LEBANON, VA – APRIL 19, 2019 — Seed capital matching grant funding totaling up to $180,000 was approved for 18 new small businesses in Southwest Virginia during the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) meeting, Thursday in Lebanon. The grant funds, approved by the board, will see each of the businesses receive up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant program established two years ago in April 2017.

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 of 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 southwest Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.

Since VCEDA’s Seed Capital Matching Grant program started two years ago, 53 new small businesses spread throughout all seven VCEDA coalfield counties and the city of Norton, have been approved for grant funding totaling $563,500.  The economic impact of these 53 small businesses is projected to be $3.13 million in private investment and 542 full-time and part-time jobs within five years.

 “VCEDA’s seed capital matching grant program has been a very successful program since it was started in 2017,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The program has successfully resulted in investment by small businesses in our local communities and has also created jobs benefitting residents in VCEDA’s seven county, one-city area.  In addition to VCEDA’s other programs and initiatives which are more targeted to traditional industrial development, we believe that supporting entrepreneurship and small business growth is another very important component of enhancing the economy of the region.”

Seed capital matching grants awarded Thursday at the level of up to $10,000 for each business included those to:

·         Misty Mountain Bit LLC, Dickenson County, a manufacturer of horse bits and other horse-related products;

·         Sergent Tire, LLC, Dickenson County, a new tire shop that provides new and used tires for purchase; oil, brake, rotor and drum changes, as well as tire mounting, balancing and plugging; and other basic automotive needs;

·         Better Living Home Care LLC, Lee County, a new elderly care business;

·         Lincoln Road Virginia, LLC, City of Norton, a new full-service coffee lounge;

·         Winze Company LLC, City of Norton, a start-up business providing local businesses with media and creative services;

·         Fat Cat Farm, LLC, Scott County, a new greenhouse business which will feature a variety of culinary herbs, flowers, produce plants and strawberries;

·         JAG Service, LLC, Scott County, service for medium and heavy duty equipment, trucks and agricultural equipment;

·         The Big Stone Gap General Store & Café, LLC, Wise County, a general store mercantile which will also feature a coal-fired pizza oven; beverage selections, including craft beers and wines; and a space for musicians and local artisans to showcase their work and sell their goods and services;

·         Curklin’s LLC, Wise County, a 200-seat restaurant and bar on the first floor; and short-stay lodging on the second floor to support local and reginal tourism and community development efforts;

·         NRC Escape Room, LLC, Wise County, an entertainment venue with plans to expand its game experience of “60 minutes locked in a room with only one way out and the clock is ticking;”

·         The Scripted Gate Sign Co., LLC, Wise County, a full-service DIY design workshop, helping participants to turn scrap wood into custom made signs and other home décor items;

·         Thomas’ Black Bird Farm LLC, Wise County, a business that will feature a corn maze, pumpkin patch and other decorative crops and various vegetables;

·         Appalachian Turf, Russell County, a business providing lawn care services and restorative care for lawns;

·         Preston Ball Photography LLC, Russell County, a full-service photography business, specializing in sports photography, and also offering drone, portrait, wedding and commercial photography services;

·         Redbud Family Medicine, LLC, Russell County, a new primary care medical clinic;

·         American Dirt LLC, Tazewell County, a business providing lodging rentals, a laundromat and guided ATV tours;

·         The Lost Pearl Gallery, LLC, Tazewell County, a for-profit art gallery cooperative; and

·         MSS Webb’s Spa & Boutique, LLC, Tazewell County, a health and wellness spa.

These 18 new businesses are projected to create a combined total of $769,819 in private investment and 135 full-time and part-time jobs.  In addition to these 18 seed capital matching grants, at the April 18 meeting, the VCEDA Board approved an up to a $106,762 grant to the Breaks Interstate Park Commission for additional improvements and upgrades at the park.  The board also approved an up to $486,994.82 grant requested by the University of Virginia’s College at Wise Foundation, Inc. for the development of the Clinch River Ecological Education Center at the Oxbow Center in St. Paul, Virginia.

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.