In July 2015, the Virginia Community Economic Network (VCEN) became a program affiliate of VT KnowledgeWorks, the entrepreneurship resource center of the VA Tech Corporate Research Center. This unique partnership produced greater stability for VCEN as a nonprofit, fostered the development of new initiatives, and enhanced the brand ID of its programs. Along the way, Virginia Cooperative Extension provided major support for the VCEN-VT KnowledgeWorks partnership, including the usage of its office space at the Virginia Tech Richmond Center.
Today, VCEN's initiatives such as SourceLink Virginia, the LoanSpot microfinance project, its Virginia Microenterprise Roundtables, and its Annual Summit have become value-added resources and events for community, economic, and entrepreneurial development in the Commonwealth.
After 18 months of close collaboration, the relationship between VCEN, VT KnowledgeWorks, and Virginia Cooperative Extension has taken an exciting step forward. Shortly before the recent holiday season, VCEN's board of directors voted to transfer its programs and projects wholly over to Virginia Cooperative Extension. As part of this transition, VCEN’s Executive Director, Conaway Haskins is now on-staff with Virginia Cooperative Extension where he’ll continue to manage SourceLink Virginia and other VCEN initiatives while developing new projects at Virginia Tech out of its Richmond Center campus.
This is a strategic move that preserves VCEN’s founding mission - promoting and advancing innovative, creative and sustainable local entrepreneurship and place-based development strategies - while bolstering the sustainability and scalability of its programs and projects via the unique statewide platform of Virginia Cooperative Extension. It's a win-win outcome for VCEN’s partners and stakeholders.