VINTON, Va. – Entering Week 2 of the 10-week program, 140 local entrepreneurs have now joined the Gauntlet Business Program and competition.
More than 100 people representing about 90 local businesses showed up for the first night of the Gauntlet, and the number of participants ready to take on the program continues to climb.
Dozens signed up after week one and will be able to catch up on the virtual program now beginning week 2.
Now in its eigth year, the Gauntlet Business Program has helped more than 650 local businesses get started and staff are excited to help this new class.
Thanks to new grant funding available in uptown Martinsville, Kelly Turner, director of regional revitalization and resources with the Advancement Foundation, said they received a record number of participants from Martinsville this year.
Last year’s winner, Beaver Dam Farm Sunflowers in Botetourt County, has also sparked a high applicant pool from the area.
Over the 10-week course, entrepreneurs will learn skills in order to create a business plan. Annette Patterson, president of the Advancement Foundation, said it’s crucial for all business owners to have a written business plan in order to map out their idea, understand what works, what doesn’t and truly grasp if their business is fiscally sound.
“A business plan is a living, breathing document. It’s going to change and grow every day, but it’s a great place to start,” Patterson said. “It forces you to get your head around what you are doing.”
Patterson said to make more entrepreneurs’ dreams come true the Advancement Foundation has kept their classes virtual.
“Now we can connect entrepreneurs from across the region with like businesses. We can connect mentors from across the region,” Patterson said. “So a mentor from Roanoke can talk to someone in Rockbridge and vice versa. So it’s amazing.”
Participants will be broken off into groups during Tuesday night’s class to meet with advisors, give their business elevator pitches and review their business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Classes are every Tuesday online.
The Advancement Foundation is looking for business professionals who may be able to volunteer at least an hour of their time, monetary and in-kind donations to be awarded to deserving participants.
10 News is a proud media sponsor of the Gauntlet.