November 2020
Rebuild VA Grant Fund Expanded for Small Businesses and Nonprofits to Apply for Up to $100,000

Program allotted additional $30 million and eligibility expanded for small businesses and nonprofits.

Governor Ralph Northam announced on October 28 that Rebuild VA, a grant program to help small businesses and nonprofit organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, will expand eligibility criteria and increase the amount of grant money businesses receive.

Rebuild VA originally launched in August with $70 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Governor Northam is now directing an additional $30 million to support the expansion of the program. Businesses with less than $10 million in gross revenue or fewer than 250 employees will be eligible under the new criteria, and the maximum grant award will increase from $10,000 to $100,000.
COVID-19 Cases Rising in Our Area
COVID19 cases are on the rise in our area - we wanted to share this joint message below from our regional physicians and hospital leaders at Carilion Clinic, LewisGale Regional Health System and the Salem VA Medical Center about the importance of staying vigilant during this time. Please practice social distancing, wash your hands and wear a mask. Thank you to the fine work of our front line health workers and their efforts in keeping our region safe.
City of Roanoke Offers Grants for Small Businesses
Applications must be received by 11:59 pm on November 30, 2020.
The City of Roanoke has established a Grant Fund to support small business recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. One-time grants from $1,250 up to $12,000 are being provided to offset business impacts during the pandemic. The grant program is administered by the City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development. If you have any questions, please contact Economic Development at (540) 853-2715 or email: econdevl@roanokeva.go
Roanoke City Council Appoints Vivian Sanchez-Jones
to Fill Unexpired Term
On Monday, Oct. 19, Roanoke City Council announced the appointment of Ms. Vivian Sanchez-Jones, to fill the unexpired City Council term of Djuna Osborne.
Thanks to the support of so many who cast their votes, Roanoke is the winner of the Large Top Adventure Town category in the Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine competition, defeating Chattanooga, TN and Asheville, NC in the finals.

This 2020 victory marks back-to-back Top Adventure Town titles for Roanoke in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. It’s the 5th Top Town title in the past 9 years of the competition for Roanoke as established by readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine!
Roanoke Encourages Energy Efficiency & Clean Energy with Special Financing Program C-PACE
On Monday, October 19th, Roanoke’s City Council approved an ordinance that enabled Commercial Property Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing in the city. C-PACE is a unique loan program specifically for energy efficiency and clean energy projects for new construction or renovations. Qualifying projects include energy efficiency improvements, resiliency improvements, water efficiency improvements, and/or stormwater management improvements.

The Roanoke Outside Foundation has been working to support the outdoors for more than a decade and we need your help to take it to the next level.

We’ve proven we are an outdoor community. We’ve shown the value in promoting an area’s natural assets to those looking to relocate their businesses as well as people looking for active outdoor vacations.

Our community has listened. They’ve jumped in feet first and have grown to be incredibly proud to live in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Now is the time to capitalize on this regional pride – while everyone is eager to get out and explore more than ever before – and invest in the bigger picture. Let’s help our region come out on top of this global pandemic.
Regional Long Range Multimodal Transportation Plan Update
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission Seeks Public Input on Transportation
Every five years, the twenty-year long-range multimodal transportation plan for the Roanoke Valley is updated. This year, the rural long-range transportation plan extending from the Roanoke Valley to the Alleghany Highlands is getting an update, too. The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) is asking for the public’s help to identify transportation needs with a new, interactive survey tool at

“Now that I-81 and U.S. 460 East improvements are underway, we need to think about what’s next,” says Cristina Finch, the RVARC Director of Transportation. “What safety, access, traffic, maintenance, or other transportation needs do people have?”
The long-range multimodal transportation plan guides the region in creating a more efficient, responsive, and environmentally-sensitive transportation system. It examines transportation trends and issues and offers a list of specific strategies and projects for addressing the region’s needs. 
“The long-range transportation plan is for all kinds of transportation and for people of all backgrounds, income levels, and mobility needs.” adds Finch.
In the survey, participants prioritize transportation needs, allocate funding to categories, and drop pins on a map to show where they have noticed safety, access, traffic, and maintenance problems. 
The survey will remain open until Monday, November 16, 2020.
Luna Develops Unique 
High-Resolution Rock Stress Measurement Concept

Technology creates continuous strain profiles with microscopic detail that increases the safety and production efficiency of subsurface oil and gas systems 

Luna Innovations Inc. (NASDAQ: LUNA) recently announced that, working in partnership with Shell’s GameChanger™ early-stage-technologies program, it has developed an innovative concept for measuring in-situ stresses in subsurface rock using its fiber optic sensing solutions. When deployed, this technique would provide critical measurements with unmatched consistency and depth resolution, allowing safer and more efficient well operations.   

