June 25, 2020
The GO Virginia Board has approved a grant request of nearly $629,000 to fund a business scale-up initiative called Startup Shenandoah Valley (S2V). The proposal, developed by the GO Virginia Region 8 Council’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Advisory Committee led by Mary Lou Bourne, Executive Director of James Madison Innovations and Committee Chair, reflects nearly 18 months of collaboration, benchmarking, and resource assessment by multiple Shenandoah Valley partners and small business owners. The Staunton Creative Community Fund (SCCF) made the funding request from the statewide GO Virginia initiative, and will oversee implementation of the three-part S2V program designed to launch a vibrant and comprehensive entrepreneurial ecosystem across the Shenandoah Valley.
Startup Shenandoah Valley is a virtual acceleration program uniquely tailored to meet the needs of entrepreneurs operating in a rural setting or one of the emerging business hubs around the region – Winchester, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Lexington and Waynesboro. The program will target entrepreneurs with scalable business ideas, particularly those focused on Region 8’s traded sectors of food processing, light manufacturing, information technology, cybersecurity, and biomedical and biotechnical. In addition to the customized virtual accelerator programming, the GO Virginia grant will also support dedicated workspace and entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure buildout throughout the region, along with the hiring of two dedicated ecosystem builders to support the network and programming.
The Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity (GO Virginia) is a business-led initiative that was formed to foster private-sector growth and diversification across nine economic development regions in the Commonwealth. State financial incentives designated for regional projects that encourage collaboration between private sector companies, workforce, education, and government are administered by the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board.
Chris Kyle, incoming Chair of the Region 8 Council, stated “This exciting initiative is yet another example of the long-standing, cooperative relationship between the Valley’s key partners. Thanks to the participation and funding support from our member localities, academic institutions, and private sector partners, Startup Shenandoah Valley will facilitate the advancement of new business ventures and job opportunities around the region – two of the primary goals of the GO Virginia program.”
Region 8 represents the Shenandoah Valley and includes the counties of Augusta, Bath, Clarke, Frederick, Highland, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren; and the cities of Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Staunton, Waynesboro, and Winchester. The Regional Council consists of 28 members and is supported by the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission (NSVRC); the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission (CSPDC); and the Shenandoah Valley Partnership (SVP).
For more information on GO Virginia, visit online at Shenandoah Valley Partnership or Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, or contact Ashley Shickle, Interim Program Coordinator, GO Virginia Region 8 Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.