The Early Years
In early 2004, a group of concerned business leaders came together to improve the economic outlook of the Southern region of Virginia. These business leaders wanted to create a unique capacity for entrepreneurs to be successful in the region.
A year later, after many meetings and guidance from Virginia Tech officials, the Southside Business Technology Center (SBTC) was formed to offer superior business consulting services for existing and newly established businesses at discounted fees due to support and grant funding from private foundations and the government at all levels (local, state and federal).
Over the years, the SBTC’s reputation grew as the go-to entity for Southern Virginia businesses, both large and small, local governments, economic development agencies and serial entrepreneurs. Its exceptional, in-depth business consulting services, analyses, mentoring, training and coaching were often compared to highly reputable national business consulting firms.
The SBTC talented board of directors and team of business analysts were on a mission to create a new culture of entrepreneurship in Southern Virginia. By all accounts, they were succeeding.
With the accumulated funding support primarily from local governments in the region, the state, Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, U. S. Economic Development Administration and three regional philanthropic organizations, the Lucy P. Sale Foundation, The Harvest Foundation and Danville Regional Foundation, the SBTC’s capacity and depth of services also grew and evolved into the leading regional entity for entrepreneurship development.
Today: The Launch Place
SBTC officials realized that the organization needed to rebrand itself to reflect what the organization was doing. During this rebranding process, the organization was awarded an unprecedented $10 million grant for five years from the Danville Regional Foundation (DRF). The organization increased its capacity to deliver its traditional business consulting services and earned the new capacity to recruit and retain entrepreneurs. The Launch Place was born.
The Launch Place has been granted additional funding from the Danville Regional Foundation to establish Pre-Seed Fund II and Seed Fund II that launched in July 2018. Our goal with these new Funds is to further develop an “idea-based entrepreneurship ecosystem” in the Dan River Region resulting in innovation, job creation, and ultimately transformation to the new technology-based economy. These funds totaling $11 million will allow us to continue to invest in innovative, high-growth, technology companies and continue offering wrap-around services to start-up companies during the next 5-years.
With this DRF investment, The Launch Place looks for investment opportunities and offers a full menu of services for entrepreneurs to be successful in its office locations in Danville, Virginia and the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.