$90K in business grants go to Buena Vista, Blackstone
Projects to bring more jobs, businesses to downtown districts
Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that $90,000 in Community Business Launch (CBL) grants, which provide business plan competition funding, will go to the town of Blackstone in Nottoway County and the city of Buena Vista.
CBL funding also offers training for entrepreneurs focused on regional economic development.
“This public health crisis has underscored the value of programs like CBL that prepare entrepreneurs for the rigors of operating in a fast-changing business environment,” Northam said in a statement. “As we respond to the economic devastation this virus has caused and look ahead toward a post-pandemic future, Virginia will continue to use every resource available to support the small businesses that are the heart of our downtown commercial districts and the bedrock of our economy.”
Half of the funding announced Wednesday will go toward the Blackstone Business Launch, an eight-week business competition for retail businesses to address vacancies created by the pandemic. The project is expected to create or expand four businesses and create at least 10 jobs.
The remaining $45,000 will go toward the Buena Vista Community Business Launch, a 10-week business competition focused on Buena Vista’s downtown district. The city would like to see hospitality, small-scale manufacturing and web-based retail in the downtown area. The project is expected to expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.
The program is administered through the state Department of Housing and Community Development, and since 2014, $1.53 million in CBL funds have been awarded to 24 Virginia communities. In total, CBL has gathered more than $2.25 million in private investment, with more than 230 full-time jobs created.
“CBL supports communities in identifying businesses needed in their downtown districts and supporting those businesses beyond the grand opening,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said in a statement. “By combining training with a business plan competition, we are creating and nurturing strong local entrepreneurial ecosystems that will support current and future small business growth.”