Five Lynchburg start-ups that completed the City’s first CO.STARTERS program received Community Business Launch grants totaling $40,000 at an awards ceremony on Thursday. Businesses will start or expand their business operations in Lynchburg’s Enterprise Zone 2.
The Community Business Launch (CBL) is a program of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, designed to assist communities in taking a systems approach to defining and pursuing an asset-based small business development strategy. The program starts with a community’s unique vision for its future and then uses a local business competition to find and foster the entrepreneurs that connect with that vision.
Competing businesses started the application process in the spring and graduated from CO.STARTERS, a nine-week program designed to equip Lynchburg’s entrepreneurs with the tools and skills needed to take their business from an idea to a startup. 14 businesses participated in a private pitch night on May 19th to narrow the group to five finalists. Businesses receiving awards include:
- The Craft Crucible – Owner, Randy Smith
- Good Karma Tea & Wellness – Owner, Cameo Hoyle
- Joy’s Absolutely Fabulous Treats – Owner, Tarsha Joyner
- Benny Scarpetta’s – Owner, Amanda Ostrander
- Golf Park Coffee Co. – Owner, Adam Shurr
The pitch night and awards kicked off Lynchburg Innovation Week, a 3-day series of events designed to highlight Lynchburg’s business community, inspire citizens to take an active role in growing the City, and connect local entrepreneurs and startups with accomplished and long standing business leaders. The event, taking place in the Riverviews’ Craddock Terry Gallery, features a variety of content and activities that provide opportunities to learn, network, and celebrate the progressive economic development happening in the City of Lynchburg
Lynchburg Innovation Week will continue on Friday, June 3rd at 4:00 p.m. with a keynote and workshop from 18F, the U.S. Government’s Digital Service Agency. 18F is most notably known as “America's Secret Startup that Saved healthcare.gov.” Software engineers from 18F’s home office in Washington, D.C. will deliver a keynote address about the challenges of integrating digital technology into government, and the innovative future for tech and policy. Following the keynote, 18F will lead an interactive workshop with attendees on developing creative solutions to solve local challenges. Lynchburg Innovation Week concludes on Saturday, June 4th with a free screen printing workshop by Vector Space, followed up a coding meetup by eDocuments Solutions. Visit www.opportunitylynchburg.com for the complete schedule.
The Community Business Launch program is supported by the Lynchburg Economic Development Authority, Lynch's Landing and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
Link: More information about Lynchburg’s Community Business Launch grant
Link: About DHCD Community Business Launch