Martinsville – If you have a great business idea, now is your chance to get funding and become your own boss. Applications are open for the 8th annual Gauntlet Business Program and Competition.
New this year, a matching grant program to help more entrepreneurs in Uptown Martinsville.
Uptown Partnership with match funding from the city of Martinsville was selected to receive $90,000 through the governor’s community business launch grant. The grant was awarded through a highly competitive process across the state of Virginia. The Advancement Foundation said the $90,000 grant will multiply business development training and resources to enable new or existing businesses to accelerate growth and success through The Gauntlet Business Program and Competition
Now in its 8th year, The Gauntlet is Virginia’s largest business program and competition. The Gauntlet has served over 650 entrepreneurs, developed a mentor network of 250 professionals and awarded over $7 million in resources including grants, cash, and in-kind prizes.
“Small business is the backbone of community vitality,” said Annette Patterson, President of the Advancement Foundation. “Together, community leaders, resource agencies, and entrepreneurs across the region are joining forces to engage local assets that will provide support for innovation and business development. We are accelerating business success by shortening the learning curve for business owners, connecting entrepreneurs to knowledgeable business strategists, and providing needed resources to implement innovative strategies for growth. The Gauntlet is the platform by which we can bring all the pieces of the puzzle together quickly while building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. This program and competition are more important now than ever.”
Uptown Partnership in collaboration with the City of Martinsville aims to diversify its retail business mix with a focus on Main Street small-scale manufacturing and businesses that fit within its Main Street Transformational Strategies of “Handmade, Craft-made, Artisan,” and “Uptown Living”.
The Martinsville Uptown Gauntlet Community Business Launch Program will attract shoppers seeking a product development “experience” and destination retailers including local artisans; and will foster a livable Uptown through mixed-use property development. At completion of the 2022 CBL program, The Gauntlet Business Program and Competition in Martinsville will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.
Uptown Partnership leaders said they are excited to add The Gauntlet Business Program and Competition to the existing Startup and Grow business launch and expansion programs being offered to entrepreneurs in the Martinsville-Henry County area through collaboration between Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce/C-PEG and Patrick and Henry Community College.
“To be able to provide an additional resource to entrepreneurs wanting to start a business in the Uptown Martinsville business district feels like a win/win for our community and the entrepreneurs whose innovation and commitment make Uptown so special,” said Uptown Partnership’s Executive Director, Kathy Deacon. “We are looking forward to working with The Advancement Foundation, The Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce/C-PEG, and many other stakeholders to ensure that both programs are successful.”
The Gauntlet program and competition invites entrepreneurs wanting to start or expand their business in the Uptown business district in the City of Martinsville to register for the highly targeted effort. Other regional partners that are Gauntlet participants include the Alleghany Highlands including Covington and Clifton Forge, Botetourt County, Troutville, Fincastle, Buchanan, Rockbridge County, Lexington, Glasgow, Buena Vista, Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Bedford County, Town of Bedford, Big Island, Smith Mountain Lake, Forest, Floyd County, Roanoke County, and The Town of Vinton and beyond. The GAUNTLET includes business training, mentorship, scaling strategies, and much more! Participants are able to compete for $75,000 in cash prizes focused on the Uptown business district.
10 News is proud sponsor again this year.
Virtual classes will be held every Tuesday starting February 1, 2022, from 6:00 - 7:30 pm.
The Gauntlet application is now open and available online. To access the online application, FAQ, and schedule, click here.