Virginia's e-Region

LEBANON, Va. -- Eighteen small businesses were granted seed money to get their new ventures off the ground in Southwest Virginia on Thursday.

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority approved $180,000 in seed capital matching grant funding during a Thursday meeting in Lebanon, according to a written statement.

 “VCEDA’s seed capital matching grant program has been a very successful program since it was started in 2017,” VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher said in the statement. “The program has successfully resulted in investment by small businesses in our local communities and has also created jobs benefitting residents in VCEDA’s seven county, one-city area.  In addition to VCEDA’s other programs and initiatives which are more targeted to traditional industrial development, we believe that supporting entrepreneurship and small business growth is another very important component of enhancing the economy of the region.”

For-profit businesses that have been operating for less than a year and employ less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants of up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. The businesses must be located in, or plan to operate in the VCEDA region including Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton, in order to apply for the funding.

The new businesses are projected to create a combined total of $769,819 in private investment and 135 full-time and part-time jobs.  In addition to these 18 seed capital matching grants, the board approved an up to a $106,762 grant to the Breaks Interstate Park Commission for additional improvements and upgrades at the park and an up to $486,994.82 grant requested by the University of Virginia’s College at Wise Foundation, Inc. for the development of the Clinch River Ecological Education Center at the Oxbow Center in St. Paul, according to the statement.

Since VCEDA’s Seed Capital Matching Grant program started two years ago, 53 new small businesses spread throughout all seven VCEDA coalfield counties and the city of Norton, have been approved for grant funding totaling $563,500, according to the VCEDA website.  The economic impact of these 53 small businesses is projected to be $3.13 million in private investment and 542 full-time and part-time jobs within five years.

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