Great ideas taking root

Published 11:04 am Wednesday, February 20, 2019

It was fascinating and exciting to hear the aftermath of the public workshop providing an overview of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD)’s Community Business Launch (CBL) grant.

The grant by DHCD is central to an initiative from the towns of Victoria and Kenbridge to jumpstart small businesses from county entrepreneurs, or receive funding to expand existing small businesses.

What’s more exciting is to hear that residents’ response to the event exceeded expectations.

“I went into the meeting expecting it to be myself, Robyn (Fowler), Glenn (Millican), representatives of the CRC (Commonwealth Regional Council) and two to three other citizens,” Victoria Town Manager Rodney Newton said. “We ran out of parking at the airport. We ran out of seats in the airport terminal, and everybody stayed … to ask questions.”

This response is especially encouraging after hearing a positive track record for the grant.

Newton said approximately 104 new small businesses have appeared as a result of the grant. He said South Boston has participated in the grant program and said Chilhowie, an area similar in size to the towns of Victoria and Kenbridge, saw eight new businesses come as a result of the grant.

Brown’s Store District Supervisor Mike Hankins said he has been involved with the grant process in the region and praised the grant’s success in Emporia, Clarksville and South Boston.

“It is a great opportunity for our community, and people in our community, for their economic development and to bring some jobs in,” Hankins said.

Lunenburg County has a number of passionate and resourceful small business owners who have creatively set out to make a positive impact for their neighbors.

A fun component of the program is that the towns would organize a small business competition. Similar to Shark Tank, entrepreneurs would pitch their ideas to a board of judges. The winners of the competition would be determined by the businesses that best fit what residents most need, and would receive grant funding.

Lunenburg County voted to approve a letter of support for the grant. The grant proposal is due March 1.

We commend everyone involved with this grant, and are excited to see how the grant can help great ideas from county resident take root in our community.