Suffolk receives funding

Published 8:47 pm Friday, August 10, 2018

Suffolk was recently awarded $45,000 from the Commonwealth’s Community Business Launch Fund along with four other cities.

The funds are being allocated to provide training to entrepreneurs and conduct business plan competitions that align with local and regional economic development strategies, primarily in Virginia’s downtown districts, according to a press release.

“This is a business education and business development program to positively impact Downtown Suffolk,” Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes said in an email.

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The money will be used to give to businesses in Suffolk that win a competition that the city will have.

“The business development component of the program will feature a business plan and business pitch competition by those that have completed the education program. There is a total of $45,000 in grant funding to be split among the businesses that will be selected as winners of the competition,” Hughes said.

There is an education component offered for new and existing businesses as well.

“The education component is open to new and existing businesses and is a critical component,” Hughes said.

The classes will include seven topics – simple steps for starting a business overview, innovation, branding, competition and leadership, accounting, finance and credit, sales and marketing, business planning and one-one business plan working sessions.

“Community Business Launch truly involves the community in identifying businesses needed in their downtowns and supporting the businesses beyond their grand opening,” said Governor Ralph Northam in a release. “By combining training with a business plan competition, we are seeding and nurturing strong local entrepreneurial ecosystems that will support current and future small business growth.”

Each awardee received $45,000, and four other communities received funding – Danville, Galax, Covington and Clifton Forge – for a total of $180,000.

Clifton Forge and Covington submitted applications as a joint partnership. Both communities only received $45,000.

Since 2014, $1.26 million in CBL funds have been awarded to 19 communities serving more than 370 participating entrepreneurs across Virginia. In total, CBL has garnered more than $1.4 million in private investment, with more than 125 new full-time jobs created and at least 60 jobs retained.

Five applications requesting $225,000 in funding were received. Projects were reviewed and evaluated competitively, with an emphasis on those with the capacity to implement a successful campaign, alignment with regional or local strategies and the availability of matching resources.