The Lynchburg Region boasts a number of resources that are designed to help start-ups to grow and thrive.
The Small Business Development Center – Lynchburg Region’s mission is to promote small business growth, entrepreneurship, and strengthening the economy by providing advising and training to the region’s small businesses. The Lynchburg Region SBDC program is led by Executive Director Stephanie Kenner and is designed to deliver up-to-date advising, training, and technical assistance in all aspects of small business management. Areas of support include:
- Financial review
- Organizational management
- Start-up assistance
- Customer development
- Government contracting
- Access to capital and investment
Training programs range from Start Smart, which answers the most basic questions for those new to business, to specialized training in industries like healthcare and early childhood education. The SBDC is a free, confidential advising and training service and is open to any small business in the regional footprint.
The Virginia SBDC is an organization of 27 local Small Business Development Center offices across Virginia (including the Lynchburg Region) providing professional business counseling, training, and business resources to help grow and strengthen Virginia businesses.
Some of the most utilized programs include:
Based on the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps™ program for Lean Startups, the Innovation Commercial Assistance Program (ICAP) helps inventors and entrepreneurs take the right first steps in bringing new technologies and innovations to market.
Craft Beverage Assistance Program
The Virginia SBDC Craft Beverage Assistance Program works with the Commonwealth’s breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries to address industry-specific issues. They provide assistance with market analysis, distribution and logistics, sales strategy, marketing and promotion, operations, and expansions and exports.
Small Town & Merchant Program (STAMP)
STAMP is a comprehensive collection of workshops, hands-on initiatives, and resources designed to address the specific needs of main street retail and restaurant businesses. STAMP offers confidential retail business and restaurant check-ups, on-site business visits, and seminars held before or after hours.
As a combined economic development organization and chamber of commerce, the Alliance has an abundance of resources for small businesses and start-ups. We provide business-to-business connections, office space, workshops for entrepreneurs, and offer a nationally-recognized leadership development program. The Alliance also houses the Small Business Development Center – Lynchburg Region.
Amherst County believes job creation and economic development are fundamental to the future prosperity of the county. The team is led by Economic Development Director, Victoria Hanson. Small business support is offered through their leadership development program, easy to navigate resources, and a new business starter kit.
Pam Bailey serves as the Acting Director of Economic Development for Bedford County. They have a variety of resources to assist start-ups, including: providing a single point of contact for Bedford County business services, assisting in facilitating the project’s development review and the permit process, serving as an advocate within county government and assisting companies through the necessary regulatory requirements and approvals, and coordinating incentives and grants based on job creation and economic growth.
Nina Rezai, Economic Development Manager, leads the Campbell County Office of Economic Development. Their office offers assistance with permitting, site location research, and potential incentive packages depending on community investment.
Opportunity Lynchburg is the City of Lynchburg’s Office of Economic Development. Marjette Upshur, Director of Economic Development & Tourism, leads the team. The city offers a variety of resources for entrepreneurs from permitting assistance, incentives, and location assistance. One notable program is CO.STARTERS, a nine-week program that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships and tools needed to turn business ideas into action and turn a passion into a sustainable and thriving business. To date, more than 75 businesses have graduated from the CO.STARTERS program.
Downtown Lynchburg Association is an accredited program of the Virginia Main Street and the National Main Street Center™ and a member of International Downtown Association. For more than two decades, the organization and the City of Lynchburg have worked together to sustain and develop downtown as a vital economic, cultural, recreational, residential, and historic center for our community. They provide small business support through events, programs, and substantial marketing of the businesses in their district.
The Business Development Centre, Inc. has been providing development services to existing and prospective small business owners in the Lynchburg Region since 1989. The Centre serves as a 42,000 square foot business incubator. It provides existing and prospective business owners throughout the region with in-depth counseling and business-related training classes, seminars and workshops, and provides direct financing to small business owners with a variety of loan programs and gap financing.