Governor Ralph Northam has announced that $180,000 in Community Business Launch (CBL) awards would be provided to the cities of Danville, Galax and Suffolk, as well as a joint partnership between the city of Covington and the town of Clifton Forge. These five communities will receive CBL funding to provide training to entrepreneurs and conduct business plan competitions that align with local and regional economic development strategies, primarily in Virginia’s downtown commercial districts.
The CBL program is implemented through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) with a goal of supporting localities in their efforts to create a productive environment for new businesses and jobs that support their vision for revitalization.
“Community Business Launch truly involves the community in identifying businesses needed in their downtowns and supporting the businesses beyond their grand opening,” said Governor Northam. “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.” CBL is designed to assist communities in taking a systems approach to defining and pursuing an asset-based small business development strategy.
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.
“Community Business Launch is a resourceful program that offers training to entrepreneurs to prepare small business owners for the rigors of operating in today’s rapidly changing commercial climate,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We look forward to new businesses opening and current businesses expanding throughout these communities that will only enhance the vibrancy and quality of life in each of these downtown districts.”