EDA offers business grants

Published 10:25 pm Friday, August 24, 2018

Suffolk’s Economic Development will hold a series of educational workshops and a business competition later this year after receiving a $45,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

The Community Business Launch is designed to assist communities in taking a systems approach to defining and pursuing an asset-based small business development strategy.

“The objective of the program is to grow business in downtowns in the commonwealth,” said Assistant Director of Economic Development Gregory Byrd.

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The program will begin with a workshop series in October, and the workshops will culminate with a presentation of business plans for new or existing businesses. A panel of judges will decide on a winner to establish or expand businesses in downtown Suffolk by Sept. 30.

The judges will be chosen by economic development staff. These judges may be a part of the Economic Development Authority or others associated with the city of Suffolk.

“You want someone knowledgeable and you want stakeholders as well,” Byrd said.

There will be a minimum of three awardees of grants up to $15,000.

The grants are issued on a reimbursable basis by May 31, 2019, and the grant money is eligible to be used for working capital, equipment, inventory, real estate, property improvements and marketing.

“The reason we specify that is because the commonwealth requires us to create a minimum of three new or expanding businesses and a minimum of five new jobs,” Byrd said.

There is the possibility of more grant money being awarded due to the nature of the money awarded to the city’s Economic Development Authority. There is a 25-percent match required by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. This will add an extra $11,250 as a minimum requirement.

Along with the grant money, those that are chosen as winners will receive no-fee business counseling sessions for finance, legal and accounting issues, and they will assist in property selection assistance.

The next step before the workshops begin will be a public forum, and the time, date and location will be announced at a later date.

For more information, or to express interest, contact Gregory Byrd at 514-4042 or gbyrd@suffolkva.us.