Roanoke County Business Partners Newsletter
January 2021: Volume 21, No. 1
The E-newsletter of the Roanoke County Economic Development Department is designed to showcase the investments and achievements of our existing business partners. For additional information about doing business in Roanoke County, visit our website.
The Roanoke County Department of Economic Development wishes you a very happy New Year! 2020 presented us all with new and various challenges, especially for our business community. We appreciate all your hard work to adapt and overcome during these times. As we begin the new year, we wish you all the best for 2021 and we remain your source for any and all of your economic development needs.

Best wishes,
Roanoke County Economic Development
Governor Northam Awards Catawba Sustainability Center Grant
Governor Northam speaking at the Catawba Sustainability Center for the AFID grant announcement
Supervisor Martha Hooker presenting Governor Northam with a painting of the Catawba Valley
Governor Ralph Northam visited the Catawba Sustainability Center last month to announce an Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) grant awarded to Roanoke County for the production of Goldenseal, a medicinal plant used to relieve respiratory ailments, at the Catawba Sustainability Center. Read the full release here.

"Roanoke County and Virginia Tech formed a partnership nearly 10 years ago to develop the Catawba Sustainability Center into a demonstration and research laboratory supporting university research and community engagement. The partnership is beneficial for students, farmers, agribusiness, and the overall community, as it provides an environment for learning and developing sustainability practices. Roanoke County's Catawba Valley is enriched by this partnership, and benefits from the numerous initiatives underway that enhance our environment and quality of life." Jill Loope, Director of Economic Development, Roanoke County
Guiding Star Yoga Therapy: Hear From a Recovery Grant Recipient
Nancy Harvey (pictured left), owner of Guiding Star Yoga Therapy here in Roanoke, received the Roanoke County Small Business Recovery Grant in 2020. With the Small Business Recovery Grant, Nancy was able to upgrade her hardware and her ability to provide virtual services during the pandemic so she and her business could adapt and succeed during such a difficult time.

One of Nancy's clients had this to say about the Recovery Grant:

"We first met in the yoga studio at Grace’s Yoga. When the pandemic forced us to find alternate ways to meet, we started virtual meeting lessons. Had this not happened, I am unsure if I would have continued with a regular yoga practice. Ms. Harvey was able to obtain a grant to help in this process. She now has the ability to record and post videos, have a professional website and maintain connection! I am grateful to her as well as the Roanoke County Economic Development office for providing grants to businesses such as Ms. Harvey’s."

We thank all of our businesses for staying strong, adapting to new conditions, and pushing forward amidst the pandemic. Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your story!

Learn more about Guiding Star Yoga Therapy here.
Appointments and Retirement Announcements
27 Years with Roanoke County - Fire Chief Steve Simon Retires

Congratulations to Fire Chief Steve Simon for a well-deserved retirement after dedicating 35 years to Fire and Rescue services, with 27 of those years working for Roanoke County. Chief Steve Simon's retirement will take effect March 1, 2021. We here at Roanoke County are extremely honored to have been able to work with Chief Simon and wish him all the best in his retirement. Thank you for your service, Chief Simon!
Roanoke Regional Partnership Announces New Executive Director

Congratulations to John Hull as he begins his new role directing operations for the Partnership. John has served many roles with the Partnership, including director of marketing intelligence since 2010, acting director of business investment, and as director of the Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facility Authority. Congratulations and best of luck, John!

Vinton Appoints New Town Manager

Last month, the Town of Vinton Vinton Appointed Pete Peters to their new Town manager, shedding "interim" from his title. Mr. Peters officially became Vinton's new Town Manager on January 1, 2021. We wish Mr. Peters the best as he takes on his new role and we're excited for the Town of Vinton to have him in this leadership role. Congratulations, Pete!
Cardinal Comeback - Delta Dental Dedicated to Helping
The Virginia Economic Developers Association recognized Delta Dental as part of their Cardinal Comeback series for donating over $3 million from their own nonprofit organization for 4,500 dentists in the region who had been hit hard by the pandemic shutdown. We're proud to have Delta Dental as a Roanoke Coutny business and we salute their selflessness in helping those in need during the pandemic. Thank you, Delta Dental!
Additional $20 Million Allocated to Rebuild VA for Pending Applications
Governor Ralph Northam has announced that additional $20 million has been allocated to the Rebuild VA economic recovery fund, which will provide grants to over 300 small business and nonprofits that applied before the last round of funding was exhausted in early December. This economic recovery fund has been instrumental in providing Virginia businesses funding that allows operations to move forward during unstable market conditions.

ELITE Program Helps Align Businesses with Future Talent

Businesses in the Roanoke Valley can make recruiting software engineers and developers easy with the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council's Experiential Learning in Tech Employment (ELITE) program.

In addition to the immediate project assistance, the program helps connect businesses to students for potential employment after graduation—building a better technical labor pipeline.

For information and to apply, contact John Phillips at
Virginia TOP leverages Public-Private Partnerships
According to the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Foundation, only 10% of students take advantage of work-based learning opportunities. Yet 70% of employers want college graduates to have relevant work-based learning experience. To help bridge this divide and better connect students to employers, the Foundation has partnered with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to create the Virginia Talent + Opportunity Partnership (Virginia TOP for short). Funded by the Commonwealth Innovative Internship Fund and Program, Virginia TOP will develop resources for employers, students, parents and higher ed to help create work-based learning programs. These programs, in turn, will help achieve three main goals of the effort: 1) Increase opportunities for work-based learning; 2) Keep graduates in Virginia and 3) Make Virginia #1 for Business. Details are available in the Virginia Employer Readiness Toolkit and at
Lila Drive + Plantation Road Intersection Gets a New Look
Conceptual rendering of potential Williamson Road and Plantation Road intersection redevelopment
After many years of deliberate planning and implementation, construction at the Lila Drive and Plantation Road intersection which began in May has excitingly been completed. Newly installed Lila Drive stoplights, fresh-painted crosswalks, and a stretch of paved sidewalk along Plantation Road are all completed portions of the long-term plan for this area.

