Business Partners Newsletter
March 2018: Volume 18, 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 .
Reimagine Roanoke County

Our first round of community meetings start this month! Do you live, work or shop in the Hollins or Oak Grove areas? We'd love to hear from you and your family about how those areas could improve!

We'll have activities for kids and adults at the community meetings in March, which will be held twice for each study (on a Thursday night and a Saturday morning). You'll find the meeting info on our  Hollins webpage  and  Oak Grove webpage . Please remember to also take our surveys, now also available in Spanish!

Want to keep in touch?
Click the buttons under each study to sign up for email updates!

About Us
General Inquires
P: 540-772-2069
F: 540-772-2030
Economic Development 
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.


Events: Business Tools for Growth

Gig Economy Speaker:    Diane Mulcahy

Gig Economy 8-week Course + Mentoring
March 5 
5:30-7:30 PM

March 13
5:30 PM

Business Smart Start

Google: Make your website work for you
March 13

March 20

OSHA Compliance Training
Various Dates in March

Social Media
April 18

Other Happenings

Jessica Fintel and Scott Ramsburg of Roanoke County will share the inside scoop about all the things happening in Roanoke County at an Expand event, which is part of the bigger eXperience young professionals conference.

By bringing together industry and government leaders, speakers and visionaries, eXperience helps young professionals realize what our region has to offer - jobs, quality of life, arts and culture, and affordable living.


Vinton unveils LOVEwork on Valentine's Day

Virginia's newest LOVEwork sculpture was unveiled in Vinton in front of the Vinton War Memorial at Valentine's Day.  The Town of Vinton and Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge Travel and Tourism invited the community to "
Share the Love" by attending the ceremony to celebrate travel and tourism in Vinton and Virginia's Blue Ridge.

According to the Virginia Tourism Corporation website, the LOVEworks program is a statewide branding initiative, designed to promote historic life experiences and destinations in Virginia. Each sculpture is unique to the area that builds it.

Alliance Human Services opens its first Roanoke location

Alliance Human Services celebrated their first locationin the Roanoke Valley with a grand opening and ribbon cutting cere mony hosted by the Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce on February 15, 2018. 

Since 2003, Alliance Human Services has been licensed as a Child Placing Agency (CPA) in Virginia. We also provide Medicaid Treatment Foster Care including Targeted Case Management. While we serve children of  all ages, we have developed particular expertise in serving teenagers.

Hollins University opens renovated Dana Science Building

Hollins University held a ribbon cutting and rededication event for the Dana Science Building on Friday February 23, 2018. The Dana Science Building was built in 1967 and renovations on the building began in 2017. Hollins invested over $6 million in the renovation which included renovation of five laboratories, a refresh of four laboratories, and a refreshed lobby.

Workforce Development

Virginia's Blue Ridge Works and Virginia Western host Mechatronics program open house

On March 1, 2018, Virginia's Blue Ridge Works and Virginia Western Community College hosted an open house to showcase the Mechatronics program. Businesses and citizens were invited to learn more about the Mechatronics program, how to access a talented workforce from student graduates, and other incentives and programs available to the business community.


GO Virginia Grant will provide infrastructure for Woodhaven Road project

Governor Ralph Northam announced nine regional projects funded through GO Virginia (Growth and Opportunity for Virginia). Key members of the Governor's Cabinet, the General Assembly, and the business community approved $2,618,150 in GO Virginia regional per capita grant funds for projects across the Commonwealth. These grants are for projects that each region identified as vital to their efforts to diversify the regional economy, strengthen their workforce, and support collaborative programs between localities, public entities, and private businesses. The Woodhaven Road project received $200,150 in grant funding to improve the site readiness and marketability through water and sewer infrastructure enhancement.

USDA invites Rural Business Development Grant applications

USDA invites applications to the Fiscal Year 2018 state allocation for the Rural Business Development Grant Program (RBDG).  Complete applications received by 4/30/2018 will compete for state allocated funds anticipated to be approximately $500,000.  Applications of $99,000 or less are encouraged due to limited and highly competitive funds.

