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Gov. Ralph Northam

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam announced an allocation of more than $11.1 million in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grants to help advance economic recovery efforts across the Commonwealth. This funding will support 20 projects focused on expanding workforce development and talent pipelines in key industries, growing startup businesses and entrepreneurial ecosystems, and increasing Virginia’s business-ready sites portfolio.  

“The targeted support that GO Virginia provides is critical to ensuring communities across our Commonwealth are well positioned to succeed in a post-pandemic economy,” said Governor Northam. “These projects demonstrate how regional collaboration can drive innovation and deliver positive economic results, including diversifying our workforce, supporting entrepreneurs, and upgrading our infrastructure.”

Included in this round of GO Virginia funding is one statewide project, 16 regional projects, and three projects through GO Virginia’s Economic Resilience and Recovery Program. The awarded projects will leverage an additional $7.1 million in local and other non-state resources.  

“The regional approach of GO Virginia continues to spur creative economic development strategies throughout the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These projects will support regional priorities and help communities achieve economic growth goals now and in the future.”  

“The collaboration inspired by GO Virginia is evident in these projects,” said Nancy Howell Agee, who was elected to serve as Chair of the GO Virginia Board at the June 15th meeting. “It is important to recognize the leadership of the GO Virginia regional councils and the localities partnering on these important initiatives and acknowledge their continued efforts to build stronger regional economies that provide quality job opportunities for Virginians.”

Since the program’s inception in 2017, GO Virginia has funded 182 projects and awarded approximately $68 million to support regional economic development efforts. To learn more about the GO Virginia Program, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/gova.

2021 ROUND TWO STATEWIDE GRANT AWARDS 

Cybersecurity Job Creation System | $1,450,000

Region 5 (lead): Counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton and cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach

Region 7: Fairfax County

Regions 3, 4, 6 

Old Dominion University Research Foundation will develop and deliver a cost-effective, cloud-based compliance system to help Virginia’s Department of Defense contractors achieve Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) accreditation. A NIST 800-171/CMMC education program will be developed and delivered by Old Dominion University, Eastern Shore Community College, and as part of the four VA-affiliated universities and participating community colleges.  

2021 ROUND TWO REGIONAL GRANT AWARDS 

Southwest Virginia Regional Ecosystem Initiative Implementation | $290,850

Region 1: Cities of Bristol, Galax, and Norton and the town of St. Paul

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise is partnering with SWVA Startup and Opportunity SWVA to increase the number of entrepreneurs in the region by 2027 and ensure they have access to a robust ecosystem, including support for existing, early-stage businesses. The multi-prong strategy includes hiring a regional ecosystem builder, implementing a virtual accelerator program, and focusing on increased outreach and programming to develop a more diverse entrepreneurship community. 

Project Fuse | $70,000

Region 1: Counties of Dickenson, Lee, Scott, and Wise, and the city of Norton

Project Fuse will develop an action-oriented plan with business retention and recruitment tools for local economic developers to promote telework employment strategies in the Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority territory. This project supports the needs of companies and economic developers looking to expand the use of teleworking strategies as well as residents interested in remote employment opportunities. 

Project Thoroughbred | $100,000

Region 1: Counties of Lee and Scott 

Project Thoroughbred will add capacity to the maximum output farmers can produce, strengthen market confidence in the region’s ability to meet quality specifications, diversify products, and take the first step toward creating jobs for graduates of the Mountain Empire Community College’s Grain Management Program.  

Dearing Ford Industrial Park | $506,000

Region 2: Campbell County and the town of Altavista 

The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance will manage a project to extend gas service to the Dearing Ford Industrial Park and the adjacent publicly-owned development parcels. This project will create the only gas-serviced site in the Lynchburg sub-region and significantly increase the marketability of the sites.  

Helping Local Employers Prepare the Existing and Future Workforce for Industry 4.0 | $45,360

Region 2: Counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Franklin, and Roanoke, the cities of Covington, Roanoke, and Salem, and the town of Vinton 

The Learning Factory in Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech, in partnership with the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center, will address the need for trained talent in Industry 4.0 technology skills in the region and increase competitiveness for manufacturers. The project will convene employers and stakeholders to help identify areas of needed growth in Industry 4.0 such as necessary new technology, skill gaps among the current and future workforce, areas of potential collaboration and others.  

Lynchburg Beacon of Hope | $97,740

Region 2: Amherst County and the city of Lynchburg 

Lynchburg Beacon of Hope will develop a Playbook for Future Centers to provide a programmatic guide of its existing Future Centers model that will focus on in-demand careers in the region’s targeted industries of manufacturing, information technology, and life sciences. The playbook will guide the operations and sustainability of the Future Centers model, a template for hiring a director of each Future Center, and a professional development and training module for effective Future Centers.   

Building a Regional Health Sciences Talent Pipeline | $100,000

Region 2: Counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Franklin, and Roanoke, the cities of Covington, Roanoke, and Salem, and the town of Vinton 

The project will establish the Blue Ridge Partnership for Health Science Careers to work as a consortium with public institutions and private employers, helping them to more systematically collaborate to leverage resources and align curriculum with employers’ future growth strategies. This project will accelerate the development of a new model for widespread business-education collaboration, increase the number of health and life science graduates, and begin to formalize a health science talent pipeline focused on engineering, cybersecurity, mechatronics, and the broader life sciences trade sector.  

