$65,000 award given to help build business in Bedford

The grant will multiply business development training and resources

(WSLS 10)

Bedford, Va. – If you have a great business idea, now is your chance to get funding and become your own boss. Applications are now open for the 8th annual Gauntlet Business Program and Competition.

New this year: a grant program to help more entrepreneurs in Bedford.

This comes after the Town of Bedford was selected to receive $65,000 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 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 more than 650 entrepreneurs, developed a mentor network of 250 professionals and awarded more than $7 million in resources including grants, cash and in-kind prizes.

“Small business is the backbone of community vitality,” said President of the Advancement Foundation, Annette Patterson. “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.”

She went on to add, “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.”

The Town of Bedford aims to diversify its retail business mix with a focus on main street manufacturing that will attract retail shoppers seeking a product development experience and destination businesses such as a cidery, outfitter and unique products, and will foster a livable downtown through mixed-use property development.

At the completion of the 2022 CBL program, the Gauntlet Business Program and Competition in Bedford will create or expand three businesses and create at least five jobs.

“This targeted grant within the Town will help us move forward with developing the kinds of businesses that will make Bedford an even more attractive destination,” Mary Zirkle, Town of Bedford Director of Planning and Community Development, said. “Small business start-ups and scale-ups are the backbone of our economy. Empowering this sector is very meaningful to help owners realize their dream and potential of starting or growing a business. We welcome everyone with a business dream to join the program.”

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, The Town of Vinton and several more areas. The GAUNTLET includes business training, mentorship, scaling strategies and other services. Participants are able to compete for $75,000 in cash prizes focused on the Uptown business district.

10 News is a proud sponsor again this year.

Virtual classes will be held every Tuesday starting Feb. 1 from 6 - 7:30 pm.

The Gauntlet application is now open and available online. To access the online application, FAQ, and schedule, click here.

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