Business Partners Newsletter
March 2019: Volume 19, No. 3
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 .
Free Sales Summit!  

About Us
General Inquires
P: 540-772-2069
F: 540-772-2030
5204 Bernard Drive, SW 
Room 421 
PO Box 29800 
Roanoke, VA 24018
Jill Loope
Administrative Assistant
Mission Statement
To attract and facilitate the growth of innovative businesses, jobs and population that increase taxable investment and ensure sustainable world class community resources. 

Take Your Business to the Next Level 
  To Register   
Skills Survey for Employers, Employees and Residents 
Calling on businesses, residents and employees to participate in skills surveys!  
Virginia Tech University, with support from Appalachian Power and the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, is conducting a workforce and skills analysis in a 55-county region across southern Virginia. As part of this project, we are seeking input from employers, employees and residents.  
Please be assured all information will remain confidential and no individual survey responses will be shared.  
If you have any questions regarding the survey, please contact Reteisha Byrd   with Boyette Strategic Advisors, at 501.604.6121.
Thank you for your time and cooperation with this important project!
Rural Growth Program 

  Read More  
New Vinton Program Announced    

Vinton Receives $200,000 Grant for Small Business Startups and Housing Assistance

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has announced the Town of Vinton and The Advancement Foundation have been awarded a $200,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to establish a local Virginia Individual Development Accounts (VIDA) program.
The VIDA program is designed to provide eligible participants of low to moderate income with matching funds to assist with saving for a down payment on a home or to start a business. Participants must complete an education and training program that will be provided by The Advancement Foundation and the participant must also achieve their own fiscal match through a personal savings account. Successful participants will be eligible for $8 in matching funds for every $1 saved, up to a total of $4,000 per applicant.
The VIDA grant will be available for 3 years and the program will be administered by The Advancement Foundation, with the Town of Vinton acting as the fiscal agent for grant funds received as a reimbursement from DHCD.
Anyone interested in learning more should contact the Advancement Foundation at 540.815.6106 or

Catawba Sustainability Center
Catawba Sustainability Center Hosts VT's Board of Visitors and Senior Leadership  
Several members of Virginia Tech's Board of Visitors and senior leaders of Virginia Tech's Administration and Facilities group participated in a week-long tour of Agricultural Research & Extension Centers (AREC) and other research facilities throughout the Commonwealth last week. The group finished up their week at the Catawba Sustainability Center on Thursday, February 28, 2019. There was a brief presentation followed immediately by a walking tour of the Center. The university continues to celebrate the successful partnerships with Roanoke County and Catawba Hospital.
On March 5th Hollins University will host the HireHollins Employer-Talent Showcase
Hollins University Career Center Partners with One of the Nation's Top Networking Platforms for Students
Tired of trying to find employees through the same old methods of career fairs and online postings?

On March 5th Hollins University will host the HireHollins Employer-Talent Showcase.  To learn what makes this event so different click here.

Sheyonn Baker
Manager, Career Center Events and Promotions
Hollins University 
Colonial Downs Job Fair March 11
RAMP Business Accelerator to offer $20,000 in seed capital for members of Third Cohort

Applications accepted from STEM-H companies through March 15

Questions?  Contact:  Mary.Miller@RBTC.Tech

New Summer Internship Program

Reimagine Roanoke County Planning Studies

Micromobility Solutions 

What is Micromobility?

It's an exciting time in the transportation world. Recent news has been with remarkable new automobile technologies, from efforts to make the all-electric Tesla more affordable, to whiz-bang stories about driverless cars and self-driving tractor trailers.

And while there are big changes afoot, there might be even bigger changes underfoot via the rapid growth of micromobility. Micromobility describes the growing range of tools and technologies that help enable shorter, carless trips - from tried-and-true solutions like Roanoke's Zagster bikeshare system, to up-and-coming devices like e-scooters. Microbility devices and systems are being developed, tested, and deployed rapidly, creating both opportunities, and sometimes headaches, for the communities in which they are operated. Read on

March Events  

Star City Homebrew Throwdown

The 4th annual Star City Homebrew Throwdown
Saturday, March 23, 2019 at Big Lick Brewing Co in Roanoke VA

Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport Report  

Passenger Traffic Growth Continues at ROA in January

January traffic was up 11.5% year over year at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional
Airport as 2019 begins with strong traffic growth

The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport has started 2019 off with strong growth as January traffic was up 11.5% on a year over year basis. Compared to January 2018 passenger traffic grew at 11.5% or 5,118 passengers. In January of 2019, 49,464 passengers flew via ROA compared to 44,346 in January of 2018.

