Governor McAuliffe Announces $300,000 Local Innovation Grant


Date:  November 5, 2014

Governor McAuliffe Announces $300,000 Local Innovation Grant

~ Funding to assist regional collaborative effort with small business development programs ~ 


KEYSVILLE, VA – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today $300,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Local Innovation funding through Mecklenburg County for the Virginia’s Growth Alliance, which is a regional collaboration made up of 10 counties and one city in the Southern Virginia region. The grant will be used to develop several new programs for youth, new businesses and established businesses throughout the region to spur small business development and create jobs.

“Helping the Commonwealth’s existing and future business owners find ways to succeed is an important piece of building a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Programs like the Community Development Block Grant invest in the success of our communities and encourage business growth throughout Southern Virginia.”

This project will offer several different educational, mentoring and monetary programs including a pilot youth educational program involving both online and classroom education, a six-week “digital high touch” course for new entrepreneurs, a startup principles program for existing businesses, a microenterprise lending program funding business start-up or expansion, and a Peer2Peer XChange mentoring program to help develop network for new business owners.

The Virginia Growth Alliance is comprised of Mecklenburg County, Amelia County, Brunswick County, Buckingham County, Charlotte County, Cumberland County, Greensville County, Lunenburg County, Nottoway County, Prince Edward County and the City of Emporia.

“Entrepreneurial development is an indispensable component of economic growth and community development,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “We look forward to seeing the creativity and release of the entrepreneurial spirit throughout this region, and we hope this is a launch pad for these communities and businesses.”

“Access to these funds will open new opportunities for entrepreneurs of all ages as well as small businesses throughout the region and ensure that our Alliance will continue to grow.  This award from the Governor, the commitment of DHCD and the support of partners like Virginia Tourism Corporation, Virginia Tobacco Commission, Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Southside, Crater and Heartland Planning Commissions, Southside Virginia Community College and Longwood University affirms that regionalism works and united, we are stronger and better then going at it alone,” said Virginia’s Growth Alliance vice chair Charlette Woolridge speaking at today’s announcement.

“We are thrilled to have the support of the Governor and DHED as we continue to develop new and innovative programs for the residents and businesses, current and future, throughout the Alliance. These funds will enable us to pilot an entrepreneur program in our high schools, assist entrepreneurs in achieving their dream of opening or expanding a business or growing a business from a hobby and provide funding via our loan programs,” said Virginia’s Growth Alliance executive director Jeff Reed.

Since 1982, the federally-funded CDBG program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and Virginia receives up to $17 million annually for this program. The CDBG program is a flexible tool for community improvement in Virginia and can address a wide range of needs, from infrastructure for new or expanding industries, new or improved water and sewer systems in rural areas, rehabilitation of housing in declining neighborhoods, revitalization of commercial districts, support to small businesses and support of facilities for a variety of needed critical community services.  Only eligible units of local government may apply for funding.


Office of the Governor

Contact: Rachel Thomas



Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development

Contact: Amanda Pearson

Phone: (804) 371-7006



Virginia’s Growth Alliance

Contact: Jeff Reed

Phone:  434-265-2382


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