RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – On Monday, Governor Ralph Northam announced over $3.6 million in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grants in support of 13 projects that are focused on expanding workforce development and talent pipelines in key industries that foster business and improve infrastructure.
“GO Virginia allows us to address the unique needs of localities across the Commonwealth. This targeted support is critical, both for local projects and for encouraging long-term regional collaboration. These thirteen projects will foster innovation, support entrepreneurs, and drive economic growth across the Commonwealth.”Gov. Ralph Northam
In this round of grants, 12 regional projects and one project through GO Virginia’s Economic Resilience and Recovery Program will see funds.
The awarded projects will receive an additional $4.9 million in local and non-state resources.
Below are the projects receiving funds during this round of awards:
Project Seed – Innovation Hub at Midtown Square
- Region 3: Counties of Cumberland and Prince Edward ($674,304)
- Longwood University, in partnership with Hampden Sydney College, will connect the community to local and regional resources for business and social entrepreneurship development by establishing an Innovation Hub in Downtown Farmville. This hub will include a digital makerspace, a community co-working space, a Small Business Development Center office to accelerate business concepts and an educational outreach center to host youth entrepreneurship courses and educator professional development opportunities to develop entrepreneurial education practice in the classroom.
Pathway Park Infrastructure
- Region 1: Counties of Bland and Smyth ($600,000)
- The Smyth County Economic Development Authority will further advance a business-ready development site by installing 2,000 feet of 8-inch water line and 1,600 feet of sewer line to Pathway Park, a 70-acre site in Smyth County. The project also includes the formation of a Regional Industrial Facilities Authority (RIFA) between Bland and Smyth counties to allow the localities to collaborate and competitively market the site for manufacturers and distribution centers.
- Regional 2: Montgomery County and the City of Roanoke ($599,437)
- The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (VTCRC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Foundation (VTF), in partnership with the city of Roanoke, Montgomery County, and Johnson & Johnson JLABS, will support a three-prong approach to grow the region’s health and life science cluster. Project Eagle+ will pilot a shared lab facility in Blacksburg at the VTCRC to meet the demand from small, early-stage companies, many of which are spinoffs from Virginia Tech and/or alumni of the Regional Accelerator & Mentoring Program (RAMP).
Agricultural Innovation Center
- Region 8: Cities of Buena Vista and Lexington and the Counties of Augusta and Rockbridge ($550,000)
- The Advancement Foundation and partners will create a multi-use facility featuring a business incubator and classrooms, agriculture and food tech labs, and a small-scale manufacturing space, as well as a processing and product development space. Strategically located in downtown Buena Vista, the Agricultural Innovation Center will transform a vacant 37,000-square-foot factory into a flagship, agricultural innovation facility that will grow the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, support Buena Vista’s downtown revitalization and serve as a model for future agricultural enterprise facilities in the Shenandoah Valley.
Mobilizing the Supply Chain with Critical Infrastructure
- Region 1: Scott County, the City of Bristol and the Town of Duffield ($212,200)
- Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) will create critical infrastructure in the food supply chain, including outfitting building space at Appalachian Harvest Food Hub with the equipment and space needed to process produce. This new infrastructure will help increase processing capacity and revenue for small scale agricultural product producers, a priority industry sector for Region 1. This facility will also enable trainees to learn value-added processing techniques in preparation for the increasing need for small-scale local food production and grocers’ needs for trained workers.
Convene and Collaborate – Region 7 REI
- Region 7: Counties of Fairfax and Loudown ($193,751)
- George Mason University (GMU) will lead Region 7’s Regional Entrepreneurship Initiative through convening and collaborating with entrepreneurial ecosystem players to develop a comprehensive ecosystem strategy and identify a coordinator for the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. GMU will engage with stakeholders through an advisory board, including regional council representatives, wide outreach to stakeholders for a series of engagement events, followed by the convening of workgroups and information synthesis garnered from events outreach.
Innovation Center Roadmap
- Region 7: Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax ($100,000)
- NOVA Labs will develop a plan to expand their Innovation Center, add new tools and equipment, and support programs for member companies that will contribute to their success and growth. The project’s long-term goal is to double the number of entrepreneur members and double the Innovation Center’s prototyping capacity in order to enhance Region 7’s start-up ecosystem, small business growth and technical workforce.
Unmanned Autonomous Systems (UxS) Route/Corridor Network Study
- Region 5: Cities of Hampton and Norfolk ($100,000)
- Old Dominion University’sVirginia Institute for Spaceflight and Autonomy (VISA) will examine how a network of nodes and routes utilizing air, ground and water through unmanned systems could expedite the transport of goods, services and travelers between currently underutilized entry points. The study will help inform the Autonomous Systems Strategic Playbook for Region 5, and leverage state and federal investment in maritime- and aviation-related facilities at NASA Wallops, Accomack County Airport, Fort Monroe, Cape Charles and others.
The Future Kings STEM Pipeline Project Focused on Black and Latino Boys
- Region 7: Prince William County and the City of Manassas ($97,000)
- Future Kings, a workforce development program that targets Black and Latino boys who are in grades six to 12, will lead a study to determine the feasibility of expanding the Future Kings program.
RIoT Pre-Accelerator Program
- Region 6: Counties of King George and Stafford and the City of Fredericksburg ($96,804)
- Regional Internet of Things (RIoT) will launch three six-week, pre-accelerator programs to help entrepreneurs who are still in the early-concept stage launch their new businesses. The pre-accelerator is a key component of a regional startup support system and will further the RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP). This project will create 12 businesses and 25 jobs, as well as generate $1.5 million in revenue.
Strategy and Roadmap for Growing the Controlled Environmental Agriculture (CEA) Sector
- Region 3: Counties of Amelia, Buckingham, Brunswick, Charlotte, Cumberland, Halifax, Lunenburg, Henry, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Patrick, Pittsylvania, and Prince Edward and the Cities of Danville and Martinsville ($77,053)
- The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), in partnership with the Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement, will develop a strategy and roadmap for supporting industry growth and workforce development for Controlled Environmental Agriculture (CEA) in Region 3. The strategy and roadmap will include an analysis of this emerging and dynamic agribusiness sector, including its industry and economic growth potential while identifying and validating needed facilities and infrastructure, workforce development issues, opportunities and applied research assets.
- Region 1: Counties of Washington and Wise and the City of Bristol ($49,750)
- InvestSWVA will perform a market analysis to evaluate opportunities for Region 1’s manufacturers to participate in the onshore and offshore wind supply chain. Project Veer builds on the region’s manufacturing history, recent efforts to become a key player in the renewable energy economy and regional strategies to advance as a manufacturing hub. This project will help manufacturers assess the business opportunity and assist companies in looking to diversify.
Economic Resilience and Recovery Awards: Growing the Pipeline: Expanding Early Stage Entrepreneurship Support
- Region 4: Counties of Henrico and Chesterfield and the City of Richmond ($250,000)
- Startup Virginia (SVA) will lead an effort to expand support for early-stage entrepreneurs through the implementation of technology platforms, addition of staff, and enhancement of incubator services and further development of two programs designed specifically for earliest-stage startups, the Idea Factory and the Entrepreneur Certificate Course. This project will support the entrepreneurial rise created by the pandemic to cultivate and expand the pool of early-stage startups in Region 4 by increasing SVA’s incubator capacity to support more aspiring entrepreneurs while enhancing incubator services for early-stage startups who desire to move beyond the idea stage.