VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher, second from right, presents a ceremonial check to Andrea Hicks, second from left, owner of The Scripted Gate Sign Co., LLC, representing the seed capital matching grant funding recently approved for the company. From left are Small Business Development Center Director Tim Blankenbecler; Hicks; Belcher; and Wise County Economic Development Director Carl Snodgrass.

COEBURN, VA – AUGUST 7, 2019 – Andrea Hicks, of Coeburn, is a firm believer that being creative is good for the mind and the body. Hicks recently opened The Scripted Gate Sign Co., LLC, a full-service do-it-yourself design workshop and retreat mobile business that assists consumers in turning a pile of wood into something beautiful for the home or office.

The Scripted Gate Sign Co. LLC was recently approved for a $10,000 seed capital matching grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA).

“VCEDA was pleased to assist The Scripted Gate Sign Co. with its plan to grow its business,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “Helping entrepreneurs to grow their new businesses is a primary goal of the Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund.”

“I absolutely love what I do,” Hicks said. “It is so exciting to see people create something and then leave with a smile on their face.”

Hicks noted the seed capital grant had enabled her to purchase a mobile trailer which allows her to bring supplies to the customer’s location where they receive hands-on, step-by-step instruction in building and designing their own work of art.

The mobile aspect of the new business has been successful, Hicks said, adding she has a waiting list for the rest of the year.

“It’s been the best investment we made,” she said of the mobile trailer purchase. “Sometimes, I can’t believe how big this has gotten. I want to thank VCEDA for believing in me and my business. I could not have approached these opportunities without the seed capital matching grant. It has allowed me to take my business to the next level.”

Supplies and materials are purchased locally as much as possible from Wise Lumber and Culby Supply in Wise, Hicks said.

In addition to taking the business to consumers, she also hosts field trips to her workshop. The purchase of additional tools for the workshop and the road was also a targeted spend for the seed capital grant, she added.

“We brought kids in over the summer to see what it is we do,” Hicks said. “We donated our time and materials to work with them. I’ve already had multiple schools ask me about field trips.”

The business also offers custom-made signs and other home décor items including handmade furniture.

Hicks worked with Tim Blankenbecler, of the Small Business Development Center at Mountain Empire Community College, in the development of her business plan and application to VCEDA.

The application projects one full-time job within a year and three part-time jobs within three years.

The Scripted Gate is located at 3721 Dungannon Road in Coeburn any may be reached by calling 276.237.2154. The business website at is currently under development.

About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.  or

About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.