Who can participate in the business planning class?

Any individual who has considered opening their own business in Waynesboro, including, but not limited to, for profit, nonprofit, home-based businesses, retail storefronts, professional services, manufacturing and more.

What do the business planning classes involve?

During the eight-week class series, you will hear from experts in their fields as they walk you through the steps to launch a successful business. You will discuss a variety of critical topics, including marketing, social media, finance, operations, cash flow projections, hiring employees, taxes, and more. The training program is facilitated by the Shenandoah Community Capital Fund (SCCF) and will feature expert guest speakers. At the conclusion of the class, you will have a nucleus of a business plan, and will have met one of the eligibility guidelines to compete for up to $25,000 in startup funds. The class size is limited. See the complete list of topics and schedule here. To sign up, complete the interest form here, no later than 10am, January 23, 2023.

When are the classes?

Classes are held in the evenings in downtown Waynesboro and will begin January 30, from 6pm to 8pm. See complete schedule here.

What if I have an existing business but want to expand or improve?

If you already have a business plan and/or successful business in Waynesboro or have a business in another community and want to open a second location in Waynesboro, we can provide assistance with your expansion plans. Support can be obtained from our Small Business Specialist, SCORE, and the Small Business Development Center. To be eligible to participate in the “pitch night” and compete for startup grants, you will need to complete the GrowthWheel program provided by the Small Business Development Center (at no cost to you).

How do I sign up for the business planning classes?

Complete the interest form here, no later than 10am, January 23, 2023.  Class size is limited so apply early and with as much information as possible.

Can I talk to someone about my business idea?

Yes! Contact us at the email or phone number below and our Small Business Specialist will get back to you. You may also want to review the recent downtown “leakage” report to compare your idea with current needs and also the market research tool here.

How do I apply for the startup grants?

After meeting the eligibility factors, startup grants in the Grow Waynesboro Main & Wayne program are competitive based on your business plan and your “pitch” at a live pitch night event in Downtown Waynesboro in mid-April 2023.

What are the eligibility factors?

Businesses that meet the following eligibility guidelines can apply:
• Successful completion of the eight-week business training program, or if an existing business, completion of the SBDC GrowthWheel program
• Submission of a business plan and any other required documents by March 20, 2023.
• Open a for profit, brick and mortar “storefront” in the downtown Waynesboro Historic District (see GWM&W Map and check back later for a list of available properties) no later than September 30, 2023
• Plan on hiring at least 1 FTE (including yourself) (1.5 new FTE’s if an expansion) within the first twelve months. Existing businesses, unless planning a significant expansion and/or a move into the historic district, are not eligible to apply.

What is a FTE?

Full Time Equivalent employee – one full time (40 hours / week) employee = two part time (20 hours/ week) employees

How large are the grants?

The Grow Waynesboro Main and Wayne competition has a total of $48,000 of grant funds to award to three top finalists! First place winner can receive up to $25,000; second place $15,000; third place $8,000. The final distribution will depend on the quality, funding needs, and quantity of the overall applicant pool. An independent pool of judges will review all business plans and presentations at pitch night to determine the final awards.

What can I use the grant dollars for?

Rent payments, supplies, marketing materials, website development, computer equipment, leasehold improvements, and more are all eligible costs for businesses supported by Grow Waynesboro grant dollars. Winner will not receive a generic check, but the Waynesboro Economic Development Authority will make direct payments to vendors.

What is a pitch night?

Your opportunity to present your business idea to an independent panel of judges and a live audience (think of a famous TV show, although our judges are much nicer).

How do I enter the pitch night competition?

Instructions for entering the pitch night will be provided during the eight-week business training and/or GrowthWheel sessions. An independent panel of judges will review the business plans of those completing the required training sessions and select up to eight entrepreneurs to compete in pitch night and the startup grants.

What if I am not one of the grant winners, can you still help me with funding?

Yes! We have a limited number of other grant options based on need and availability. In addition, as a GWM&W participant, you are eligible to apply for a zero-interest loan from the Economic Development Authority. Details will be provided during the required training sessions.

How do I prepare for pitch night?

An optional Pitch Preparation Workshop will be held at the conclusion of the eight-week training to help competitors build upon the research and work that went into their business plan and turn that into an impressive presentation for the audience and judges.

What if I still have more questions?

We’d love to help answer them! Contact us at staff@waynesborobusiness.com, or 540-942-6570.