April 2021
Governor Northam Announces Virginia to Expand Vaccine Eligibility to All Adults by April 18 as Vaccinations Continue Rising
Virginia nears end of Phase 1 waiting list, begins moving to Phase 2
Governor Ralph Northam today announced that all individuals in Virginia age 16 and older will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine starting on Sunday, April 18, ahead of the May 1 nationwide goal set by President Joe Biden. Governor Northam made the announcement during a visit to a vaccination clinic at First Mount Zion Baptist Church in Prince William County, where more than 1,000 vaccines will be administered today.

This news comes as nearly every Virginian in the highest risk groups who has pre-registered for a vaccination appointment has received one, and those still on the pre-registration list will receive appointment invitations within the next two weeks.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel—and that light is getting brighter every day as more and more Virginians get vaccinated,” said Governor Northam. “We continue to work with diverse providers and community partners across the Commonwealth to distribute vaccines in a fair and equitable way and ensure those at the highest risk are vaccinated first. Expanding vaccine eligibility to all adults marks an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to put this pandemic behind us, and I thank all of the public health staff, health care workers, vaccinators, and volunteers who have helped make this possible.”
Attracting Business and Talent
by Investing in Our Community
The Roanoke Regional Partnership and Roanoke Outside Foundation celebrated a major win in March, awarding 14 grants through Project Outside.

Funds raised during the latter part of 2020 will support outdoor projects including greenway repairs for the section damaged by flooding, machines for trail work, installing a new river access ramp, tools for volunteer trail workers, development of an outdoor program for underserved youth, disc golf course improvements, and support for outdoor businesses impacted by the pandemic.

“The goal of Project Outside was to fill maintenance funding gaps in projects or initiatives and pool resources to tackle large-scale outdoor infrastructure projects,” said Pete Eshelman, director of the Roanoke Outside Foundation. “These projects all showed need and can make immediate impact in the community.”

Project Outside is just one more piece of the bigger economic development puzzle in the Roanoke Region.
GO Virginia Region 2’s pipeline of talent projects is helping to connect people to jobs and internships and teaching students about the opportunities they have in the region, with the goals of retaining talent in the region and growing Virginia’s economy. GO Virginia Region 2 has funded 10 talent initiatives and has allocated $1,623,506 million in funds for the projects, serving a total of 234 businesses and 7,882 students.

GO Virginia Region 2 also participates as support for a statewide GO Virginia initiative called Virginia Bio-Connect, which is led by GO Virginia Region 4 and directed by the Virginia Biotechnology Association. The project also includes participation from GO Virginia Regions 5, 7, and 9.

In December 2020, the GO Virginia State Board approved $1,599,653 in state funds for Virginia Bio-Connect, which is leveraging a total of $2,335,310.
The project has three goals: increase connection in the life sciences ecosystem, bolster talent and workforce, and support entrepreneurship.
Members of Mill Mountain Garden Club work to complete restoration project.
Mill Mountain Garden Club Announces Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Unveiling the Restored Wildflower Garden atop Mill Mountain
The Mill Mountain Garden Club is excited to announce a celebration! The ribbon cutting for the reopening of the Wildflower Garden atop Mill Mountain will take place on Thursday, April 22nd at noon. The ceremony is open to the public and will be held at the new garden entrance adjacent to the Mill Mountain Discovery Center.

Mill Mountain Garden Club’s restoration campaign raised $200,000 to transform this 2.5 acre garden into a revitalized urban oasis. Highlights include a restored cascading tiered pond; rerouted and ADA compliant walkways; and the installation of numerous new stone benches, a charming fairy garden and a star stump jump. The new Wildflower Garden offers breathtaking vistas and hundreds of native plants, shrubs and trees.

The Club developed a landscape plan for the garden emphasizing the importance and beauty of native plants, enhancing the visitor experience with areas for quiet reflection. Amongst the trees and peaceful serenity of Mill Mountain, the Wildflower Garden offers a restored hidden gem to enjoy and explore.

The Mill Mountain Garden Club, a 100-member, all volunteer organization, has the mission of promoting and protecting the natural beauty of the Roanoke Valley and the surrounding area.  

April is a busy month for The Mill Mountain Garden Club. In addition to the
April 22nd event, on Saturday, April 24th from 2-5 pm, garden enthusiasts can tour the Mill Mountain Wildflower Garden during Roanoke’s Historic Garden Week in addition to 7 other Roanoke gardens. Tickets can be purchased online to tour these gardens at www.vagardenweek.org.

