February 7, 2008

Southside Business Technology Center Receives Harvest Foundation Grant

MARTINSVILLE, VA, December 20, 2007 -The Southside Business Technology Center (SBTC), a non-profit organization created in partnership with Virginia Tech,

received $148,000 in grant allocations from the Harvest Foundation based on the center’s unprecedented, private industry, demand driven track-record of providing tangible, measurable, high-quality, on-site management consulting services to over 86 companies since its establishment. Harvest Foundation Executive Director, Rich Killingsworth, stated: “SBTC is a vital component of our community’s efforts to attract, create, retain, and expand the employment base of Martinsville and Henry County. They have been very successful in helping local small to medium-sized employers become more competitive and profitable. We applaud their accomplishments and the success of their clients.”

The grant funds will be used to assist the overall economic development of MHC and Southside Virginia, by providing in-depth business consulting services for existing and newly established businesses. These services include business plan development, feasibility studies, finding sources of capital, market research and analysis, financial analysis, operational analysis, and mergers and acquisitions. Serving approximately 45 businesses annually, the SBTC will continue to assist in job creation and retention, increased capital investments, increased sales, creation of a greater more diversified tax base, and business management education and training based on actual industry demand.

The principal objective of the project is to achieve measurable economic development results by providing high-quality tangible management consulting projects to MHC businesses. “I am very pleased with the development of the SBTC and the quality of the services our organization is providing to Southside businesses. Our deliverables enable the client companies to identify real improvements in their sales, operations, and growth plans,” said Joe Cobbe, Chairman of the SBTC Board of Directors. “I believe the Harvest Foundation grant will help the SBTC to continue providing its services to more companies in Martinsville – Henry County, thereby further contributing to the overall economic development of the region.”

Through start-up funding from the Harvest Foundation, the SBTC opened its doors in May 2005 and has provided on-site tangible management consulting services to approximately 86 businesses and non-profit organizations resulting in 100% client satisfaction and actual, measurable bottom line business results. An example of the type of assistance they provide local employers is SBTC’s work with Blue Ridge Solvents & Coatings, Inc. located in Henry County.

“Resultant of the sale of Prillaman, in 1999, Blue Ridge Solvents was formed. The owner and CEO of the new company was formerly a chemist and though he knew a lot about the industry, he knew little about managing a company. Because of the need for business management skills, Blue Ridge contracted the SBTC to perform an organizational analysis and then help develop a business plan for growing the company. The organizational analysis was very helpful as it indicated areas in the company that needed restructuring and strengthening. Topics in the analysis included Management/Leadership Issues, Financial Analysis, Costing Methods, Operations, Sales Analysis, and Profit Analysis. In addition, and more importantly, each area of the analysis was thoroughly explained and key managers were trained and given the tools necessary to continue using the information obtained. Because of the Organizational Analysis and the resulting Business Plan, Blue Ridge Solvents & Coatings, inc. has recreated itself, streamlined the business making it financially stronger than ever. We have been able to increase margins, increase profit and have gone from being under capitalized to a company that is very bankable.” – said George Quinlan, President of Blue Ridge Solvents & Coatings, Inc.

For more information about the SBTC, please visit www.southsidebtc.org or call Eva Doss at 276-638-2523, ext. 210. For information regarding the Harvest Foundation or the foundation’s support of SBTC, please contact Jeffrey Mansour at 276-632-3329. For more information about Blue Ridge Solvents and Coatings, Inc. and the SBTC projects with them please contact George Quinlan at 276-629-5325 ext. 232.

The Harvest Foundation supports health, education, and welfare initiatives that serve our vision of cultivating Martinsville and Henry County, Virginia as a “community of choice.” The Harvest Foundation was established in 2002 from the sale of Memorial Hospital. For more information visit www.theharvestfoundation.org.