Norfolk Festevents establishes programs to help boost small businesses, nonprofits


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk Festevents has established a new community development program designed to help out small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and aspiring industry professionals.

“We took a step back this offseason and thought you know, what’s some ways that we can serve our community in the ways that we exist as an organization?” said Festevents Marketing Director Jordan Lett.

The Norfolk Festevents Community Development Program is comprised of three initiatives: the Small Business Outreach Kickstart & Grant Program, the Charity Fundraising Program, and the Karen Scherberger Scholarship & Internship Program.

The Small Business Outreach Kickstart & Grant Program is designed to provide Norfolk small businesses with a unique opportunity for growth and exposure through a Festevents partnership.

Selected businesses will be showcased at major events and festivals, as they can be granted complimentary booth spaces. In addition, selected businesses will also gain access to educational workshops on event marketing, as well as receive guidance for obtaining required business licenses, insurances, and additional business documents.

“These are small businesses that may have been affected by the pandemic that are looking for an opportunity, once this is over, to sort of get back out, engage with the public and use our events as a platform to sell their products and goods, services,” Lett said.

The program will award a select number of grants to small businesses each year. It’s primarily directed towards local restaurants, food trucks, retail vendors, start-ups, and newly-owned franchises.

The Charity Fundraising Program will provide an avenue for local charities and service club organizations to raise funds through the sale of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at Festevents events and festivals.

“It’s a great opportunity for local service organizations, charities and nonprofits to raise funds for their organizations,” Lett said.

A portion of all net proceeds is donated directly to participating organizations. Over the course of its 30-plus-year history, Festevents has raised more than $3.5 million for local charities and organizations.

The Karen Scherberger Scholarship & Internship Program, named in honor of Norfolk Festevents Founding Executive Director Karen Scherberger, has been created to recognize aspiring industry professionals currently enrolled in a college program concentrating on special events.

In addition to receiving a $1,000 scholarship, the awarded individuals will also gain powerful industry insight through hands-on experience working alongside the Norfolk Festevents staff. Within the scholarship program, Norfolk Festevents will work closely with local universities and colleges to help improve event industry educational programs.

“Less than 10 years ago, I was an intern, so I know exactly how it feels and the fact that we’re able to help these kids out is awesome,” Lett said.

The application window for all three programs is currently open and closes on Wednesday, March 31. Selected recipients will be notified by April 15.

For more information, click here.

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