Shenandoah Valley Business Resources

We all know that Shenandoah Valley businesses and potential startups have been affecting during this time. Below, you can find information about two programs that provide access to resources for both startup companies and growing businesses.

Small Business Resiliency Team (SBRT) Program:

The SBRT is funded by a GO Virginia grant with the goal of providing expanded business support services and technical assistance to area businesses in the wake of COVID-19 challenges. The program will deploy Business Resiliency Navigators to guide growth-oriented businesses through a dedicated and well-designed process for achieving incremental and sustainable growth throughout the pandemic recovery period.

How does the SBRT program work?

  • You will receive personalized service from your SBRT Navigator* as they develop an Action Plan specifically designed to help you reach your goals.
  • Your Navigator will identify and invite Experts in appropriate fields to add information and help you implement the steps from your Plan.
  • They will also provide tools and other resources to assist you and introduce local service providers for specialized tasks.
  • The SBRT program costs you nothing until you may decide to engage one of the local providers to continue working for you to implement needed tasks.

More information at https://www.valleysbdc.org/sbrt/

Startup Shenandoah Valley:

Startup Shenandoah Valley is a hybrid program that combines the strengths of accelerator and incubator models. The program delivers online coaching to identify and address the riskiest parts of each entrepreneur’s business model. Participants will join a cohort with access to the best resource providers, mentors, and investors in and beyond the region. This powerful network and flexible online guidance are what make S2V unique. S2V is offered to participants at no charge and without equity requirements.

More information at https://stauntonfund.org/s2v/ 

Shenandoah Valley Business Scale-Up Program:

In partnership with the National Center For Economic Gardening (NCEG) and the GO Virginia Region 8 local jurisdictions,* the Shenandoah Valley Business Scale-Up program provides qualifying second-stage companies with custom resources to identify and resolve distinct growth challenges that traditional business assistance and incentives do not address.

Companies accepted into the program begin an engagement period of approximately 6-8 weeks for quick turnaround time and highly-focused structure.  The typical length of engagement with the National Center is approximately 12-16 weeks.  A portion of costs are covered by a GO Virginia Region 8 matching grant and the company’s respective local governing body.

Eligible companies will receive customized services from a team of research specialists, including, but not limited to:

  • Strategic growth plans to develop new markets, refine business models, and utilize competitive intelligence
  • Increased visibility through improved digital presence, search engine optimization, and social media marketing
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data analysis and mapping

More information at https://theshenandoahvalley.com/resources-reports/business-scale-up-program/

Local and State COVID-19 Recovery Funding

We know how many business and non-profits have been affected during this unprecedented time, so we felt the need to compile a list of active local and state COVID-19 recovery programs. If you have additional items that you would like reflected in this list, please contact us at admin@svtc-va.org.

  • Rebuild VA
    Location: Virginia
    The Rebuild VA Grant Fund is a program to help small businesses and non-profits whose normal operations were disrupted by COVID-19, including restaurants, brick and mortar retail, exercise and fitness facilities, personal care and personal grooming services, entertainment and public amusement establishments, and campgrounds.
  • Virginia 30 Day Fund
    Location: Virginia
    Virginia businesses that qualify: small businesses that employ three to 30 people; based in Virginia and have been operating for at least one year; owned and operated by a Virginia resident.
  • Harrisonburg-Rockingham Small Business Resilience Grant Program
    Location: Harrisonburg & Rockingham County
    Developed through a partnership with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham COVID-19 Business Support Taskforce and the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, this program was developed to support and provide resources for businesses in the Harrisonburg and Rockingham area in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • COVID-19 HR Community Response Fund Grant Opportunity
    Location: Harrisonburg & Rockingham County
    Harrisonburg and Rockingham County 501(c)3 nonprofit community-based organizations, with experience and history of providing individuals and families with services and support, are eligible for funding.
  • Shenandoah County Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Assistance Grant
    Location: Shenandoah County
    Qualifying Businesses can apply for up to $15,000 to include: Up to 6 months in rent or mortgage relief; reopening expenses, utility payments, payroll or debt service related to capital expenditures such as business equipment or personal property
  • Frederick County COVID-19 Business & Non-Profit Grant Program
    Location: Frederick County
    Frederick County, Virginia’s COVID-19 Business & Non-Profit Grant Program is designed to provide immediate financial assistance to Frederick County’s small businesses and non-profits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant program will provide grants of $5,000, $7,500, or $10,000 to businesses with 2019 annual gross revenues of at least $30,000 but less than $3 million.
  • Historic Sites Emergency Grant
    Location: Shenandoah Valley
    Funds are provided by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation to historic sites or organizations who run historic sites (including, but not limited to, museums, historic societies, historic homes, and battlefield groups) in the greater Shenandoah Valley region.
  • Just Transition Fund Rapid Response Grant Fund
    Location: National
    JTF provides a variety of grants to support community-based organizations working on innovative projects in response to the changing coal economy.

