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November Newsletter

November is a great month to celebrate entrepreneurs and small businesses! Let's join the rest of the planet in observing Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 16 - 22. In honor of GEW, we are highlighting entrepreneurs from across the region that competed in the My Southwest Virginia Opportunity Cup!
Business Plan Competitions
My SWVA Opportunity Cup Celebrates Challengers
The competition graduates 15 businesses and awards $35,000 to top performers

The My Southwest Virginia Opportunity Cup came to a close on Nov. 4, 2015 with an awards ceremony and announcement of winners in the regional business competition.

My Southwest Virginia Opportunity was pleased to present Brett and Jill Wolfe, owners of Wolfe’s BBQ Restaurant & Catering in Marion, VA with the first place award of $20,000. The second place award of $10,000 was presented to Eva and Mike Beaule, owners of Adventure Mendota. Toni Warren with Warren Cleaning and Restoration in Big Stone Gap, VA was presented with the third place award of $5,000.

My Southwest Virginia Opportunity hosted the competition through a Building Collaborative Communities Grant awarded by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. In addition, the Cup was sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission, Virginia Community Capital, Southwestern Virginia Technology Council, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, Bland County Economic Development Authority, and the Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator.


 Check out the Bristol Herald Courier Article >>
The Better Business Basics Plus Competition Announces Winners    
On November 5, 2015, the Wytheville-Wythe-Bland Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the Better Business Basics Plus program, known as BBBp. The following businesses received the award incentives:

Wythe Food Tours – Lorraine Hedgepeth

Cabins at Big Walker Lookout and Country Store – Ron Kime

Depot Designs of Rural Retreat – Alison Pollard

R2 Paintball – Bryan Lawson

Read the Press Release >>
Regional News

RALLY Cleveland
Cleveland is on their way to becoming an outdoor recreation destination! This summer, the community of  Cleveland participated in the Rally SWVA leadership development program. Along with Rally communities, Dungannon and Damascus, Cleveland was granted $3,000 to complete a community improvement project.
Cleveland chose to construct a fitness trail in the town park to improve the access for healthy living for their citizens, visitors, and potential business owners looking to locate to their community. Cleveland also used a portion of their Rally funding to purchase Clinch apparel to promote their position on the bio-diverse Clinch River.

Upcoming 2016 Visitor's Guide
Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority is working diligently to promote businesses in our region. The upcoming visitors brochure will promote regional counties in the Coalfields and enable tourists and residents to learn about the region's offerings, such as recreational activities, restaurants, venues, music, history, shopping, lodging, and other attractions. The brochures can be found at the Virginia Welcome Centers as well as in regional publications. Don't miss your opportunity to be in the guide. The deadline for submitting a listing is November 25, 2015.

Click here for an application >>


Save Our Towns Features Pocahontas
Although the coal industry has seen a decline in our region, the town of Pocahontas, VA is keeping the history of its coal mines alive by marketing the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine. The mine is a national historic landmark that allows visitors, students and residents to learn about the history of the mine, which began in 1882. As the only exhibition mine in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the town of Pocahontas is using their chief tourism asset to their advantage. Future plans for the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine are to encourage more students to visit and learn about the mine's history and the heritage of their ancestors. Pocahontas was featured on Season 2 of Save Our Towns, along with an update on the Pearisburg farmers' market and two Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension projects.

Watch the video >>

November 16 - November 22 is Global Entrepreneurship Week!
Global Entrepreneurship Week kicked off around the world on November 16, 2015. The week will host 35,000 events in 125 different countries at the same time, giving entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to experience the different aspects of what it takes to be a self-starter and an innovator.
What is your community doing to support and celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week?

Learn more >>

UVa-Wise Students Compete in the Entrepreneurship Cup
On October 30, 2015, six UVa-Wise  students competed in the UVa-Wise Entrepreneurship Cup Concept Competition. The students were awarded a total of $3,500 for submitting an executive summary and pitching their concepts to a panel of judges. Students pictured are Victoria Pedigo, McKenna Blevins, Joseph LaCava, Tara Greear, Paul Kentes and Daniel Bettendorf.
The award funds were sponsored by UVA and Don Green, a passionate supporter of entrepreneurship.

Governor's Announcements
Southwest Virginia Receives a POWER Implementation Grant
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the Friends of Southwest Virginia received a $275,000 Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization implementation grant. The grant is awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration for the Southwest Virginia RESOURCE-FULL project, which will accelerate regional efforts to diversify Southwest Virginia's economy.
In addition, the Appalachian Regional Commission also awarded the project with $75,000, bringing the grant to $350,000.

Read the official announcement >>
Updates to the Commonwealth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Measurement System
On November 4, 2015, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recent updates to the IEMS, which is a web-based portal that uses key metrics and outcomes to track the performance of Virginia's innovation economy. This portal creates a path for innovation and assists stakeholders in determining priorities and policies that need to be put into place in order to build the New Virginia Economy.

Read  the official announcement >>
Business Highlight
In honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week and the completion of the My SWVA Opportunity Cup, November's business highlight features fifteen dedicated small businesses in Southwest Virginia that graduated from the My SWVA Opportunity Cup.

These regional businesses participated in the six week training program to learn valuable information to help expand their business and to connect with mentors and resources, as well as other regional businesses. Knowledge was gained, partnerships were formed, and soon the businesses will begin the expansion process.

Join us in applauding the following entrepreneurs:

Jennifer Bailey, Sugar Hill Brewing Company
Eva Beaule, Adventure Mendota
Nicole Dyer, White Birch Juice Company
Marla Edwards, Crooked Road General Store
Mike Edwards, The Collins House Inn
Katherine Hayton, Sweet Works
Terri Anne Funk, Clinch River Adventures
David McLeish, Dreamland Alpacas
Randall Mullins, Down to Earth Academy
Nathan Ormes, Cliffhanger Ranch Adventure Outpost
Jack & Sonia Vanhook, J&N Tool and Supply
Toni Warren, Warren Cleaning & Restoration
Danielle White, Born Free Farm
Brett & Jill Wolfe, Wolfe's BBQ Restaurant & Catering
Mike Wright, Kohi Cafe

Learn more about each business on the My SWVA Opportunity website >>
The Top 5 Keys to Entrepreneurial Success
Many people value success as being an array of things. For most, obtaining success is not just making sure that the job is done correctly. There is much more to it than that! The means of achieving success varies from person to person. In order to have a successful business, one must come up with their own definition. My SWVA Opportunity Cup participants were asked what they think are the keys to success. Here are the top 5 answers:

1) It's multiple ingredients

2) Communication and passion

3) Strong work ethic and consistency

4) Loving what you do

5) Having a support team

Written by My SWVA Opportunity intern, Hannah McNew

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

Youth Entrepreneurship Workshops
People Incorporated is partnering with Workforce Development to explore entrepreneurship
and customer service with at-risk youth.
Three workshops are scheduled in December:
December 22, 2015 - Abingdon
December 28, 2015 - Galax
December 30, 2015 - Chilhowie
For more information on the workshops, contact Natasha Snyder at
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.
Copyright © 2015 Opportunity SWVA, All rights reserved.

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