For the full year of 2018, 660,836 passengers flew via ROA compared to 616,365 in 2018 and 608,288 in 2016. 2018 was the busiest year at ROA since 2007.
Strong community support, additional capacity, and improved airline operational reliability have all played roles in the continuation of sustained passenger growth, which began in September of 2016.
"We are pleased to see this positive trend continue into 2019, especially given our strong traffic numbers in 2017 and 2018," stated Timothy T. Bradshaw, A.A.E., executive director of the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission.  "Passenger demand is a critical factor when speaking with airlines regarding improving and increasing air service to our region.  Our carriers have added capacity at ROA and our customers have utilized it. We appreciate the support of our community choosing to fly ROA. Carriers will not add service to a market if the current service is not being used."

The Commission continually works with the airlines to improve reliability, reduce airfare and upgrade equipment serving the region.  This has played a significant role in the increase of passengers using the airport.

The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport is the primary airport for Virginia's Blue Ridge and the New River Valley.  ROA serves over 650,000 passengers per year via 4 airlines (American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and Allegiant Air) with nonstop service to 6 (Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, New York LaGuardia, Philadelphia, and Washington Dulles) hub cities as well as weekly flights to Orlando Sanford International Airport and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport. To learn more, please visit
Experience 2019: The Future of Leadership Starts Now

Get all the tools you need to grow your career and leadership skills at Experience 2019  
This year's conference, "The Future of Leadership," will help you redefine leadership to inspire innovation and thrive in the workplace of tomorrow. National and local speakers will help you connect and develop your professional narrative and goals for the next year, 5 years, or 10 years.
Keynote speaker, Michael J. Friedlander, Ph.D. exemplifies the future of leadership. He will be the keynote speaker at Experience 2019 on June 7 at the Taubman Museum.
As the Vice President for Health Sciences and Technology at Virginia Tech where he also is the founding Executive Director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC and the Senior Dean for Research at VTC School of Medicine, Friedlander's vision is a big part of how VTC has taken shape. He has built the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute's research program to over $125 million in grant value with 28 research teams and over 350 investigators and students over the institute's first 8 years.
His talk will focus on what leaders (and future leaders) can do to prepare themselves to lead and how technology plays a role in that development. He'll also touch on how the Roanoke Innovation Corridor is making an impact on the future of the region today. 
Registration for the 2019 annual conference is open. Experience is June 6-7 at the Taubman Museum of Art and everyone who registers by March 1 saves $10 with early bird pricing.
  Register Here  
Save the Date

Principles of Occupational Safety and Health
March 11-15, 2019

Attention Food Truck Operators
Convenient Fire Marshal Inspections
March 27, 2019

VA - NC Ag Bio Multi-State Conference
March 27, 2019

Industry 4.0 - An introduction to the  
opportunities and challenges presented by  
the Fourth Industrial Revolution
March 27, 2019
Southwest Virginia Life Science Forum 2019
April 3, 2019

Tech Talk - DevOps
April 4, 2019

RBTC WoTech Luncheon  

April 11, 2019

For More Info
A Toolkit for 21st Century Leaders
August 23, 2019
The Catawba Valley Farmers Market will reopen on May 9
Sales at this Market provide additional income for local vendors while making fresh, high-quality foods available to the consumers. Several special events and activities are planned for the 2019 season - details will be shared in the coming months.

Interested in becoming a vendor? Contact Ann G. Harrell, Market Manager, at (540) 864-5913 or email to
More information is also available at and on Facebook.

The Catawba Valley Farmers Market is a collaborative project of the Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center, the County of Roanoke, the Catawba Ruritan Club and members of the Catawba Community.


Tuition Grants Available 

Virginia created FastForward, a grant that will pay tuition to help Virginians and boost the economy. Through training and testing, you can earn industry-recognized credentials in a variety of fields including: healthcare, logistics, skilled trades, IT, and education.
Upcoming Open Houses
May 21
July 16
 Nov 19  
 Contact us at 540-857-6076 or 
Clean Valley Day is Saturday, April 6  

We're calling all volunteers to be a part of the Clean Valley Council's effort to beautify our natural spaces.

