Entrepreneurship is on the rise in the Lynchburg Region. It’s clear to see. Travel through the Region and you’ll see breweries, wineries, marketing companies, photographers, tea-makers, coffee-makers, and boutiques and restaurants of all description—all privately owned and launched by people who live in the Region.
There are co-working and maker spaces, like Vector Space in Lynchburg, where budding entrepreneurs can take classes and workshops and develop their products. There are programs, like CO.STARTERS, where entrepreneurs can pitch their ideas and plan for success. All right here in the Lynchburg Region.
The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance (LRBA) and its member organizations have committed to promoting entrepreneurship in the Region, and making sure entrepreneurs have the resources they need to succeed.
In August 2016, a group of stakeholders in the Region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem traveled to Baltimore, where they visited business incubators and accelerators, and co-working spaces. The goal was to see what resources were available there and ultimately to decide if similar programs and services could be incorporated in the Region.
“It’s almost best practice now, to seek out communities that have done initiatives, get their story and see what’s replicable here,” Christine Kennedy, the LRBA’s chief operations officer and executive vice president, said.
Another goal was to start a conversation about whether excess space at the LRBA’s new headquarters could provide resources for entrepreneurs. The 23,000-square-foot facility, located at 300 Lucado Street, boasts a 400-seat-capacity community room, and is currently under renovation. LRBA plans to move in sometime in 2017.
“We have a fair amount of square footage that we are leaving as a blank canvas for creative conversation around possible tenants and partners that align with our mission,” Kennedy said. “That would be good for that space.”
Who Can Help?
The following organizations currently offer programs, funding and other resources to help people start and build their own businesses in the Lynchburg Region:
Small Business Development Center
at Central Virginia Community College
Pop Up Altavista
Business Development Centre
Launched in Lynchburg
Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance
Greater Lynchburg SCORE
Center for Advanced Engineering
(Source: Small Business Development Center at CVCC and others)