LEBANON, VA – October 19, 2018 Eleven new small businesses in Southwest Virginia’s e-Region were awarded seed capital grant match funding at Thursday’s meeting of the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) board of directors.

The 11 businesses include those with plans to deploy drone technology services, tourism, retail and restaurant ventures. Each of the 11 businesses was awarded $10,000 in match funding through VCEDA’s Seed Capital Matching Grant program.

VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and younger, creating at least one full-time job, and with less than 10 full-time employees total, are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund.  Applicants in the program work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare funding applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton in order to qualify to make application for the funding.

Businesses awarded funding at Thursday’s meeting included three drone-related businesses:  Brad Deel Drone Photography & Videography, LLC (Dickenson County); Remote Agri Drone, LLC (Tazewell County), and Praise Aeronautics LLC (Russell County).  VCEDA believes these are among the first drone-type businesses to locate in the region (VCEDA added drones as one of its target industries for the region several years ago).

Three of the small businesses approved for grants on Thursday are retail businesses located in Tazewell County:  Bargain Mart, LLC; Bliss on Main, and Tazewell Co. Mercantile, LLC.  Two are new restaurants — Sharina’s Wingz LLC in Tazewell County and BACO Enterprises LLC in the City of Norton — and two are agriculture-related — McPherson’s Farm Equipment, LLC in Lee County and The Bloom Farm, LLC in Dickenson County.  One business is tourism-related, White Mountain Cabin Rentals and ATV Park, LLC in Buchanan County.

The VCEDA Seed Capital matching grant program was initiated in 2017 and since that time, VCEDA has approved 35 grants from the program.  The 35 new small businesses assisted by the program thus far are projected to create more than 400 full-time and part-time jobs and generate more than $2.3 million in private investment.  Projects have been approved in all eight localities in southwestern Virginia that are within the VCEDA footprint, which VCEDA markets for economic development as “Southwest Virginia’s e-Region,” reflecting the region’s focus on electronic information technology, education, emerging technologies and entrepreneurship as key aspects of economic development.

“In addition to traditional methods, such as marketing the region for new industries and the expansion of existing industries, we believe that also supporting the establishment of new small businesses in the region results in a more well-rounded approach to developing the economy of our region,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “Each of these businesses came to us with a plan to develop and grow their new small businesses. We look forward to working with them and to watching as they grow their businesses and create jobs.”

About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vaceda.org or www.e-Region.org.