Five Small Businesses Receive Seed Capital Grants

Five small businesses in the region are the first recipients of grants from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund approved by the VCEDA Board at its June 15 meeting. Businesses under three years old with less than 10 employees were eligible to apply for these dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $15,000. Applicants worked with the Small Business Development Centers at Southwest Virginia and Mountain Empire community colleges to prepare the applications that include detailed business and financial plans.

Recipients of the grants are: Foxtail Orchards, LLC, an apple orchard and campground in Tazewell County; Ridgeview Delimart and Wolfpack Den in Dickenson County, a convenience store and deli that provides concessions for school athletic events, businesses and government organizations; The Well Coffee Shop, LLC in Tazewell, Va., that serves specialty coffees and pastries; Sugar Hill Brewing Co., a brewpub located in St. Paul, Va., that serves craft beer brewed onsite and operates a full service restaurant; and Essential Roots & Herbs LLC in Lee County, a wholesale botanical company.

“VCEDA recognizes that small business plays a crucial role in the stability and diversification of our economy in the coalfield region. We also learned that there are various loan programs but very few grant funding sources for small business,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “Congratulations to all these small businesses in our region.”

VCEDA Closes Grant for Breaks Zip Line 

VCEDA closed a grant for $188,000 June 15 that will assist with the development and construction of a zip line attraction at Breaks Interstate Park.

Funds for the grant came from the VCEDA Civil Penalties Fund and will be used toward financing the construction and installation of a multiple line zip line attraction including equipment, delivery, installation and assembly expenses at the Breaks Interstate Park.

By Virginia statute, 50 percent of the civil penalties collected by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy are transferred quarterly to VCEDA “…for the purposes of developing infrastructure and improvements at Breaks Interstate Park….”

“Our coalfield counties identified tourism as an economic development opportunity they wanted to pursue years ago,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCDA executive director/general counsel. “The Breaks Interstate Park has been one of the primary tourism venues we have supported through the years and we continue that support now with this grant for their zip line project.” In photo, VCEDA Executive Director Jonathan Belcher, right, presents ceremonial check to Breaks Interstate Park Superintendent Austin Bradley.

VCEDA Team Markets to Data Centers 

VCEDA led a team of economic developers to Washington D.C June 8-9 to promote Virginia’s e-Region’s assets at the IMN (International Management Network) 7th Annual Provider Forum on Date Centers and Cloud Services. The VCEDA team included, from left, John Kilgore, Scott County economic development director; Mitzi Sykes, Dickenson County economic development director; Susan Copeland, VCEDA marketing coordinator; and Mike Thompson, Tazewell County economic development director. They manned the Virginia’s e-Region booth exhibit and also met with several companies interested in learning more about the region.