RISE Collaborative is the new go-to destination for all things related to entrepreneurship and innovation in Southern Virginia. RISE stands for Regional Investment in Startups & Entrepreneurs. Collaborative represents the nature of the regional entrepreneurship ecosystem, which centers the entrepreneur in a supportive network of local, regional and state resources.

RISE Collaborative is the result of an established partnership among GO Virginia Region 3, Longwood University and the SOVA Innovation Hub, which is a non-profit created by Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC) and Microsoft.

“RISE Collaborative is creating a thriving community of students, educators, entrepreneurs, innovators and business resource providers connected in a vibrant, regional ecosystem,” said Lauren Mathena, director of economic development and community engagement at MBC and the SOVA Innovation Hub.

RISE Collaborative offerings for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs include the RISE & SHINE virtual meetup and training programs powered by CO.STARTERS.

“Anyone with a business idea is encouraged to attend a free, three-hour CO.STARTERS Get Started Workshop before applying to CO.STARTERS Core, which is a 10-week, cohort-based program proven to help people move from idea to action,” said Brandon Hennessey, director of entrepreneurship, research and innovation at Longwood University.

RISE Collaborative’s initial offerings for students include CO.STARTERS Generator for 8th-12th grade students and the Collegiate Business Plan Competition for college students. For high school educators interested in teaching the entrepreneurship mindset, RISE Collaborative has partnered with the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research to bring the District C Coaching Institute to Southern Virginia.

All upcoming events and programs are offered free to residents of Southern Virginia. More information and program registration are available online at sovarise.com or by calling (434) 533-5136.

Upcoming program and events

CO.STARTERS Get Started Workshops

  • From 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday: Whether you’re just getting started, stuck on a particular issue, or in need of a refresher, attend one of these workshops to get a jump start on your business idea.

District C Coaching Institute

  • This professional development opportunity will certify 16 high school educators in the Teamship model, which teaches modern work skills (i.e. the entrepreneurship mindset) and provides students with a work-based learning experience. Applications are open through Dec. 14.


  • Registration is open now through Oct. 31 for this self-paced, online learning experience that helps teens explore their passions through generating, testing and launching ideas. Students in 8th-12th grade are invited to participate as individuals or in classroom teams.

Youth Entrepreneurship Workshop for Teachers & Students

  • From 9:30 to 11 a.m. Oct. 19: This interactive online workshop is your chance to experience the CO.STARTERS Generator first-hand before enrolling in the full program.

SOVA Collegiate Business Plan Competition Info Session

  • From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 14: College students are invited to commit to this six-month journey to enhance your college experience by getting the education, skills, mentorship and motivation necessary to create a viable startup company in Southern Virginia.

RISE & SHINE with Virginia Community Capital

  • From 9 to 10 a.m. Oct. 20: This workshop from Virginia Community Capital will help you navigate small business lending.