(updated October 23, 2020)

 

League $500,000 Allocated for Second Round of Frederick County, Virginia COVID-19 Business/Non-Profit Grant Program

October 16, 2020 – Frederick County, VA

Round Two of the Frederick County, Virginia COVID-19 Business/Non-Profit Grant Program will open on Friday, October 23, at 8 am. Grants of $5,000, $7,500, or $10,000 will be awarded to Frederick County businesses and non-profits adversely affected by the pandemic, with 2019 annual gross revenues of at least $30,000 but less than $3 million. Round Two eligibility is expanded to include non-profits located outside of Frederick County. Grant amounts for non-profits located outside of Frederick County will be awarded on a sliding scale based on percentage of Frederick County residents served and 2019 revenues. For example, a non-profit with $500,000 in gross revenues for 2019 that can document 50% of their service goes to Frederick County residents, could qualify for a grant of $5,000. Businesses and non-profits awarded in Round One are ineligible for award in Round Two.

Seventy (70) Frederick County businesses and non-profits were awarded in Round One, totaling $662,500. A list of businesses receiving awards can be viewed here. Total allocated funding for Round Two is $500,000, which includes the remaining $337,500 from Round One and an additional allocation of $162,500.

Funding is provided through Frederick County’s Coronavirus Relief Funds under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Grant recipients will be chosen by a random drawing of all eligible and certified applications if total applicant requests exceed the $500,000 in budgeted funding. Businesses may use grants to be reimbursed for only expenses directly related to the immediate impacts of COVID-19. Receipts or proof of qualified expenses must be provided to receive payment.

Completed applications may be submitted online beginning 8 am, Friday, October 23, through 5 pm, Friday, October 30, at YesFrederickVA.com/CovidGrants. Applications may be mailed to the Frederick County EDA, 45 East Boscawen Street, Winchester, VA 22601. Mailed applications must be postmarked by Friday, October 30.

Incomplete applications will impact business’ eligibility to receive grant funds.

Application details, including full eligibility requirements, grant category information, and grant terms and conditions may be found at YesFrederickVA.com/CovidGrants.

Applicants will be notified by the Frederick County EDA via email on or around Friday, November 20, 2020, as to whether they are receiving a grant award.

Questions regarding the program should be sent to covidgrants@yesfrederickva.com.

CONTACT
Patrick Barker, CEcD
Frederick County EDA, Executive Director
(540) 665-0973 | pbarker@yesfrederickva.com

Governor Northam Allocates $30 Million in CARES Act Funding to Fast-Track Broadband Projects

Richmond, VA – October 7, 2020

Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia is allocating $30 million in funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to improve broadband access in underserved localities.

Localities must apply for the funding, and eligible projects are those able to be completed within the time constraints on spending federal dollars, which means more Virginians could get connected to high-speed, broadband internet by the end of the year.

“Broadband is to today’s economy like electricity was generations ago-when you have it, you can get ahead,” said Governor Northam. “High-speed internet is essential for students to connect to education, business to connect to the wider world, and citizens to connect to work. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this even more clear, as so much of our lives have moved to virtual platforms. Since day one of our administration, we have made it a priority to increase access to broadband, and I am pleased that we can help more Virginians make those connections now, when they are needed most.”

The State Council of Higher Education in Virginia estimates that 200,000 K-12 students and 60,000 college students in Virginia lack access to broadband at home. Universal broadband access has been a priority for the Northam administration, which has worked to support broadband infrastructure projects capable of connecting more than 108,000 homes and businesses. Governor Northam’s current budget proposals include $85 million in investments for broadband infrastructure.

“Any part of Virginia without broadband risks being left behind in our increasingly digital world,” said Senator Jennifer Boysko, Chairwoman of the Broadband Advisory Council. “This initiative will speed up the work of connecting every corner of Virginia, so that everyone has access to opportunity.”

“Broadband access is a matter of equity, as the pandemic and the rise in virtual meetings and classes demonstrate,” said Delegate Roslyn Tyler, Vice Chairwoman of the Broadband Advisory Council. “Getting broadband access to rural and urban Virginia helps to ensure that everyone in Virginia moving forward together, and I applaud the Governor for devoting CARES Act funding to this critical priority.”

The CARES Act funding allocated to this initiative is separate from other broadband funding streams. Localities are encouraged to creatively address the digital divide, including projects that address infrastructure or the cost of broadband services.

The follow are examples of eligible projects. Projects not listed below, but related to broadband and telecommunications expansion will also be considered.

