Highest Quantity of Loans, Grants Approved in VCEDA History During 2021

LEBANON, VA – MARCH 7, 2022 —  Sixty new projects and expansions/retentions in all eight Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) localities resulting in more than $211 million in planned private investment in the region were announced in the region during 2021. The announcements included the highest quantity of loans and grants approved in VCEDA history and project 1,015 full-time and 171 part-time new and retained jobs.

That information and more is highlighted in the VCEDA 2021 Annual Report filed last week.

“Despite the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 was a very active year for VCEDA,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “More than $6.1 million in new VCEDA funding was approved by the VCEDA board in 2021 and that funding continues to play a crucial role in the improvement and diversification of the region’s economy.”

New projects announced in the region included Maine Five, BEAST Company and Edelen Renewables in Buchanan County; Italy-based Ceccato USA in Russell County; Rambler Wood Products in Russell and Wise counties; and EarthLink, LLC in Wise County and the City of Norton.

The 14 expansion projects announced included the Virginia Employment Commission, Issues & Answers Network, SunCoke Energy and Skyline Fabricating, Inc. in Buchanan County; the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority’s Sportsman’s Complex in Dickenson County; Riverbound Trout Farms, LLC in Russell County; Tempur Sealy and VFP, Inc. in Scott County; and Bruneaux Bait and Lawrence Brothers, Inc. in Tazewell County.

Also highlighted in the report is the funding approved through VCEDA’s Seed Capital grant program, which in 2021 assisted regional entrepreneurs in creating 40 new small business start-ups in Southwest Virginia’s e-Region.

“The region is finding great success with entrepreneurship and small business development,” Belcher said.

The Seed Capital Matching Fund provides up to $10,000 in seed capital grants in consort with services provided by the area’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). The 40 small business projects awarded in 2021 were projected to create 238 full-time and part-time jobs and to result in nearly $2 million in private investment.

Additional highlights in the 2021 annual report included:

  • In 2021, VCEDA approved 64 loans and grants for more than $6.1 million in new VCEDA funding.
  • The first funding approvals from the VCEDA Renewable Energy Fund occurred and were for a solar talent accelerator initiative and workforce and development training in support of renewable and alternative energy.
  • A total of 46 new projects were announced.
  • A total of 14 expansion/retention project announcements were made.
  • An aggressive business attraction program and an active business expansion and retention (BRE) program continues to be operated.
  • VCEDA participated in 20 virtual and in-person marketing/recruiting events throughout the year.
  • In 2021, VCEDA had 66 in-person and virtual prospect visits and handled 231 inquiries about Southwest Virginia’s e-Region.
  • A tourism capital improvement fund continues to be administered by the authority and awarded several grants in 2021.
  • VCEDA continues to assist with the administration of the Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority.

“VCEDA is committed to its mission and crucial role in helping to diversify the region’s economy,” said VCEDA Board Chairman Larry Mosley. “We look forward to working to help our region continue to diversify and grow.”

A copy of the annual report may be found on VCEDA’s website at https://www.vceda.us/publications/.

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. www.vceda.us or www.e-Region.org.