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Recent blog posts

Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC) Small Business Networking Session

The purpose of this session is to offer small business subcontractors an opportunity to meet with the potential awardee large business General Contractors for Construction Contract 3 for the U.S. Department of State, Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC).

Monday, March 20, 2017, 3:30 PM
Officer’s Club at Pickett Park
3951 Military Road, Blackstone, VA 23824

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Micro Loan Program now available!

Great news for entrepreneurs looking start a new business or expand their current business! VGA is launching our new Pack Fund micro loan program, through which you can borrow up to $40,000 at low interest rates.

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Featured Site: Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center (MaMaC), Virginia's Only Certified MegaSite

The Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center is a 1,545-acre megasite offering a central position along the eastern seaboard of the United States.

With I-95 frontage, CSX main line rail access and a direct route to Virginia ports, the site boasts easy access to both national and international markets via road, rail, and sea.

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Building The Best Sandcastle: Meet UpStart Facilitator Sheri McGuire

Sheri McGuireSheri McGuire is the executive director of Longwood Small Business Development Center. She has helped craft the curriculum for Virginia’s Growth Alliances UpStart Entrepreneur Bootcamp and also is a facilitator during group sessions.

Through the SBDC, she provides follow-up mentoring and guidance to students when the bootcamp is completed.


We sat down with Sheri to get her insights on entrepreneurial excellence:

How is UpStart different from other courses designed to help entrepreneurs?

In the past, the course had been taught in the traditional classroom style. The focus was on writing a business plan. There was a textbook and lectures.

I looked at all that with Nick Langlie, and he suggested incorporating the Business Model Canvas, which focuses

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SVCC Awards its 20,000th Career Readiness Certificate

Southside Virginia Community College recently awarded its 20,000th Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) becoming the first member of the Virginia Community College System to reach the benchmark. The recipient was Isaiah Godfrey, a rising senior at Prince Edward County High School, who scored at the platinum level.

Virginia’s Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) is an assessment-based credential that gives employers and career seekers a uniform measure of key workplace skills. The WorkKeys system was developed by ACT (formerly American College Testing) to meet the demand from business and industry for a reliable screening tool that could help employers identify the best candidates based on the work-related skills needed to be successful on the job.

“The CRC is a wonderful tool for workforce development,” said Dennis Smith, Director of

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Entrepreneurship For Everyone: Mecklenburg Students Learn What It Takes To Start A Business

A lot has changed since Mecklenburg High School students first started school.

In the beginning, they could walk freely in and out of buildings. Almost anyone could visit at any time. But, schools have had to take steps to increase student safety.  Now students have to scan a badge to get in and out of buildings, while visitors must use a buzzer at the school entrance.

In a Biz Venture Entrepreneurship course being taught at Mecklenburg’s two high schools this year, students are creating their own businesses. Real businesses, with the opportunity for investment and growth beyond the classroom..

 “We hope to make a difference,” says Noah, a junior at Park View High School. He and his team of fellow students think their particular business idea has the potential to save lives when the badges and buzzers fail.

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From Doubtful Baker To Confident Businesswoman: UpStart Takes Maria’s Sweet Creations To The Next Level

Six months ago, former first-grade teacher and baking enthusiast Maria Hamilton wasn’t sure she wanted to be in business. Several years before, she’d left Cumberland Elementary School when she had her first child. Maria went from taking cupcakes to her children’s classrooms to baking wedding cakes. Soon, as friends started asking her to bake sweets for them, Maria’s hobby began supplementing her family’s income. She created a Facebook page and before long she had big clients, like Centra Southside Community Hospital, that used her for special events.

But, she wasn’t sure she could pull off owning her own business. “I was asking myself, ‘Am I really going to do this or should I go back to teaching?’” she says. “I wondered if I could run my own business.”

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New Issue of The Virginian!

Check out the latest issue of The Virginian Spring 2015.. It's full of information about life in the VGA!