Read the full article here.
Roanoke County CORTRAN Program is Changing Providers
Starting January 12, 2021, Via is partnering with the Roanoke County CORTRAN program to provide service. Eligible riders are County residents who are at least 70 years of age, or have a disability.

If you would like to learn more, additional information is available online, you can call (540) 776-7271 or email
Virginia's Blue Ridge - Stay Safe Pledge
Virginia's Blue Ridge (VBR) believes in keeping our community safe for residents and visitors, alike. While we continue practicing safety precautions during COVID-19, VBR has created the Stay Safe Pledge to encourage businesses, visitors, and residents in the Blue Ridge to join in on keeping our community safe. You can find more information about the Stay Safe Pledge Business Toolkit, Virginia COVID-19 information, and guidelines from the CDC on VBR's website. Take the pledge today to create a safer community for tomorrow!
New Distracted Driving Law for 2021
Effective January 1, 2021, it will be illegal to hold a handheld personal communications device (e.g., your smartphone) while driving a moving motor vehicle on Virginia highways. This new law is one of many ways the state is buckling down on distracted driving.

Help keep cyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers on the road safe. Put the phone down. Visit here to learn more.
Partners and Programs
Gain Experience and Get Certified through Get2KnowNoke

Join Experience Leadership for a digital deep-dive in professional development to kick off the new year. Each session is just $15 and upon completion, you’ll earn a resume-boosting Experience Leadership Institute Certificate.

Learn more and register here.
Grants to Cover at least 50% of Training for Employees

Virginia Career Works - Blue Ridge offers grants to businesses that can help pay for over 50% of the cost to train their workers!

Visit VCW - Blue Ridge to learn more about their business services and existing worker training programs.
Virginia Tech's Pro Bono Management Consulting Program

Roanoke businesses - The Virginia Tech Management Department wants to help you with their pro bono management consulting program. At no cost to your company, a professor will guide a team of 4-5 students in a semester-long project to fix pain points in your business, conduct a market analysis, audit specific business functions, and more!

For more information, contact Dirk Buengel, Assistant Professor of Practice

Phone: 917-216-8630
Roanoke County Public Libraries WiFi Hotspots

Hotspots deliver strong and secure internet connection. RCPL makes it easy to get online with a hotspot, available at all locations. If you have a library card, you can check out a hotspot for free. Hotspots can be used to connect your tablet, laptop, or other WiFi-enabled device to 4G LTE networks. RCPL hotspots can be borrowed for 14 days.

Stay up-to-date on our public libraries here.
Events and Announcements
New Year, New Career - Online Job Fair

Are you looking to find the right talent for your company? Virginia Career Works Blue Ridge is hosting an online career fair on January 20 to enable employers to more easily connect with potential employees. Sign up for the "New Year, New Career" virtual job fair and meet your future workforce!

Register here.
Virginia Western Offers Training Opportunities

Become a competitive candidate with Virginia Western Community College's academic and certification programs. View the Project Management and SHRM prep courses below, and see all course offerings here.
Founders and Funders Series

VIC will be holding an event on January 21 at 3:30 PM. The Founders & Funders series focuses on types of capital around the region. The January event will focus on non-dilutive funding (proof of concepts, grants). Click here for a link to the event.
OSHA Programming at Roanoke Higher Education Center
The RHEC offers courses that keep businesses and their employees up-to-date on guidelines from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

Click the flyer for more information.
The Advancement Foundation Announcements
The 7th Annual GAUNTLET will begin on February 9, 2021

The Advancement Foundation is now accepting applications for their Gauntlet Business Program and Competition. The Gauntlet combines programming, resource development, and place making initiatives to leverage community assets, helping local entrepreneurs achieve their professional goals and more.

Learn more about the GAUNTLET and the Advancement Foundation here.
Innovation Mill Now Taking Applications

The Innovation Mill was created to fill a gap that encourages and supports inventors, innovative technologies, and other high growth potential businesses to explore proof of concept. The program is designed to increase business readiness, innovation, and success for new/early-stage high growth potential companies.

Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center Events
Events, Workshops, and Resources

Stay up-to-date on upcoming Roanoke SBDC news and events by visiting their website here.

1:1 Advising

The Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center works with entrepreneurs in all phases of their business from idea to exiting.

Roanoke County Business Partners on RVTV

It's a brand new year with a brand new format! We want 2021 to be about growth and change, so we though it was time Roanoke County Business Partners revamped the way we show you our local business community!

On this month’s show, we visit the Catawba Sustainability Center to see Governor Northam announce the Center's Agricultural and Forestry Industries Development Grant award. We then visit a newer business in Roanoke County, Mathnasium, to speak with Owner Cory Applegate about how Mathnasium is helping students overcome mathematic obstacles during the pandemic. And finally, we hear from Economic Development Director, Jill Loope, for a 2020 Year in Review.
(540) 772-2069
P.O. Box 29800, Roanoke, VA 24018-0798