Please note that the Mill Mountain Garden Club will follow the
Governor of Virginia’s Covid -19 Executive Orders and Mandates.
Spotlight on Business
Locally owned and operated, Barrows is the one-stop-shop for commercial furniture, flooring, and interior design. Since its establishment in 1988, Barrows has become one of Southwest Virginia's most prestigious business environment specialists. CEO Chris Clemmer, a native and resident of the Roanoke Valley, is proud of Barrows' success, yet continues to strive for improvement.
For over 30 years, Barrows has emerged a strong leader in design excellence, financial stability, and personal service. One primary factor contributing to their success is the long-term relationships they have developed with clients. No matter one’s location or scale of the project, the Barrow's team is dedicated to providing a customized space, so people love how they work, learn, and heal.

Over the past year, workplaces across the Roanoke Valley have demonstrated remarkable adaptability and resilience in the face of a constantly changing world. Now, workplaces are brainstorming how to create a safe environment to allow employees to return to the workplace. Social distancing and proper sanitation are two important factors upper management are prioritizing to make this happen. This is where Barrows’ experience in commercial furniture, flooring, and interior design make this easy.

Everyone envies watching Joanna Gaines from “Fixer Upper” and how she shows clients customized digital renderings of their new home. Every detail thought out and tailored to their needs and wants. This type of service isn’t just for HGTV - Barrows can do this for any commercial client, including small businesses, schools, universities, hospitals, government buildings, and Fortune 500 companies. Their Design Team has a combined fifty years of design experience, comprised of Virginia Tech and Radford graduates. They create beautiful and functional designs utilizing over two-hundred manufacturers’ products available at their design disposal. Barrows can reconfigure any workplaces’ current furniture setup, create an entirely new floorplan with new furniture, or do a hybrid of both. Then, Barrows moves the furniture and/or installs the products.

Choosing products to be properly sanitized, and selecting fabrics, laminates, vinyls, or leathers that can be safely cleaned are their concerns. Barrows provides products that are easy and safe to clean while giving manufacturer's instructions on how to do so. Barrows provides the product, plan, and power to make any workplace in the Roanoke Valley safe and forward thinking. 

Barrows had to put to practice for themselves what they do for clients every day as they moved into their new headquarters in October 2020. The floor plan they had worked on for two years required changes to accommodate COVID protocols. Thankfully, the products they provide made it easy to reconfigure the space, including the privacy walls.

Barrows is excited to show the Roanoke Valley how they have overcome their obstacles in returning to work and encourage you to stop by their beautiful showroom for a visit, or to call them today to learn more.
Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Scholar earns
Virginia Tech's Highest Honor for Faculty
Carla Finkielstein is photographed wearing full PPE gear in summer 2020 as she was setting up a COVID-19 testing lab at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC. Photo from FBRI at VTC.
Carla Finkielstein, director of the Molecular Diagnostics Lab at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, has been recognized with the Ut Prosim Scholar Award – the university’s top honor for faculty – for her work to improve COVID-19 testing efficiency and effectiveness in support of both Virginia Tech and local health districts and for her service to humanity.
Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge Announces
Articles Inspiring Travel
Many regional and national pubs are touting Virginia’s Blue Ridge. 

Articles and Accolades for Virginia’s Blue Ridge (VBR) in trusted travel and lifestyle media outlets greatly influence future travel plans.

The Public Relations team at Visit VBR works diligently to ensure information about our destination resonates with consumers by pitching story ideas, hosting virtual and in person media visits, as well as focusing on target market media.

In case you missed an article or two, we have showcased some recent media coverage below for you to enjoy in this edition of BizNews.

Southern Living - How to Explore Virginia's Blue Ridge from Roanoke - by Kelsey Ogletree
Article Quote – “Adventure seekers will delight in abundant outdoor activities in and around the city, complemented by a buzzing culinary scene and historic accommodations."

Hand Luggage Only - 12 Beautiful Places to Visit on the East Coast, USA – Roanoke VA - #3
Article Quote - “This historic city is set against the backdrop of the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. There are literally hundreds of different hiking trails making it the perfect summer spot if you’re looking for a little slice of nature.”

USA TODAY 10 best - These are the 10 best places in North America to go paddling in the city – Roanoke River voted #3
Article Quote – “Roanoke sits in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge, making it an excellent base for outdoor recreation. The 45-mile Roanoke River Blueway offers easy paddling for much of its length, with the exception of some Class II rapids near the gorge.”
Roanoke Times editorial indicates positive news with regard to recent population growth in the Roanoke Valley.
Check it out below in our Featured BizLink.
Interested in a new job?

Virginia Tech is actively searching for essential positions. To learn more about available career opportunities, click below.
Don't forget...BizRoanoke is on RVTV Channel 3!
BizRoanoke is a monthly television program highlighting economic activity and programs within the City of Roanoke.