Minority Small Business Launch Center at Virginia State University | $453,000

Region 4: Counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Henrico, Prince George, Surry, and Sussex and the cities of Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Richmond 

The Division of Research and Economic Development and the Center for Entrepreneurship at Virginia State University will create a Minority Small Business Launch Center that will provide a comprehensive suite of services for minority business founders and early-stage businesses. Funding will support the creation of 90 jobs and 40 new businesses. 

Virginia’s Gateway Region Sites | $1,634,407

Region 4: Counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Prince George, and Powhatan and the city of Petersburg 

Virginia’s Gateway Region will advance site readiness in Region 4 by three-fold, elevating 15 sites (totaling 1,652 acres) to Tier 4 on the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Business Ready Sites Program. This effort will promote the availability of shovel-ready sites to prospective businesses, which will in turn help to create higher-paying jobs in the region. 

Sussex County Water Study | $96,000

Region 4: Counties of Isle of Wight, Sussex, and Surry 

Virginia’s Gateway Region will facilitate a preliminary engineering report for the evaluation of water supply alternatives to serve a 1,000-acre development site in Sussex County. Funding will support the expanded marketability of the site by identifying strategies to provide additional water capacity.  

Campus 757 | $500,000

Region 5: Cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, and Portsmouth  

The Hampton Roads Workforce Council will create an initiative to increase the percentage of college students who stay and work full time in Hampton Roads. The project aims to assist up to 400 companies and connect 700 to 1,500 students with employment opportunities. 

757 Collab | $2,415,573

Region 5: Cities of Hampton, Newport News, and Norfolk 

757 Collab, an ongoing venture of 757 Accelerate, 757 Startup Studios, and 757 Angels, will continue building and delivering new innovation and entrepreneurship programming, capacity, and services to early-stage companies by bringing together an accelerator, private capital, collaborative space, and community outreach programs.  

Establishing a Regional Internet of Things Accelerator Program in the Rappahannock Regional Entrepreneur Ecosystem | $215,000

Region 6: Counties of King George and Stafford and the city of Fredericksburg 

Stafford County and partnering localities will collaborate with the Center for Innovative Technology to expand entrepreneurial programs in the Rappahannock Region. Programs will also support the technology-based Virginia Smart Community Testbed in Stafford and provide entrepreneurs with access to the proven Regional Internet of Things Accelerator Program and additional community-focused programming.  

Northern Virginia Community College Dual Enrollment Expansion Program for Information and Engineering Technology | $1,106,777

Region 7: Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park

 Northern Virginia Community College, in conjunction with multiple partners, will implement the Dual Enrollment Expansion Program for Information and Engineering Technology (DEEP-IET) to develop regional workforce capacity in IET, specifically targeting information technology and engineering technology. The DEEP-IET approach will target successful student outcomes with multiple touch points on the STEM talent pipeline and will result in 288 additional graduates, 96 new internships, and expand the number of certified dual enrollment teachers in the region.  

Innovation Forward | $100,000

Region 7: Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park 

The Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance will undergo a strategic planning process to determine the best approaches to organization and management, budgeting and funding, staffing, policy development, business development activities, and brand development. This project will ultimately develop regional capacity and leverage combined assets to grow and diversify the regional economy. 

Accelerating Regionally Significant Sites | $786,333

Region 9: Counties of Culpeper and Louisa 

The Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development will elevate one 700-acre site to Tier 4 on the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Site Characterization scale and enhance the marketability of a 266-acre Tier 4 site by completing water and sewer engineering studies for the sites. The project will benefit the region by increasing the number of shovel-ready sites and supporting economic development efforts that will increase the business tax base and create high-paying jobs. 

2021 ROUND TWO ECONOMIC RESILIENCE AND RECOVERY STATEWIDE GRANT 

Expansion of Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program Mentor Network | $882,794

Region 7 (lead): Counties of Loudoun and Prince William and the cities of Alexandria and Fairfax

Region 2, 4, 5, 6  

George Mason University will expand the statewide network of Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program mentors, who will support startups and early-stage companies. Services will include assistance with developing strategic plans and accessing funding and grants through a new regional hub service network.  

2021 ROUND TWO ECONOMIC RESILIENCE AND RECOVERY REGIONAL GRANTS 

The Future of Workforce Development Outreach | $148,689

Region 9: Counties of Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, and Nelson 

Virginia Career Works – Piedmont will address newly identified service equity gaps by providing targeted assistance to displaced workers who do not have access to a career center or high-speed internet. They will create face-to-face support for job seekers and increase access to training and employment opportunities.  

Accelerate 2022 | $100,000

Region 7: Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William and the city of Fairfax 

Refraction Inc., in partnership with George Mason University, will launch Accelerate 2022, a high-profile, multiday showcase and pitch competition that will bring investors from across the United States to fund Northern Virginia startups and high-growth companies. The project will address the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on raising critical capital, which will lead to more than 100 high-paying jobs and $16 million in follow-on funding within five years.