A Winning Combination: Partnerships that Produce
Join Virginia Department of Business Assistance and the Virginia Community College System to learn how a collaboration of over 25 state and federal government, and local organizations in rural and urban communities are partnering to connect entrepreneurs with resources that provide education on starting and growing a business in Virginia.
The "Entrepreneur Express: Moving Your Business Forward" workshop program started in late 2006 as a way to make business support resources more accessible to entrepreneurs in the 23, mostly rural, Southwest Virginia counties that have been impacted by off shoring from the textile and furniture industry. Due to the regions geography and distance to resources for small business, new entrepreneurs and potential new business owners were not aware and uneducated about the resources available to move their business forward. This ½ day training event is held in economically challenge communities and covers business planning basics, marketing, financing and other small business assistance resources. In Virginia, there are 26 state agencies; over 100 programs and over 300 forms that may touch a Virginia business….the program focus is to match resources to the needs of rural Virginia’s small business community. This collaborative program with local, regional, state and federal resource providers is taking the resources into the communities and educating entrepreneurs who need help. Today, it is Virginia’s signature business outreach program in every part of the state. Partnering with the Virginia Community College System has allowed for the development of an entrepreneur pipeline to build demand for in depth business training at campuses. Since August 2007, 20 workshops reaching 770 entrepreneurs have been conducted in predominately rural Southwest Virginia.
Virginia recently launched a new online Business One-Stop to support entrepreneurship development that can help new entrepreneurs determine their business formation requirements and can pre-fill their business registration forms.
Sandy Ratliff, Business Services Manager, Virginia Department of Business Assistance, VA
Trenton Hightower, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development Services, Virginia Community College System, VA