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October Newsletter

Not only is October Virginia Wine Month, it has recently been declared Virginia Artisan Month. In this edition, find out who is starting a business in Downtown Wytheville and learn what the Town of Dungannon is doing to "Rally" their community!
Business Plan Competitions
Startup Wythe In Winners Announced
On September 29, 2015, at the Bolling Wilson Hotel in Wytheville, six finalists of the Startup Wythe In Business Idea Competition pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges. That evening, two local entrepreneurs walked away with a total of $15,000.

The first place prize of $10,000 went to Julia Dalton Owens with LuvBerry. Once opened, the downtown Wytheville business will provide freshly made fruit juices and smoothies with a variety of healthy food items. Coming in second place was
Vivian Womble, owner of Coffee and Crumbs. The local coffee shop opened on September 1 on the corner of 1st and Spring Streets in Downtown Wytheville. Vivian was awarded $5,000, which she will use to expand her business.

Read the Press Release >>

My SWVA Opportunity Cup Competitors Take the Challenge
Entrepreneurs and small business owners from across the region gathered at the Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator in Abingdon, Virginia on Sept. 15, 2015 to take the challenge of competing in the My Southwest Virginia Opportunity Cup. Nineteen businesses attended the first session of a six week training process of refining their business plans in an effort to compete for $35,000 in business investment grants. On Oct. 20, 2015, these businesses will submit a business expansion plan and pitch their business to a panel of judges, who will have the tough decision of selecting the winners. Throughout the process, competitors will learn valuable information for successfully expanding their business and will have the opportunity to connect with regional businesses and mentors, as well as resources.

The following are this year’s competing businesses: Adventure Mendota; Born Free Farm, LLC; Cliffhanger Ranch Adventure Outpost; Clinch River Adventures; Crooked Road General Store; Down to Earth Academy; Dreamland Alpacas; J&N Tool Supply; Kohi Café; North 40 Airsoft; River Monster Guide Service; Sugar Hill Brewing Company; Sweet Works; The Collins House Inn; Warren Cleaning & Restoration; White Birch Juice; and Wolfe's BBQ.
My SWVA Opportunity is hosting the first annual competition through a Building Collaborative Communities Grant awarded by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. In addition, the Cup is graciously being sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission, Virginia Community Capital, Southwestern Virginia Technology Council, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise and Bland County Economic Development Authority.  
Regional News
RALLY Dungannon

This summer, the Town of Dungannon began working with My SWVA Opportunity partners, DHCD, VTC, Friends of SWVA and UVa-Wise on the pilot program, Rally SWVA. Having just applied for a CDBG grant through DHCD, which was later awarded, Dungannon participated in the Rally SWVA community leadership development program to help strengthen their leadership skills needed to undertake downtown revitalization. In addition, the town was granted $3,000 to complete a community project. Dungannon used this funding to involve youth in a community art project to bring an old building back to life and to purchase a LED sign to be placed in town to inform residents of news and events going on in the community.

Stay tuned to learn what Rally communities, Cleveland and Damascus have accomplished.

October is Virginia Artisan Month
Governor Terry McAuliffe has declared that October is Virginia Artisan Month all across the Commonwealth! This means that October is a time to showcase the culture of the Virginia artisan, which inspires appreciative audiences for its unique work and distinctive way of life.

Virginia currently hosts 27 community-connected and developing artisan trails representing 39 counties and 12 cities across the Commonwealth that are strengthening the economy through a connective community Artisan Trail Network.

VCC Receives $2,600,000 Award to Help Virginia Communities
The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) recently awarded $2,600,000 to Virginia Community Capital to help Virginia communities, which includes $1,000,000 for Healthy Food Financing. This is the fourth consecutive year VCC has received this type of award. However, this is the first time VCC has received a Healthy Food Financing Award, which will be used to expand access to affordable healthy goods throughout Virginia.


Governor's Council on Youth Entrepreneurship
Governor Terry McAullife announced the members of the Governor’s Council on Youth Entrepreneurship, which was established last month through Executive Order 47.  The Council will be responsible for coordinating and implementing youth entrepreneurship initiatives and fostering the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem for young people in Virginia. 

Read the official announcement from the Governor's Newsroom >>


Congratulations to the Clinch River Valley Initiative!
On October 9, 2015, the Clinch River Valley Initiative was awarded the Scenic Tourism Award from Scenic Virginia . The award recognizes statewide excellence in scenic preservation. Several CRVI members were in attendance at the 2015 Scenic Awards Gala Reception & Ceremony in Richmond to accept the award. The region is very proud of CRVI's accomplishments!

Learn more about CRVI >>

Business Highlight
In honor of Virginia Wine Month in October, we recognize Mountain Rose Vineyards as this edition's highlighted business. MountainRose Vineyards is a family held farm winery with 12+ acres of vineyards and 11 varieties of wine grapes on two farms and several leased acres of land. Owners, David Lawson and Susan & Ron Lawson opened their dream in 2004 as the first ever winery in Wise County. Not only can customers enjoy the delicious variety of wines that MountainRose has to offer, they can create their own masterpiece at monthly Sip n' Paint sessions or even have a private event or wedding at the vineyard.

MountainRose Vineyards’ mission is to provide a wine experience that allows each individual who visits to leave with more than just a bottle of wine. When visitors open their wine, MountainRose wants them to recall the beauty of the mountains, the friendliness of the staff, the tranquil picture of growing grapes, the wind and sun on the pond, and the smell of the roses, so that each sip of wine will bring a small joy to their lives. According to the Lawson's, "The truth is, it's the wonderful white, blush, and red wines of MountainRose Vineyards, not the black coal, that's the true hidden treasures of the Appalachian Mountains in Wise County."

Be sure to Like them on Facebook and mark your calendar for the next Sip n' Paint!

Upcoming Events
VCC Annual Learning Exchange Event - Communities of the Future
December 10, 2015, Hotel John Marshall, Richmond       

Virginia Tourism Incentive Programs Informational Sessions

Let us share your exciting updates in entrepreneurship with the rest of the region! Contact Robyn Lee at to have news and events added to the newsletter.
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