River Cleanup

Help us keep Explore Park looking its best, and enjoy a free lunch as our way of saying thanks. Meet at the Journey's End parking area within Explore Park, and don't forget to dress appropriately for the weather with sturdy footwear. We'll provide bags and gloves. The cleanup effort will take place from 9am to 12pm, followed by lunch.

Free Lunch & Afternoon Activities

Stick around after the cleanup for a well deserved meal  including hot dogs, chips and drinks catered by our staff. Please reserve space for your group online to ensure we have enough supplies and food. Afterward the Clean Valley Councill will provide activity stations and kids activities including wearable trash bag art project, groundwater model demos and a 'Rigby' puppet show. 


Saturday, April 6, 2019
9am to 12pm - Park clean up
12pm to 1pm - Lunch Break
1pm to 3pm - Activity Stations
Meet at the Journey's End Parking Area

Questions? Call Charlie at (540) 777-6340

Virginia International Trade Events
Trade Missions
Be part of one of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership's Trade Missions and enjoy private, one-on-one meetings with prospective customers and partners. These well-planned visits are business me etings set up on your behalf, with your input, to save you time and maximize your results.   
If you are interested in participating in a VEDP Trade Mission, please contact Roger Porter as there may be resources available to offset some of the associated costs. (Contact information above)
 Trade Mission to Brazil - May 20 - 24, 2019 - Register by Mar. 22, 2019
USAFRICOM Africa Endeavor 2019 - July 2019 - Registration opens April 1st
Trade Mission to Australia - Oct. 7 - 11, 2019 - Registration opens April 1st
  Pacific 2019 (Australia) - Oct. 8 - 10, 2019 - Registration opens April 1st
AUSA 2019 - Oct. 14 - 16, 2019 - Registration opens April 1st
Trade Mission to Sweden and Denmark - Oct. 21 - 25, 2019 - Registration opens April 1st
Trade Mission to Qatar - Nov. 10 - 13, 2019 - Registration opens April 1st
  Expodefensa 2019 (Colombia) - Dec. 2 - 4, 2019 - Registration opens April 1st
  Trade Mission to Colombia - Dec. 2 - 6, 2019 - Registration opens April 1st
Additional Trade Missions
Throughout the year
Shake Hands with Potential Customers...In their Country!
One-on-One Counseling Now Available!  
Are you looking for new avenues to grow your business?
Learn how you can provide your services and products to the State of Virginia
The Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD), in partnership with Roanoke County Economic Development Department, will be conducting free one-on-one counseling sessions on how to access business development resources, State financing programs (VSBFA), including technical assistance for conducting business with State agencies through SWaM Certification and eVA (Virginia's Online Procurement Portal).
These 1-hour sessions are by appointment only.
No fee, but appointment is REQUIRED   to schedule an appointment

Roanoke Makes the Top 5 Valentine's Day Getaways List
From the beautifully-preserved historic buildings in downtown Roanoke - now filled with interesting restaurants and galleries - to the surrounding ethereal beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this region is special on Valentine's Day. The views of the city and mountains here are memorable, making for a beautiful V-Day to start with and it only gets better. The region actually offers great places to propose (and what better time to do it than Valentine's Day?), among them the Mill Mountain Star, an 85'-tall man-made star of neon tubing that lights up at night, or McAfee Knob, a ledge which juts out over some of the most famous scenery in America. At the base of Mill Mountain is The River and Rail, one of Roanoke's best-loved restaurants...with good reason. Or you might enjoy a feast (and a room!) at the Hotel Roanoke, an historic local institution with Old South ambience and elegant dining. This region is one of the burgeoning wine centers in America, as well, and a drive down the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway will lead you and your sweetheart to Chateau Morrisette Winery, where the cuisine is just as wonderful as the wines. Also, Big Lick Brewery is holding a Big Lick Valentine's Beer Dinner, putting a new twist on an old holiday. For another new twist, you can celebrate at a production of "My Fatal Valentine - Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre," at Mountain View Center. But, really, anywhere you celebrate Valentine's Day in Roanoke/Virginia's Blue Ridge, you'll be celebrating it amongst beautiful, dream-like scenery.
UK-Based Travel Publication  
Features Virginia's Blue Ridge 

Roanoke County Business Partners Show on RVTV

On the March show, we learn about the new Institute for Entrepreneurial Learning at Hollins University. Next we find out what the Career Development Department at Hollins University is doing to address the needs of students and employers of the 21st century. Lastly, we get an update on how the Gauntlet Business Program and Competition is going now that it is well underway.