Businesses that rely on underground operations, such as the petroleum and geothermal industries, require accurate estimates of in-situ stress, which refers to the existing pressure that exists underground before a hole is drilled. This affects drilling, surveying, and fluid injection (hydraulic fracturing, water flooding, CO2 sequestration) as well as phenomena such as fault re-activation and induced seismicity.
Spotlight on Business - Build Smart Institute
Build Smart Institute held its Grand Opening and Ribbon-Cutting on Friday, October 30 at
701 Gainsboro Road in northwest Roanoke.

This new asset in the City of Roanoke was proudly launched with programs tackling workforce development and the deficit of construction tradespeople. By providing a multi-functional approach with a focus on hands-on training, Build Smart Institute provides a clear path to a successful career in construction.

The Institute's 12,000 sf facility with 10,000 sf of hands-on lab space provides a unique approach to students and adults seeking a career in the construction industry. The training approach consists of blended classroom instruction and proper safety protocols with hands on experience, as well as virtual instructional programs. Courses and programs range from single day workshops to full, multi-semester programs including career exploration, fundamentals of construction, carpentry, electrical, project management and more.

The race against cancer’s clock: New study shows chronic jet lag impairs immune response, accelerates tumor growth

Carla Finkielstein, an associate professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, led researchers who revealed chronic jet lag-type conditions create a favorable environment for tumor growth in mice.
Imagine you’ve just arrived in Paris. Your body thinks it should be midnight – a restorative time when your cells typically proofread DNA, organize and store energy, and perform other essential chores – but, instead, the sun is up and you’re awake. On a molecular level, your cells are stressed, trying to catch up to new environmental conditions.
Visit VBR Attracting Drive Markets to 
Stimulate Visitation and Revenues 
Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge (VBR) is taking incremental steps to stimulate the local economy by leveraging our limited resources to attract visitors from our drive markets to VBR this fall and Holiday season. The goal is to increase visitation and length of stay while generating revenues for our five local governments (Cities of Roanoke and Salem as well as the Counties of Roanoke, Franklin and Botetourt) and 1,500+ business partners. 

Success of this campaign is critical to the recovery of consumption tax collections (including lodging, admissions and meals taxes) as well as restoring jobs. While most of the focus has been on social and digital marketing, Visit VBR recently partnered with WWBT/WUPV - Channel 12 (NBC) based in the Richmond/Petersburg area to showcase a Fall Foliage Forecast.  VBR owns the Fall Foliage Forecast during the weather segment 32 times over the week along with a 10 second commercial, digital advertising, fall foliage website page and social advertising. This campaign is active through early November.

To date, website traffic to from the Metro Richmond Area has increased 37.62% over October 2019 and 57.72% over September 2020, showing this program is moving the needle towards potential travelers from the Richmond area.
Cares Act Funding Available for
Roanoke City Residents & Businesses
Are you a City of Roanoke resident who has experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19, or are you a business owner who lost income or had to furlough employees?  Emergency federal funding available through the CARES Act is available for residents who need help with the following due to income loss as a result of COVID-19:

Electricity bills, Gas/oil/propane bills, Water/sewer bills, Internet service, Childcare costs, Car payments, Car insurance, Medical expenses, or Funeral costs

Small businesses, nonprofits, food banks, mental health service providers, and substance abuse treatment providers may also be eligible for reimbursement of expenses due to COVID-19, or income loss.

Applications must be received by 11:59 pm on November 30, 2020.
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 or follow this link to our most recent show: 

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
Join the Roanoke Small Business Development Center
for the following opportunities!
To learn more or register,
call (540) 632-1174 or
visit Roanoke Small Business Development Center on Facebook!


Saturday, November 28th

Stayed tuned on Social Media@RoanokeSBDC for special programming and releases as we prepare for Small Business Saturday!