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Entrepreneurship, Good Ideas, Business Risks and My Little Pony: Meet UpStart Instructor Nicholas Langlie

Dr. Nicholas Langlie, known to many as Nick, is the creator and lead instructor for UpStart Entrepreneur Bootcamp offered by Virginia’s Growth Alliance (VGA). The second bootcamp is scheduled to start mid-May and is open to any aspiring business owners living in the VGA region, which includes Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Greensville, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Lunenburg, and Prince Edward counties, and the City of Emporia.

For more information, visit http://www.thinkbiggervga/grow

Nick is currently the Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (DIE) at Longwood University. He still chuckles about the acronym.

What’s the biggest thing you hope students learn during UpStart?

I want students to figure out great ideas that people are willing to pay for. And, if they can’t do that, to encourage them to not move forward with whatever idea they have. Because, business ideas

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UpStart Prepares Keysville-Native To Start Local Childcare Center

LaTreasa Early has always had a gift for teaching. Although she currently works for the federal government helping adults earn their GED or high school diploma, her true love has always been early childhood education. “It has always been a passion of mine” says LaTreasa who holds two Master’s degrees, one in Education from Trinity University and one in Educational Leadership from George Mason University.

Now that passion is bringing her home.

Born and raised in Keysville, Virginia, Latreasa is working to open a preschool based in Charlotte County for the area’s youngest learners, from 6 months to four years old.

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A Love Of Stories Moves Local Reporter To Start Her Own Business

A year ago, Ilsa Loeser had the distinct feeling that something was missing. Despite a successful job as a reporter at The Farmville Herald, where her work garnered her both state and national awards, she knew what she loved most was telling stories.

“There were all these people in the community that were doing good and interesting things and no one was telling their stories,” she says. Although The Herald covered many of them, between budget discussions, crime reports and house fires, reporters didn’t have enough time to capture them all. And since the people doing good were equally pressed for time, many powerful stories were simply not being told.

That’s when Ilsa decided to start her own business.

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Diesel Mechanic Shifts Into Gear Thanks To VGA’s UpStart Entrepreneur Bootcamp

Austin Newsom always knew there was a need for an independent diesel mechanic in the Charlottesville area, even at the age of 17.

That’s when he bought his first diesel truck and, like vehicles are wont to do,  it broke down.

“There was no one to fix it,” says Austin, who was attending Albemarle High School at the time. “So, I fixed it myself.”

Now, at 26, he’s ready to start his own shop. For the past 4.5 years he’s been the in-shop mechanic for Foster Well & Pump Company, located in Earlysville, near Charlottesville, Virginia. With a certification in diesel and automotive repair and nine years experience, his weekends are already filled with side work on Jeeps and diesel vehicles.

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Governor McAuliffe Announces 113 New Jobs in Greensville County

510nano Incorporated to invest $11 million to relocate headquarters and establish manufacturing operation

510nanoGREENSVILLE COUNTY, VA - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today (March 16, 2015) that 510nano Incorporated, a developer of renewable energy projects and technologies, will invest $11 million to relocate its headquarters and establish a manufacturing operation in Greensville County. The company will construct a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility for the production of solar panels in Greensville County Industrial Park. The project will create 113 new jobs.

 Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Creating these 21st century jobs in the advanced manufacturing and renewable energy sectors is critical as we work to build a new Virginia economy. 510nano’s investment in Greensville County is a huge win for the Commonwealth and especially for a community that is transforming itself.”
“Greensville County is a great fit for 510nano’s headquarters and new manufacturing operation, offering a site that meets the company’s needs, a superior workforce, a manufacturing industry cluster and close proximity to a world class port,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “We are confident that 510nano will continue to profitably pursue its strategic vision from its new Virginia location.”

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Free social media marketing workshops start in May

Newly revamped, powerful marketing workshop series!

Each workshop will focus on a different social media topic AND a different marketing concept.

These workshops are sponsored by Virginia's Growth Alliance for businesses in our member communities (counties of Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Greensville, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Lunenburg, & Prince Edward, and the City of Emporia).

One outstanding participant AND their VGA member community will win $750 in free design services - that's $1500 total!

