On Monday, DRF announced a $10 million grant to fund an entrepreneurship initiative to benefit the residents of the City of Danville and Pittsylvania County in Virginia and Caswell County in North Carolina, the foundation’s Dan River Region footprint. In a global economy, investment in those who create businesses is essential. The Dan River Region is emerging from a depressed economy brought about by the exodus of the tobacco and textile economy on which it thrived for over a century.
The region is searching for the serial entrepreneur, the type of person who is isn’t content to build just one business, but gets excited to dive back into another. This net effect of innovation, desire, and know-how is the lifeblood of the new entrepreneurial economy.
Our president and CEO Karl Stauber summed up the future of the Dan River Region pretty well:
“In today’s global economy, regions have to create new competitive advantage every day. Southern Virginia is doing this, but now we are taking it to the next level. Times have changed. We are no longer going up against cities just down the road, but against other countries—it is not South Boston, but South Korea, not Martinsville, but Malaysia. The focus of this grant is attracting and retaining serial entrepreneurs, people who will create multiple new businesses over time, hiring high-skilled, high-wage employees. Branch plants will continue to be an important part of our economy, but now we will have a platform to make our region even more attractive. The net effect to the Dan River Region from entrepreneurism is constant creation of businesses and living wage jobs. This is how we gain a competitive advantage, now and in the long-term.”
The grant was made to the Southside Business Technology Center (SBTC), an organization that has provided business consulting services in the region. President and CEO Eva Doss is excited about the SBTC going forward, as it will adopt a new name and focus on recruiting, developing, and retaining entrepreneurs in the area in cooperation with the Danville Office of Economic Development. In addition, SBTC will offer seed fund management, business consulting and mentoring, and incubation for start-up entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs, both local and outside of the region, are eligible. With research universities and hubs of technology within an hour or two of Danville, a wealth of present and budding entrepreneurs in the fields of technology, business, and engineering are just a quick drive away. This initiative is a two-fold opportunity: it encourages those who grew up in the Dan River Region to return home and create businesses, and it crafts jobs for others who call the area home.
The initiative will be housed at the SBTC, currently located at the Dan River Business Development Center. The SBTC will relocate to Danville’s River District, which is the regional hub of this new economy.
Are you ready to make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality while living in a fun and low-stress environment?
More information about DRF, its grant opportunities, and this recognition award program can be found on its website, www.drfonline.org.
To learn more about SBTC going forward, visit www.southsidebtc.org.
Matt Charles is communications and public relations director at the Danville Regional Foundation, a member of the Council on Foundations.