Virginia Community Capital Relaunches Richmond-area Small Business Development Center
Capital Region SBDC to offer support and resources to small businesses in a time of economic rebuilding
To enhance its support of small business owners, Virginia Community Capital (VCC) is relaunching the Capital Region Small Business Development Center (Capital Region SBDC). Funded by the Small Business Administration (SBA) with matching grant dollars from regional sources, the center – which opened this month – is part of Virginia’s SBDC network, the state’s largest provider of custom counseling and education for small businesses.
The new Capital Region SBDC will offer enhanced one-on-one technical assistance, as well as additional resources to help small businesses address challenges and educate owners on common and emerging topics for successful development and operations.
“Small businesses represent the backbone of our economy, we recognized relaunching the Capital Region SBDC would close a significant service gap in central Virginia and enhance how we support growing and established companies — especially as we rebuild communities heading into 2021,” said Wayne Waldrop, VCC’s chief lending officer and market president. “Small business owners in our region now have access to more experts and resources to help them advance strategically toward long-range goals of expanded, thriving businesses.”
Coupled with $192,000 in CARES Act grant money from SBA, the SBDC Network asked VCC to host the Richmond regional center. The relaunch also is funded with local government and economic-development partner investments, with permanent SBA funding to begin after the first of the year.
“During economic challenges such as COVID-19, we see more entrepreneurs who want to take control of their future by opening their own business. At the same time, established companies are looking for tools to navigate through a crisis and come out stronger on the other side,” said Jody Keenan, director of the Virginia SBDC Network. “Given VCC’s effectiveness in developing and delivering personalized assistance to help local businesses grow and give back to their communities, this was a perfect opportunity to partner and apply our unique capabilities, underscored by the pandemic.”
Key services initially delivered by the Capital Region SBDC will include:
• One-on-One Business Counseling
• Business Development Workshops
• Community Business Challenge Programs
• Online and Digital Resources
“This is an exciting starting point. Richmond is such a vibrant place to live, and we owe so much of our region’s growth and evolution to our local small businesses. During this time of economic uncertainty and disruption, many business owners are in need extra support and resources. The SBDC and its extensive network of partners are well poised to be responsive to the needs of our entrepreneurial and small business community to ensure our region continues to thrive,” said Ryann Lofchie, who was recently appointed Capital Region SBDC director. She brings 12 years of experience as CEO of The Frontier Project, a boutique consultancy that partners with Fortune 500 clients on culture transformation and leadership development.
Regional Support and Advisory Team
Local governments supporting the center’s launch include Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, and Powhatan counties, the town of Ashland, and the city of Richmond. Other supporters include Atlantic Union Bank and Region 4 of GO Virginia, a business-led economic development initiative. The Capital Region SBDC currently is recruiting members for a regional advisory board.
The original Greater Richmond Small Business Development Center was created in 1998 by ChamberRVA before pausing in 2018. Historically, the Richmond-based center supported more than 20,000 business clients, facilitated $334.1 million in capital investment, and supported the formation of more than 1,000 new ventures. Its work is connected to more than 20,000 jobs being created or retained. The new Capital Region SBDC will build off this foundation as the team works to develop sustainable and financially stronger business enterprises – leading to job creation and community investment, as well as attracting and retaining local goods and services.
About Virginia Community Capital
Virginia Community Capital is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with a mission to create jobs, energize places, and promote an enhanced quality of life for our communities. With offices in Christiansburg, Norfolk, and Richmond, the organization offers innovative and flexible financing tools throughout the state. In addition, VCC provides professional advisory services to individuals and organizations in low-to-moderate income and underserved communities. Learn how VCC is helping to rebuild and reimagine communities at vccva.org.
About the Virginia SBDC
The Virginia SBDC is an organization of 27 local Small Business Development Center offices across Virginia providing professional business counseling, training, and business resources to help grow and strengthen Virginia businesses. Thousands of business owners and managers received one-on-one counseling every year, and twice as many business owners attended a training program offered by a local SBDC. The Virginia SBDC Network is the most extensive business development program in the Commonwealth, a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration, George Mason University and premier local host organizations throughout Virginia. These vital partners include universities, community colleges, chambers of commerce, municipalities, economic development organizations, and private companies.