  • Broadband infrastructure capable of delivering a minimum of 25Mbps/3Mbps to Virginians currently unserved, with limited overbuilding of existing infrastructure.
  • Broadband service connection costs for passings or property with high cost for individual connections, no greater than $10,000 per connection. Examples of such connections are for passings with long driveways, on a private road, or that have costs associated with a rail or highway crossing.
  • Cellular transmission equipment for parts of the Commonwealth without cell service.

The program will launch Friday, October 9, and only localities are eligible to apply for funding. Additional information will be provided to local chief administrative officers. Detailed program and application information will be made available at commonwealthconnect.virginia.gov.

Virginia Broadband Funding:  https://commonwealthconnect.virginia.gov/virginia-funding

Rebuild Virginia: A Small Business Grant Program

Rebuild! VA Graphic

The Rebuild VA Grant Fund is a program to help small businesses and nonprofits whose normal operations were disrupted by COVID-19. Businesses and non-profits that are approved for a Rebuild VA grant may receive up to 3 times their average monthly eligible expenses up to a maximum of $10,000. The Rebuild VA program has been capitalized with $70 million and will provide assistance to approximately 7,000 businesses and nonprofits. Half of the program funds will be distributed to eligible small businesses and nonprofits operating in low-income and economically disadvantaged communities, including ensuring there is adequate representation of minority-owned and women-owned businesses. Applications open on August 10, 2020.

Webinars: How to Apply

These sessions will go over the eligibility requirements and documentation needed to apply when the application opens on August 10th.

One of the key things about this grant application is you get one shot to fill it out, you cannot return to the application and update or load new/additional documents, so have these ready in PDF form to upload with the application! This is a first come, first served opportunity, so get your documents ready to apply August 10.

Applicants must include the following supporting documentation with their application.
  • SCC Certificate of Good Standing
  • Incorporation documents for your business-or non-profit, including one of the following:
    • Articles of Incorporation (e.g., C-Corp, S-Corp)
    • Articles of Organization (e.g., LLC)
    • Declaration of Partnership (e.g., Partnership)
    • IRS Letter of Determination (e.g., 501c3)
    • Business License (e.g., Sole Proprietor, Independent Contractor)
    • Certificate of Fictitious Name (e.g., Sole Proprietor, Independent Contractor)
    • Form 1099 (individual contractors)
  • Current Owner Photo ID (e.g., VA Driver’s License, VA Real ID, Permanent Resident Card, Passport)
  • Copies of 2019 Federal Income Tax Returns, and 2019 interim financial statement. If your 2019 Federal Income Tax Return has not been filed, a year-end profit-and-loss statement and balance sheet for 2019.
  • Commonwealth of VA Substitute W-9 form
  • Documentation demonstrating qualifying salary or payroll, including one of the following:
    • VEC-FC-21/20 quarterly report
    • Payroll processor records;
    • Payroll tax filings;
    • Form 1099-MISC; or
    • Other documentation to demonstrate the qualifying salary or payroll
  • Mortgage statements or rent/lease agreements
  • Utility bills
  • Paid invoices, contracts, cancelled checks, or other documentation to substantiate eligible COVID-19 expenses incurred to continue operations or re-open the business or non-profit.

One important point is that if a company has received government funding through the CARES ACT from any federal, state or local agency, they will not be eligible for this program. That would include any firm that received PPP, EIDL, CDBG, etc.

You can find additional information at https://www.governor.virginia.gov/rebuildva/

Shenandoah Valley Guide to Re-Opening Business

Shenandoah Valley Guide to Re-Opening Business

To ensure the safety of our community and to help you navigate the new normal, the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, local chambers, and the Business Resilience Task Force came together to create a re-opening business guide. They have included many of the recommendations developed by the Back to Work Virginia Task Force along with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with many other federal, state, and local resources.

The Work Hard. Work Smart. Work Safe. Guide will act as a living document that will updated during this dynamic and changing time, so please give your local Chamber of Commerce immediate feedback.

Bricks and Clicks: Small Business Recovery Program

Bricks and Clicks for Small Business Recovery is a three-part, partnership-driven small business assistance program. It offers training, customized technical assistance, and the opportunity to receive a grant. Through Bricks & Clicks, technical experts will be matched with businesses for one-on-one consultations to help them identify solutions to their challenges. Additionally, grants up to $5,000 will be awarded for digital or bricks-and-mortar improvements designed to help customers feel safe and comfortable when patronizing businesses in-person, and more confident in their online purchases.

Applicants will be asked to discuss “problem statements” or challenges they are now facing in their recovery from the pandemic. The review team will use these statements to match selected applicants with various technical experts (business advisors, interior designers or architects, website developers, marketing experts, etc). These experts will take a deep dive with you into your business and offer customized recommendations and ideas to help your business solve challenges and support your long-term sustainability. When possible, we may match you with multiple experts to get you the support you need.

