Business Partners Newsletter
October 2018: Volume 19, No. 10
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 .

Roanoke County Loses a Loyal and Respected Leader

Billy Branch, long time Economic Development Authority Member and Chairman passes awa

The staff of the Roanoke County Economic Development Department and Members of the Economic Development Authority honor the memory of our colleague and friend, Billy Hugh Branch, who passed away on September 16, 2018.

Billy was appointed to the Authority in 1977 and served with distinction, loyalty, and expertise for 40 years in

Billy Hugh Branch

 Photo courtesy of the Branch family

which 20 of those years he served as Chairman.

His experience and expertise in the purchasing, leasing and building of commercial property along with his communication skills and immense network of contacts were invaluable to Roanoke County.

Billy played a major role in the development of the County by promoting and offering his expertise to the Authority in business attraction, retention, and expansion, as well as his contribution of knowledge in site development.
Billy was a great leader, distinguished businessman, and friend. All those who knew Billy or had the pleasure of working with him will miss him greatly, but their memories of him will always bring a smile.

You can read more about Billy and his generosity in the community and his commitment to his employees in a Roanoke Times article about Bill's passing.
See Billy's obituary here

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. 

Tourism Revenues in Virginia's Blue Ridge Reached $850 Million

According to the U.S. Travel Association, tourism in Virginia's Blue Ridge generated $850 million in direct travel expenditures in 2017 an increase of 4.5% over the previous year.  Tourism also supported 7,945 jobs in the region and $28 million in local taxes. The increase is largely attributed to product development, including: new hotels, restaurants, enhanced transportation options, craft beverages, sports, outdoor recreation, festivals and events, the diversity of arts and culture, wedding venues, meeting and conference venues, attractions and so much more. Virginia's Blue Ridge continues to thrive as a mountain vacation destination.

Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge, along with the support of over 1,400 industry partners and the investment provided by the Cities of Roanoke and Salem and the Counties of Roanoke, Franklin, and Botetourt, was able to achieve the 8th consecutive year of RECORD growth. "Regional collaboration has been the key to our success. Tourism is BIG business and notably an economic driver for our region," said Landon Howard, President of Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge.  
Passenger Traffic Takes Off at Roanoke - Blacksburg Regional Airport
ROA on Pace for Busiest Year Since 2007              

August traffic was up 5.1% year over year at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport as
2018 continues trend of strong traffic growth.
The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport continues to see 2018 traffic increase with August traffic up 5.1% on a year over year basis.
Strong community support, an improved regional economy, lower airfare and improved airline operational reliability have all played roles in the continuation of sustained passenger growth, which began in September of 2016. August 2018 saw 5.1% passenger growth over August 2017. Year to date 2018 traffic is up 7.3% versus 2017, which equates to 29,631 more passengers. At this pace the airport is on track to have its busiest year since 2007.
"We are pleased to see this positive trend continue through the summer of 2018, especially given our strong traffic numbers in 2016 and 2017," 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 customers are using our existing air service and the carriers have taken note. We appreciate the support of our community choosing to fly ROA. Between our traffic growth and Small Community Air Service grant we are hopeful of obtaining additional air service".
Photo courtesy of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport
Brambleton Area Business Association Christmas Parade 

The Brambleton Area Business Association Annual Christmas Parade is fast approaching.
Parade applications for participation and sponsorships may be found at 
Parade Details:
9:00 am
Saturday, December 1
Details for viewing will be in upcoming newsletters.

Mark your calendars and get ready to join in by participating in the parade, sponsoring the parade, or just come and enjoy all the fun.

Events and Workshops: Business Tools for Growth

A Demo Day and Reception will be hosted by the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Acceleration and Mentoring Program (RAMP). This event is designed to showcase the 2018 RAMP program cohort companies.

Monday, October 3, 2018

2:30 pm Registration Opens
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm Demo Day
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Reception

Virginia Western Community College - Whitman Theater
3095 Colonial Ave. SW
Roanoke, VA 24015

RAMP's mission is to propel high-potential startups to expand and create jobs in the STEM-H (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Health) fields.