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Governor McAuliffe Announces 37 New Jobs in Charlotte County

~ Blue Ridge Railcar Repair to invest $2.41 million to expand operation~

RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Blue Ridge Railcar Repair LLC (Blue Ridge), a subsidiary of Patriot Rail Company LLC, will invest $2.41 million to expand its operations in Charlotte County. Virginia successfully competed against Louisiana for the project, which will create 37 new jobs.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Blue Ridge Railcar Repair was established in Charlotte County in December 2013, bringing an existing railcar repair facility back into operation and adding jobs and tax revenue to a community that has been hard hit by industry loss. Less than a year later, the company will expand to include railcar cleaning, blasting and painting capabilities to meet increased demand in the marketplace and grow its customer base, bringing an additional 37 new jobs that will pay above the county’s prevailing average wage. The new investment and job opportunities for Southern Virginia are exactly what we need to build a new Virginia Economy, and we look forward to Blue Ridge’s success in Charlotte County in the coming years.”

“The prosperity of existing businesses is vital to economic development in Virginia, and we are proud of Blue Ridge Railcar Repair’s success in Charlotte County in the past year,” said Maurice Jones, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “An increasing need for the company’s services in the market is great news, and the facility in Keysville can accommodate the demand with this expansion. We thank Blue Ridge for its investment, and commend Charlotte County on providing a business environment that allows the company to flourish.”

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New free marketing workshop series kicking off next week

Grow Social marketing workshop seriesVGA is kicking off a new free marketing workshop series, GrowSocial, in South Hill on Thursday, September 18 at 6:30pm. The same workshop will be presented in Farmville on Thursday, September 25 at 6:30pm.

This first workshop of the GrowSocial marketing workshop series will be an overview of the major social media outlets, explaining what each is, how they differ from each other, what they're used for, and how they can be used together in a coordinated way. We will also give an overview of Longwood SBDC's new UpStart entrepreneur bootcamp. Along with these topics, an overview of other new entrepreneur initatives of VGA will be presented with a discussion on how to get your small business involved.

Topics covered in the series will include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and other social channels; using blogging and newsletters in coordination with social media; and how to utilize the VGA’s new Shop Local website to sell online.

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Think Bigger - Business Empowerment Initiative


The VGA is launching a business empowerment initiative we like to call, Think Bigger. The initiative combines a series of bootcamp-style entrepreneurial training courses with social media marketing workshops, and is designed to promote entrepreneurial thinking by providing a wealth of business and marketing resources and training to local entrepreneurs and existing small businesseses.

UpStart, (entrepreneurial training), is offered in partnership with the Longwood Small Business Development Center and Longwood University. With both face-to-face and online components, the series will be designed for students to be able to learn most of the subject matter interactively and online, prior to class time, so that the face-to-face and live experiences will focus on hands-on application with real world experts.

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SVCC Regional Job Fair!

Companies from all around our region will be on hand to MEET YOU!

b2ap3_thumbnail_svcc-jobfair.jpgThe Job Fair is open to all job seekers. Free admission. Dress to impress and bring plenty of resumes!

This could be your chance to land the job of your dreams, so come prepared to show companies why you're who they need.

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Research and Development Grant Program Information Sessions

b2ap3_thumbnail_VA_TIC_Logo.pngPresented By the Virginia Tobacco Commission
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 | 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM  &  1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Overview: A one hour information and question & answer session on the grant program guidelines, funding priorities, evaluation criteria, and application process for the Virginia Tobacco Commission’s Research & Development Grant Program.

Targeted sectors for R&D grant awards include chemicals and materials (i.e. nano-materials and biopolymers), information technology services (i.e. health IT, cyber security), biomedical and health care (i.e. point-of care diagnostics, computational technologies), energy, and clean energy & environment.

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Virginia River Recreation Workshop set for September 17th, 18th


Maurice-JonesSecretary of Commerce, Maurice Jones is keynote speaker at the South Hill / Clarkvsille Virginia River Recreation Workshop.

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File Icon 2014 TransTech Alliance Financial Statement
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