EDA Awards $300K to Support Central Virginia Founders and Investors
Contact: Alex Andrew, firstname.lastname@example.org
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced on October 5th the award of a $299,871 grant to Venture Central, a nonprofit dedicated to serving the entrepreneurial community in Central Virginia, as part of the 2022 “Build to Scale” program. The funds will be used to support the new Diversify-Connect-Fund project, which will launch in Spring 2023.
The Diversify-Connect-Fund (DCF) project will engage participants interested in angel investing, connect local startups to funders outside the region, and structure a fund. Improving outcomes for underrepresented investors and startup founders will be a focus of the project. By creating access to networks that have traditionally been difficult or impossible for outsiders to navigate, this program will have an outsized impact and lead to more equitable economic development.
“This program represents a huge win for Central Virginia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Venture Central Board Chair and Relish CEO Sarah Rumbaugh, “It is a solid representation of Venture Central’s mission of serving and strengthening our entrepreneurial community by
building and bridging connections, programs, funding, and spaces.”
The program is possible due to in-kind support from several key organizations in the local ecosystem:
- Central Virginia Small Business Development Center
- Ritter Law PLLC
- QDS Capital
- UVA Licensing and Venture Group Seed Fund
Individuals interested in getting involved in the DCF project should reach out to Venture Central at email@example.com and monitor Venture Central’s website for more information.
EDA Award Page for Venture Central: https://eda.gov/oie/buildtoscale/capital/2022/Venture-Central.htm
The Diversify-Connect-Fund (DCF) project will bolster the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Greater Charlottesville. While the region has significant strengths, two significant barriers stand in the way of a vibrant regional economy: 1) inclusive participation in the startup ecosystem and 2) funding to support companies as they begin to scale.
The DCF project will systematically address these issues by engaging participants interested in angel investing, connecting startups to funders outside the region, and structuring a fund. Improving outcomes for underrepresented investors and startup founders will be a focus of this project. Creating access to networks that have traditionally been difficult or impossible for outsiders to navigate will have an outsized impact and lead to more equitable economic development.
The DCF project has three phases: 1) creation of an “angel academy” program to train investors and diversify investment networks; 2) a “capital connection” framework to link local startups to funders; and 3) an assessment of the best fund structure to sustain investments in
Charlottesville’s growing technology sector. These efforts will lead to a greater number of local investors, over $40 million in additional funding for local startups, and lay the foundation for a sustainable long-term solution. By bringing more players to the table, particularly those with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, this project aims to strengthen the entire ecosystem and promote the long-term success of regional innovation in Central Virginia.
Venture Central was established in 2021 as a joint initiative of the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, the University of Virginia, and the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce.