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Organizations offer helping hand to companies getting off the ground

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli
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Bob Summers is the founder of TechPad.

Starting or owning a business is not for the faint of heart, so it’s nice to have some help along the way.  Thankfully, Virginia has several organizations aimed at helping companies succeed, whether the assistance involves formulation of a business plan or guidance on taking out a loan.
A great resource for startup companies are business incubators, which help companies survive and grow during the startup phase. Virginia has several business incubators, highlighted in the following pages by square feet.
The Virginia Biotech Center at the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park in Richmond has graduated more than 40 companies, three of which now are publicly traded. Amenities offered at the center include wet lab and office space, high-speed Internet and meeting rooms.
TechPad in downtown Blacksburg offers companies access to Gigabit Internet, which is 100 times faster than the average Internet speed. In Northern Virginia, Uberoffices provides co-working spaces for small businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers. The New River Valley Business Center in Radford includes office and manufacturing areas. 
A good resource for small businesses is the Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network. The network offers companies counseling, training, seminars and workshops. It is a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration, George Mason University-Mason Enterprise Center and other organizations throughout the state.
Virginia SBDC has specific programs for veterans, retailers, restaurateurs and companies interested in exporting. Virginia SBDC’s Small Town & Merchant Program (STAMP), for example, offers retailers and restaurants workshops, resources and initiatives to help them succeed.
Besides the organizations outlined above, other resources for businesses in the commonwealth include the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Department of Business Assistance.

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