A total of $172,000 in Virginia Main Street grants were announced Thursday including $132,000 awarded for seven projects in the towns of South Boston and Abingdon, and the cities of Bristol, Danville, Fredericksburg, Lynchburg and Winchester.
Destination Downtown South Boston was awarded $15,000 for its Keep Entrepreneurs Program, which will focus on retention, education, inspiring and assisting entrepreneurs, so they have the tools and skills necessary to keep turning their passion into profit, according to Destination Downtown South Boston Executive Director Tamyra Vest.
“We are very excited for this grant,” said Vest, adding after having such a successful year the town wanted to keep the ball rolling.
“Vibrant downtown neighborhoods are important to help our cities and towns attract new businesses, invite tourism and grow the Virginia economy,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “The Virginia Main Street grants support efforts to revitalize downtown buildings, spark new economic development and drive more private investment to these areas.”
The Downtown Investment Grants (DIGs), administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), are for design and economic vitality projects targeting areas of specific need in historic downtown neighborhoods located in designated Virginia Main Street communities.
These grants are available to designated Main Street organizations to accelerate the economic revitalization of their downtown districts by helping implement innovative strategies, plans and programs that create an environment for increased private investment.
Vest said the South Boston grant would primarily be used for small mini grants given to businesses to target specific needs whether it is how to fix their social media presence, advertising or other marketing incentives.
“These will be based on needs and participation,” the executive director said.
Other components to be covered by the grant include such things as peer-to-peer roundtable events, monthly merchant meetings and a visitation program, networking events, a special retail component and a balance scorecard approach for existing businesses with the help of Longwood Small Business Development Center.
Vest said the visitation program will consist of a team checking in with local businesses, and the monthly meetings will be focused on what businesses can do together promotionally to have a healthy future.