This program is a competitive grant designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas which will employ 50 or fewer new employees and has less than $1 million in gross revenue. Programmatic activities are separated into enterprise or opportunity type grant activities.

Read More

Applications due April 30, 2018

Town of Vinton accepting applications for Revolving Loan Program

The Town of Vinton is currently accepting applications for its Revolving Loan Program, a low interest loan program designed for qualifying small for-profit businesses located within its downtown business district. There is no deadline to apply, although loans will be issued in order of receipt to qualifying applicant(s) until the current available pool of $30,000 in loan funds has been exhausted.

The Town's Revolving Loan Program is designed to stimulate small business activity by supplying needed capital to assist existing or new small businesses with property improvements, equipment or inventory, with the ultimate goal to create or retain jobs.

Catawba Valley Farmers Market now accepting vendor applications

The Catawba Valley Farmers Market now has applications ready for new and returning vendors.  Applications must be returned no later than March 15.  Applications are available by contacting Ann G. Harrell, Market Manager, at 540-864-5913 or by emailing  

Also, special Artisan & Crafters Days will be held on the 3rd Thursday of May through September, for those who do not want to commit to the weekly Market.  Contact the Market Manager for those applications.

Passenger traffic continues to grow at ROA in January

The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport has started 2018 off with strong growth as January traffic was up 7.2% on a year over year basis. Compared to January 2016, passenger traffic is up 13.0%. In January of 2018, 44,346 passengers flew via ROA compared to 41,364 in January of 2017 for an increase of 2,982 passengers.

For the full year of 2017 616,365 passengers flew via ROA compared to 608,288 in 2016 and 598,606 in 2015. 2017 was the busiest year at ROA since 2013 when 619,284 passengers flew ROA.

Virginia International Trade Events

Virginia has received $255,000 in grant funding to support the Commonwealth's State Trade and Expor t Promotion (STEP) Grant Program. The STEP program, funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, is designed to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting and to raise the value of exports for those small businesses that are currently exporting. This year's grant will be administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership's International Trade Division. 

The State Trade and Export Promotion Grant (STEP) is designed to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting and to increase export sales for those small businesses that are currently exporting. The program is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
By providing export assistance, we help smaller businesses generate new export revenues and create new jobs for Virginia.

  • Funds may be granted for travel to international markets on trade missions, exhibiting at trade shows, or your own company's international sales trips.
  • Reimbursement: 75% of pre-approved airfare and hotel room fees up to $3,000 per company for travel to foreign markets.
  • Proof of performance (booth pictures, meeting schedules, sales meeting reports, etc.) will be required for reimbursement.
  • STEP grants are awarded to eligible small businesses that meet the U.S. SBA's definition of a small business and who self-certify their eligibility.
  • Applications are processed and awarded on a rolling basis until all funds are expended. Approved activities must be completed by September 28, 2018.
For more information, to determine eligibility or to request an application contact:
Roger Porter, International Trade Manager
Virginia Economic Development Partnership
220 Roanoke Boulevard, Salem, Virginia 24153
Tel 540-387-2562; Cell 540-588-6820

Trade Missions and Shows

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.

Eurosatory Show 2018 (Paris)
May 14-18, 2018
June 11-15, 2018
Registration Deadline:  March 14 , 2018
Registration Deadline:  April 13, 2018
Top Opportunities:    Aircraft and Parts, Franchising, Defense, Drugs and Pharmaceuticals, Medical Equipment, Mining, Oil and Gas, and Safety and Security

Roanoke County Business Partners Show on RVTV

On this mont h's show, we attend the rededication of the renovated Dana Science Building at Hollins University to learn how it will improve the science education at the university. We explore an exciting new partnership between Roanoke County and Roanoke College for high school students to participate in a summer innovation and entrepreneurship camp. Finally, we visit Valley Cryotherapy, a new, hi-tech medical therapy business that uses nitrogen to lower skin surface temperature to stimulate natural regulatory functions of the human body.