This September, the City of Waynesboro’s Small Business Development initiative, Grow Waynesboro, will award $20,000 in grants for start-up businesses in Waynesboro. The awards will be announced at a celebration and presentation symposium, dubbed Pitch Night, on September 6, 2018 at 6:00pm at Shenandoah Valley Art Center’s 416 Gallery in Waynesboro.
Pitch Night is the culmination of an effort to find, cultivate, teach, mentor, and fund 2018 entrepreneurs. In May, prospective new business owners were invited to submit start-up proposals through the City’s Grow Waynesboro website. Fifteen entrepreneurs submitted start-up concepts. Of those, ten moved on to complete an eight-week business planning course taught by the Staunton Creative Community Fund. From there, entrepreneurs have honed their business plans and submitted final versions to local judges. At Pitch Night, five finalists will present their start-up concepts to both judges and the public, with final grant awards announced to the winning participants that night.
“We’re excited to have an entrepreneurship program that the community has embraced so fully,” says Courtney Cranor, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Tourism for the City of Waynesboro. “This is the third year we have awarded start-up grants through Grow Waynesboro, and the effect in terms of jobs creation, new downtown business openings, and overall economic impact are already being felt.”
Since 2016, Grow Waynesboro has been able to provide over $72,000 in small business grants leveraging approximately $90,000 in private investment to create sixteen new jobs. While the recipients of the 2018 grant awards will not be determined until Pitch Night, the City is particularly focused incentivized development zones and job creation as benchmarks of the program’s impact.
For all interested in attending, the event will be an opportunity to network with local entrepreneurs, to celebrate and support new local businesses, and to hear more detailed pitches from those entrepreneurs looking to make the case that their start-up initiative is the most deserving of local grant support. In addition to networking opportunities, hors d’oeuvres and non-alcoholic drinks will be provided, with beer available for purchase. The winners of this year’s Grow Waynesboro grant competition will be announced at the conclusion of the evening.
Those interested in attending this free event are encouraged but, not required, to visit us online at www.eventbrite.com/e/grow-waynesboro-2018-live-pitch-night-tickets-49135492581.
For additional information, please contact Courtney Cranor, Assistant Director for Economic Development and Tourism.