Governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced that 12 Virginia companies have been chosen as the first participants in the new Virginia Economic Gardening Pilot Program (VEGPP). Administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), VEGPP addresses strategic growth challenges for high-potential companies across the Commonwealth. These second-stage businesses are growth-oriented and have exited the startup phase by demonstrating either a sizable increase in revenue or employment.
By employing the Economic Gardening model – championed by the Michigan-based Edward Lowe Foundation – the VEGPP aims to enable these high-growth companies to achieve the next level of success by addressing strategic growth issues, such as identifying new markets and industry trends, refining business models, raising online visibility, and offering access to competitive intelligence.
The 12 VEGPP companies are: Blue Mountain Brewery, Inc. (Nelson County); Blue Ridge Optics, L.L.C. (Bedford County); C2 Management (Clarke County); Clarke Precision Machine, Inc. (Town of Wytheville); Fulcrum Concepts LLC (King and Queen County); Hepburn and Sons LLC (City of Manassas); Risk and Strategic Management, Corp (City of Manassas); R&K Cyber Solutions LLC (City of Manassas); Salatin & Cloud, L.C. (City of Harrisonburg); VistaShare, LLC (City of Harrisonburg); SanAir Technologies Laboratory, Inc. (Powhatan County); and Solid Stone Fabrics, Inc. (City of Martinsville).
VEDP is managing this initiative and has partnered with the National Center for Economic Gardening – a signature program of the Lowe Foundation - to establish a statewide network to provide each selected company with virtual access to its own team of highly skilled research specialists. The team will devote approximately 36 hours to each company and quickly deliver actionable information over the course of a few weeks.
To be eligible for the VEGPP, companies who applied had to meet the following criteria:
· Represent a for-profit, privately held company that has been in business for at least five years and maintained its principal place of business in Virginia for at least two years
· Generate annual revenue between $1 million and $50 million
· Employ between 10 and 99 full-time-equivalent employees
· Demonstrate growth in employment and/or revenue during two of the past five years
· Provide products or services beyond the local area to regional, national, or global markets
· Referred by a participating economic development organization
VEDP will follow up with each company upon completion of the six-to-eight-week pilot program to determine VEGPP’s overall effectiveness in addressing the business issues identified in the companies’ applications. The agency will also monitor the firms’ revenue and employment increases over the next three years to determine the long-term effectiveness of the Economic Gardening model on high-growth businesses.