Tune into RVTV Channel 3 to learn more, access it on our website at 
www.BizRoanoke.com or click below for our most recent show featuring 

The City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development is on Facebook and Instagram! Please "like" or "follow" us today!
Check it Out!

City Owned Available Property
The City of Roanoke has a variety of properties available for acquisition, including existing buildings (as available) and buildable sites. Proposals for these properties must be approved by Council and must be submitted to the City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development. 

For more information on available properties and the proposal process, please visit the links below:

Upcoming Training and Events
April is Financial Literacy Month!

Throughout the month of April, organizations across the country conduct a variety of events and carry out initiatives designed to improve financial literacy, especially among our nation's youth, and to promote financial well-being for all consumers.

We hope you will join us for the following, and encourage others to do so, as well!

Bank On Roanoke Valley announces next round of 
Financial Wellness Series 

Bank On Roanoke Valley is proud to announce the next round of the Bank On Financial Wellness Series, beginning in April 2021
In this financial wellness series, Bank On Roanoke Valley rewards participant's hard work and commitment through perks tailored to each individual’s self-identified goals. In other words, Bank On Roanoke Valley works with you to tune up your finances in a way that makes your money work for you! Determine your financial goals, and get help achieving those goals with direct interaction from Bank On Roanoke Valley financial partners who teach the classes and help you on your journey to financial empowerment! 

The next Bank On Wellness Series will be held online monthly beginning the 4th Tuesday of every month from 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM from April 2021 through September 2021 on GoToMeeting, an online meeting platform. There is one required workshop every month for participants to be eligible to receive rewards and incentives. The series is offered at no-cost and is open to Roanoke Valley residents. Only 15 participants will be accepted in the class, with seats filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Topics include:

April 27, 2021 – The Future Looks Bright: Goal Setting, Credit Intro, & Banking Refresher
May 25, 2021 – Make It Work: Create a Spending Plan, Reduce Spending, & Increase Income
June 22, 2021 – The Dreaded “D” Word: Discuss and Conquer your Debt!
July 27, 2021 – Just Charge It: Smart Borrowing and Credit Building
August 24, 2021 – Bank It, Plan It: Savings and Future Planning
September 28, 2021 – Let’s Celebrate: Graduation! Expert Panel Q & A

You must enroll in advance to attend. To request an application, contact Brandon Meginley, Financial Stability Specialist with the City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development by phone at 540-853-1120 or by email at brandon.meginley@roanokeva.gov
Business Email Compromise
Thursday, April 8
10 - 11 am

An FBI presenter will focus on the following topics and answer questions from participants:

Being able to freely and safely communicate with employees, customers and suppliers is essential in today’s marketplace. Email is a convenient and necessary tool for small business owners to reach their intended audience. Unfortunately, it is also vulnerable to compromise and your business is vulnerable to exploitation. This seminar provides an overview of different types of means criminals use to achieve compromise and offers ways small business owners can protect themselves.

Presented by the FBI Norfolk Outreach Team in collaboration with the SBDC of Hampton Roads and virtually hosted by the Virginia SBDC.

A confirmation email with the Zoom login information will be sent after registration, please be on the lookout for it.

Fee: No Cost
COVID-19 Scams
Thursday, April 15
10 - 11 am

An FBI presenter will focus on the following topics and answer questions from participants:

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed our daily lives. It has also proven to be a fertile breeding ground for both criminals and con artists. The scams they employ run from simple to sophisticated and can cause irreparable damage to both individuals and businesses alike. This seminar provides an overview of emerging fraud schemes related to all aspects of the pandemic, from the manner in which business is conducted to personal-related issues including COVID vaccine scams. It is designed to protect your business, your family and yourself from exploitation.

Presented by the FBI Norfolk Outreach team in collaboration with the SBDC of Hampton Roads and virtually hosted by the Virginia SBDC.

A confirmation email with the Zoom login information will be sent after registration, please be on the lookout for it.

Fee: No Cost
Joint Terrorism Task Force
Thursday, April 22
10 - 11 am

An FBI presenter will focus on the following topics and answer questions from participants:

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces are our nation’s front line of defense against both domestic and international terrorism. They are highly-trained, locally-based investigators, analysts, linguists and other specialists from dozens of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

This seminar provides an overview of these complex and highly adaptable organizations designed to counter a wide range of ever changing threats and respond to incidents at a moment’s notice.

Presented by the FBI Norfolk Outreach team in collaboration with the SBDC of Hampton Roads and virtually hosted by the Virginia SBDC.

A confirmation email with the Zoom login information will be sent after registration, please be on the lookout for it.

Fee: No Cost