By Callie Hietala
The Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s Partnership for Economic Growth (C-PEG) received a $103,575 grant from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission to expand its Startup and Grow Martinsville-Henry County program.
Startup and Grow is a mentoring program that helps establish new businesses and grow existing ones through intensive boot camp programs lasting eight weeks for startups and four weeks for growing companies. The boot camps are delivered through partnerships with Patrick & Henry Community College (P&HCC), Longwood’s Small Business Development Center, SCORE, and the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation (EDC.) Staff from both city and county as well as local entrepreneurs and business experts provide insight during the boot camps as well.
Lisa Watkins, president of the chamber, said the organization has up to 3 years to utilize the funding that is specifically intended to support businesses outside of the retail and service industries. That means beneficiaries could include businesses focused on technology, healthcare, agribusiness, manufacturing, or small batch production.
According to a press release, the funding will allow C-PEG to serve more entrepreneurs, provide additional training, and make more investments in viable business concepts.
Since its inception in 2015, the initiative has graduated 231 individuals from its training program and awarded 35 businesses with over $204,750 in cash and in-kind funding. In turn, those businesses have created over $1,450,000 in new capital investment and created 125 new jobs in Martinsville and Henry County, the release stated.
Cocoa Trail Chocolates, Books and Crannies book shop, CharmCat Creative LLC, and Imagination Lavender Farm areamong the successful locally owned businesses to benefit from the program in recent years.