Founding partners in the initiative include the City of Roanoke, the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, and Virginia Western Community College.

The program is housed in the recently renovated Gill Memorial Building, 709 S. Jefferson St., along the downtown Roanoke Innovation Corridor.


Center for Innovative Technology offers opportunity for businesses

and entrepreneurs to learn about funding resources.    



  Register at

or email Carla Jackson a t

Reserve your spot by sending an email to: mpfrankl@vt.rdu

 Business Smart Start
October 9
Tech on Tap: Deschustes Brewery
October 11

Fall Gala
November 7

Pitch and Polish
November 14

Linux Users Group
November 18

The Business of Brewing
January 28- February 1, 2019

Implementing LEAN

February 26 -28 2019
Other Happenings

2018 Catawba Valley Holiday Market will be November 17, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Vendor Applications are due October 10
Get more details and Vendor Application Here

October Events at the Market
October 4
Sabrina East with Alliance Human Services will provide information on foster child placement
October 18
Woodsong of Salem will provide traditional, seasonal & folk music.
Jim Robinson plays the hammer dulcimer and Sharon
Conlyn plays both guitar and banjo.
For more information on Woodsong Visit:

Check out the new website for updates on what is happening at the Market!

You can participate in down and dirty
preservation event for the American Chestnut!
Chestnut Breeding Orchard Planting
VT Catawba Sustainability Center, Catawba, VA

October 20, 9:00 am till early afternoon

The Catawba Sustainability Center has 200 locally adapted B3 (4thgeneration) seedlings to plant along with controls at the Catawba Orchard. 
This is their down and dirty event! Participants should dress appropriately for the weather, bring gloves and kneepads, and favorite shovel. 

They will have some extra shovels, coffee, water and snacks.
This planting will go far towards filling the Catawba Orchard. These trees will be tested with blight fungus in a few years and only those showing the strongest resistant will be kept. The seeds from those retained will be used to plant a seed orchard which will produce the B3F3 trees for forest plantings.
Expect planting to be done by lunch or at least early afternoon. It is dependent on the number of volunteers present to carefully plant these little trees.

Cultivating Mushrooms

October 27th Time TBA
Join Mark Jones, mushroom expert and owner of Sharondale Mushroom Farm as he explains how to cultivate edible mushroom varieties such as shitake, oyster, lion mane, and more.
Please contact Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center Manager, Adam Taylor:  

Workforce Development
To learn how to bring this program to your workplace contact Lesa Hanlin:
Virginia International Trade Events


Don't miss the 70th Virginia Conference on World Trade. Meet, develop and cultivate international partnerships with a network from around the world.  This is a must-attend event for Virginia business leaders interested in developing and cultivating international partnerships.

Need advice on trading with Mexico?

Free one-on-one consulatations will be offered in Salem, VA on Thursday, October 4 with Mary Claire Whitaker, Consultora Principal, Neighbors International Business Development Group will be in Salem, VA 

To set up your appointment, contact:

Roger Porter
International Trade Manager, International Trade
Virginia Economic Development Partnership
540 387 2562

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)

Arab Health Trade Show (UAE)
January 28 - 31, 2019
Registration Deadline: November 30, 2018
 Learn More

Mobile World Congress (Spain)
Trade Mission to the United Arab Emirates
February 24-28, 2019 February 24 - 28, 2019
Registration Deadline:  December 28, 2018
Registration Deadline:   December 28,  2018
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 County Business Partners Show on RVTV

Welcome to Roanoke County Business Partners. On today's show, we learn about a Couture Unicorn, which is a mobile boutique specializing in women's fashions and a 2018 Gauntlet. Next, we talk with Keith Hartman, Director of the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center to learn about the various business assistance programs available in the Roanoke Region. Then, we learn how Glenvar High School students are making and marketing G-BEES 100% natural products from the student garden and bee hives.