September 26, 2019

The Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, the River District Association, Danville Community College and Longwood Small Business Development Center, with infrastructure support from The Launch Place, today announce that a grant has been awarded by Danville Regional Foundation to enhance the local entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Dan River Region (DRR). The entrepreneurial ecosystem is designed to help any business – no matter their size – find help to grow, sustain and enhance their business within the DRR community. 

Since 2014, the co-applicants have collaborated with the intention of building and cultivating an entrepreneurial ecosystem (encompassing main street businesses to high-tech start-ups) and have collected data, mapped assets and identified gaps to determine what’s needed to advance the ecosystem. An ecosystem coordinator, housed at The Launch Place, will work with regional partners to continue the development of a robust ecosystem by providing intentional entrepreneurial programming for women and people of color; cultivating a pipeline for youth entrepreneurship; and developing robust support mechanisms for entrepreneurs facing isolation. 

“Across the nation, strong ecosystems allow entrepreneurs to quickly find resources and connections they need to thrive and succeed,” said Eva Doss, President & CEO of The Launch Place. “Our region has many strong ecosystem partners and this grant will allow us to formalize the ecosystem structure in order to assist entrepreneurs so they can prosper at each step of establishing and growing their business,” said Doss. 

“The Chamber is excited to continue its work with small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the region by expanding the Dream Launch program into the entire City of Danville and to Pittsylvania County,” said Alexis Ehrhardt, President & CEO of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce. “We have witnessed the success of business pitch competitions in the River District and through the Barkhouser Free Enterprise Center at DCC, and know this is a critical piece of a developed ecosystem.” 

Healthy, diverse, and inclusive ecosystems allow talent, information, and resources to flow quickly to entrepreneurs when they need it. This region has a strong entrepreneurial history to build on and strong partners working towards the region’s transformation.  

The Launch Place strives to foster an environment for new and serial entrepreneurs to raise capital and garner the support system needed to take their products and/or solutions into the market place. By doing so, The Launch Place has positioned the Dan River Region to become once again a hub for innovation.