VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher, center, presents a ceremonial check to Winze Co. LLC Owner Blake Salyer, representing the seed capital matching grant funding recently approved for the company. From left are Norton City Manager Fred Ramey, Norton Mayor Joe Fawbush, Belcher, Salyer and Small Business Development Center Director Tim Blankenbecler.

NORTON, VA – JUNE 17, 2019 – Connecting companies to their audiences with social media, engaging content and other digital outlets is how Blake Salyer, of Norton, describes the new direction of Winze Co., LLC. An e-commerce brand start-up, Winze now offers both creative services and fulfillment solutions for its client base.

Salyer’s business was recently approved for a $10,000 seed capital matching grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA).

“Assisting small businesses in their initial start-up is the intent of the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant fund,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “Winze proposes to assist other businesses in their media needs which in turn can further assist other businesses in realizing their own growth potential.”

Salyer worked with Tim Blankenbecler, of the Small Business Development Center at Mountain Empire Community College, in the development of his business plan and application to VCEDA.

Winze Co., LLC opened in February in the business incubator space in Norton. The company offers a wide range of services including branding, content creation, social media management, marketing, consulting and merchandise management.

Prior to opening Winze, Salyer, a Norton area native, who holds a business administration degree from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, operated an Apple repair and support business. He lived in Johnson City, Tenn., for two years after college and did some freelance work there before deciding to return to Norton to open Winze Co., LLC.

“I am excited to have this opportunity,” Salyer said. “I look at this as an opportunity to bring meaningful work to the region and I hope in the process to create jobs and to hold on to young talent in the region.”

The seed capital funds, he said, have helped him get a good start. He noted that when starting up a business, some of the biggest challenges include having the needed equipment and operating capital. The seed capital grant, he said, has helped him to meet those challenges.

The application projects two full-time and one part-time job will be created by Winze Co., LLC within the first four years.

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.

About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the 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.