July 23, 2012

DRF Announces $10 Million Grant to Fund Entrepreneurship Initiative

Danville, VA (July 23, 2012) – DRF announced today a $10 million grant to fund an entrepreneurship initiative to benefit the residents of the City of Danville and Pittsylvania and Caswell counties. In a global economy, investment in those who create businesses is essential.

Said DRF President & CEO Karl Stauber, “In today’s global economy, regions have to create new competitive advantage every day. Southern Virginia is doing this, but now we are taking it to the next level. Times have changed. We are no longer going up against cities just down the road, but against other countries—it is not South Boston, but South Korea, not Martinsville, but Malaysia. The focus of this grant is attracting and retaining serial entrepreneurs, people who will create multiple new businesses over time, hiring high skilled, high wage employees. Branch plants will continue to be an important part of our economy, but now we will have a platform to make our region even more attractive. The net effect to the Dan River Region from entrepreneurism is constant creation of businesses and living wage jobs. This is how we gain a competitive advantage, now and in the long-term.”

The grant was made to the Southside Business Technology Center (SBTC), an organization that until now provided business consulting services in the region. Going forward SBTC will adopt a new name and focus on the recruiting, development, and retention of entrepreneurs to the area in cooperation with the Danville Office of Economic Development. In addition, SBTC will offer seed fund management, business consulting and mentoring, and incubation for start-up entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs both locally and from outside of the region are eligible. With research universities and hubs of technology within an hour or two of Danville, a wealth of present and budding entrepreneurs in the fields of technology, business, and engineering are just a quick drive away. This initiative is also the opportunity for many of those who grew up in the Dan River Region to return home and create their own business, while crafting jobs for others who call the area home.

SBTC President & CEO Eva Doss commented, “This new initiative is unique in its scope. Nationwide, many organizations strive to offer entrepreneurs financial or coaching assistance, but few organizations offer a comprehensive package that offers everything that entrepreneurs need to succeed – funding, training, mentoring, business consulting, technical assistance, and continuous coaching. Other agencies offer business counseling in our area to local small businesses mainly in retail. This new initiative offers actual tangible resources to entrepreneurs from seed investments to subsidized rent, consulting and mentoring in cooperation with the Danville Office of Economic Development, VT KnowledgeWorks, IALR, and the Chamber of Commerce under the leadership of the SBTC.”

The initiative will be housed at the SBTC, currently located at the Dan River Business Development Center. The SBTC, as part of the implementation process will relocate to the River District where the other new start-ups will be housed, as well. We plan to have all legal and preparatory work associated with the establishment of the Seed Fund, and the recruitment of new employees finalized within the next 3-4 months, at which point we will be able to accept applications.” The full payout of the $10 million grant is based upon performance indicators.

More information about DRF, its grant opportunities, and this recognition award program can be found on its website, http://www.drfonline.org/.

Danville Regional Foundation is a catalyst for innovation and an agent for transformation. Understanding that significant community change takes time, DRF invests for the long term in efforts that promise sustained positive impact for the Dan River Region. DRF is committed to activities, programs, and organizations that address the health, education, and well-being of residents of Danville, Pittsylvania County, and Caswell County.

The SBTC currently provides business consulting services at heavily subsidized rates, making it affordable for businesses to gain insight into their company, market environment, and work practices. This helps businesses improve their current and future bottom line. The new SBTC will expand its mission to advance economic growth in Southern Virginia not just by providing business consulting services, but to add to it service offerings Entrepreneurship retention, recruitment and development, Seed Fund management, Business Mentoring/Training/Coaching, and Incubation services.