to high school and ultimately to higher education institutions. And at the policy level, businesses will be included on the leadership board.

The GO Virginia State Board approved an investment of up to $4.9 million in the GO TEC project Tuesday morning. The "hub and spoke" workforce delivery system focuses on occupations that have been identified asin-demand in GO Virginia Regions 1, 3 and 4, an area that encompasses many of Virginia’s rural southern counties stretching from Wythe County to Greensville County. For businesses, GO TEC will answer a market need with  a strong pipeline of skilled workers that can support the job requirements of both existing and new employers.

"It is exciting to see the breadth and depth of regional collaboration among education partners for economic development results that will occur through this unique partnership," Region 3 GO Virginia Council Chairman Charles Majors said. "We are even more pleased that the State GO Virginia Board concurred with our recommendation to support this unique talent development model. We know that the collective work of seven educational partners, in conjunction with the K-12 systems in Southern and Southwestern Virginia, will create a strong tool for talent retention, business retention, and business attraction."

The GO TEC project leverages existing mastery-level training expertise in seven higher education partners: Southside Virginia Community College, Danville Community College, Patrick Henry Community College, Wytheville Community College, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston, the New College Institute in Martinsville, and the Institute for Advanced Learning & Research in Danville. Each of these partners contributes an element of the career paths identified as areas of critical need in the Regions 1, 3 and 4's Growth & Diversification Plans.

"I am exceptionally pleased with the level of support from localities and organizations across the regions," said Region 3 Vice-Chairman Randy Lail. "Creative thinking, and building impactful partnerships is the way that rural Virginia can successfully create healthy economies, and this is an example of rural leadership in action."

GO TEC expands existing outcomes that began with a pilot pre-GO Virginia initiative based at Danville Community College and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in 2016.The success of that launch resulted in approval for the first Phase 1 investment by GO Virginia in 2018 when the Region 3 Council was authorized to invest its Per Capita funds. That scale-up wasdesigned to increase the geographic reach of the program, increase the Career Connection labs, and develop the curriculum. 

This 2019 expansion of GO TEC gives economic developers in Regions 1, 3 and 4 both a stronger workforce system, and more effective marketing message to use in their business attraction efforts.This grant will continue to expand the regional brand of workforce training and increase the number of K-12 divisions that will house Career Connection Labs.

"GO TEC is an example of the types of effective partnerships that the Regions seek to build through the GO Virginia program," said Julie Brown, interim director of the GO TEC team. "We are excited that our team of higher education partners identified this opportunity and that we were able to demonstrate to the leaders of GO Virginia that GO TEC can successfully scale-up to create an extensive talent marketing message for these three regions."


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