Most applicants already have an idea of the type of projects for which they would like to request grant funding. Your technical assistance expert can help you fine-tune a strategy for meeting your goals or for ways you can approach completing your project or solving a problem. Past Bricks & Clicks participants have said the deep-dive, personalized technical assistance was an incredibly helpful step in the program and would have had value on its own even if they didn’t get a grant. Grant funds will be reserved for most applicants selected for technical assistance (awards will depend on the proposed project and cost).

What if you already know what your business needs and already did research or consulted with someone? Tell us this in the application so you can bypass the technical assistance step and get permission to submit a grant proposal form. Filling out your application is important – you can get help with another challenge or problem if you’d like technical assistance in another area.

Who can apply?
Small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19, have been in business for at least 1 year, and are located within the boundaries of downtown Harrisonburg are encouraged to apply. Contact hdr@harrisonburgva.gov if you’re not sure your business falls within these boundaries. Business owners should outline 1-3 problem statements, which could include, but are not limited to:

How to apply?
The Bricks and Clicks application will be made available on Monday, May 18th. All applications must be submitted by Tuesday, May 26th. Selected applicants will be notified by email by May 29th.

You will be asked to connect relevant findings of the customer feedback survey with how local consumer attitudes, preferences, and concerns might impact your business and how your problem statement and/or potential proposed project might address that data.

For full details and application visit https://downtownharrisonburg.org/bricksandclicks/

Re-opening Small Business: What Customers Want

From April 23 to May 3, 2020, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham COVID-19 Business Assistance Taskforce distributed a “Customer Feedback Survey on Businesses Reopening” in advance of restrictions on small businesses and mass gatherings lifting in a phased approach in Virginia. This survey intended to learn how area customers feel about a variety of topics related to public health and what influences the decisions they make about the places they go.

The anonymous survey was shared with residents in the City of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County by the COVID-19 Business Assistance Taskforce members. The team received feedback from 1,677 survey respondents. The results are being shared with Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County small businesses in order to prepare them for welcoming customers back this spring in a way that promotes public health and safety,

“It is clear from the survey responses that people very much want to feel like businesses are making the health of their employees and customers a priority and will continuing following multiple sanitary protocols for quite some time,” says Andrea Dono, executive director of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance. “Regardless of when restrictions will be lifted, customers made it known that they will still have concerns about protecting themselves and trusting that a space is safe. The success of businesses will hinge on their ability to respond to those concerns and build their confidence in coming back.”

COVID-19 Business Assistance Taskforce Harrisonburg-Rockingham Business Support Taskforce members include representatives from the City of Harrisonburg Economic Development; Rockingham Department of Economic Development and Tourism; the Shenandoah Valley Partnership; the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center (SVSBDC); Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance; the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce; the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council; and JMU’s Professional and Continuing Education.

See Survey Results and Takeaways at https://www.valleysbdc.org/customersurvey_covid/

Virginia Wifi Hotspot Map | Free, Publicly Available Wifi Hotspots

Free Virginia Wifi Hotspots Map

With the help of local officials, schools, and libraries across Virginia, the Commonwealth Connect team and Virginia Tech have developed an interactive map of free, publicly available wifi hotspots that Virginians can access from a vehicle. Please share this map with your respective networks and constituents who many need access to the internet. Updates will be done weekly they we receive new locations. If you see any free public wifi hotspots missing or listed incorrectly, please email – commonwealthconnect@virginia.governor.gov.

You can find the map at virginiatech.maps.arcgis.com

Customer Feedback Survey on Businesses Reopening

The COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Taskforce asks that you take a moment to complete the survey on businesses reopening within our area.Your thoughts on how you might support local safely after Virginia’s stay-at-home order is lifted can help businesses prepare. When that day comes, sharing what would make you feel comfortable dining, shopping, exercising, worshiping and more will help in the planning for welcoming people back. Please take this survey before May 8.

Please note: HDR and our partners are not advocating for businesses to reopen before it is safe to do so, but we would like to make sure they are prepared for that day. Thank you for your help!

You can take the brief Customer Feedback Survey on Businesses Reopening at: https://forms.gle/AovFT4NuojJyfiiY6

About The Harrisonburg-Rockingham COVID-19 Business Support Taskforce
The Harrisonburg-Rockingham COVID-19 Business Support Taskforce is an ad-hoc group convened to coordinate resources, information, and support for the business community in response to the nation’s pandemic. Members include representatives from the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce, the City of Harrisonburg Economic Development, the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center (SVSBDC), Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, Rockingham Department of Economic Development and Tourism, and the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council.