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Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: August 8, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel, | Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development: Amanda Love, (804) 371-7006,

Governor Northam Announces $180,000 in Community Business Launch Funding

Grants will provide support for targeted entrepreneurial training

COVINGTON—Governor Ralph Northam today announced $180,000 in Community Business Launch (CBL) awards for five communities in Virginia. The cities of Danville, Galax and Suffolk, as well as a joint partnership between the city of Covington and the town of Clifton Forge, will receive CBL funding to provide training to entrepreneurs and conduct business plan competitions that align with local and regional economic development strategies, primarily in Virginia’s downtown commercial districts.

“Community Business Launch truly involves the community in identifying businesses needed in their downtowns and supporting the businesses beyond their grand opening,” said Governor Northam. “By combining training with a business plan competition, we are seeding and nurturing strong local entrepreneurial ecosystems that will support current and future small business growth.”

CBL is implemented through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) with a goal of supporting localities in their efforts to create a productive environment for new businesses and jobs that support their vision for revitalization.

“Community Business Launch is a resourceful program that offers training to entrepreneurs to prepare small business owners for the rigors of operating in today’s rapidly changing commercial climate,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We look forward to new businesses opening and current businesses expanding throughout these communities that will only enhance the vibrancy and quality of life in each of these downtown districts.”

Since 2014, $1.26 million in CBL funds have been awarded to 19 communities serving more than 370 participating entrepreneurs across Virginia. In total, CBL has garnered more than $1.4 million in private investment, with more than 125 new full-time jobs created and at least 60 jobs retained.

Five applications requesting $225,000 in funding were received. Projects were reviewed and evaluated competitively, with an emphasis on those with the capacity to implement a successful campaign, alignment with regional or local strategies and the availability of matching resources.

2018 CBL Grantees:




Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation

City of Covington and Town of Clifton Forge


River District Association

City of Danville


City of Galax

City of Galax


City of Suffolk

City of Suffolk


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