The International Economic Development Council gave the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development excellence awards for three of the department’s economic development programs: the Community Business Launch, Industrial Revitalization Fund and Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia).
“Virginia’s IEDC awards are well-deserved recognition for the ongoing and innovative programs that are supporting our economic development efforts across Virginia,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a release.
Youngkin’s office regularly highlights grants and other economic development projects across Virginia.
“The three awarded initiatives are a testament to our economic development work and exemplify my administration’s Day One promise to revitalize the Virginia economy so that it works for all Virginians,” he said.
On Friday, Youngkin’s office also announced $180,000 in funding from the Community Business Launch program for economic development projects in Lynchburg, Waynesboro, and Nelson County.
The Community Business Launch program received the Gold Award for entrepreneurship from the IEDC. The program is focused on selecting, training, and funding entrepreneurs to then fill vacant storefronts, according to its website. Since 2015, it has created or expanded about 158 businesses in 33 communities and created over 345 jobs, according to the governor’s release.
GO Virginia won the Gold Award in the Regionalism and Cross-Border Collaboration category. GO Virginia divides the Commonwealth into nine economic regions and funds programs submitted by regional councils. The GO Virginia Board includes legislators, cabinet members, and representatives from the private sector. Youngkin’s release says the program is focused on long-term strategies to make the regions more competitive through investment in workforce development, infrastructure and sites development, start-ups, and cluster scaling activities.
The Industrial Revitalization Fund won the Bronze Award in Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse. According to its site, the program uses local and private resources to revive blighted commercial and industrial properties. It’s also used some funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.
“Having strong regional economies and supportive, place-specific investments are the fulcrum upon which thriving communities rest, and these programs offer crucial support to achieve the Commonwealth’s economic development goals,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick said. “These awarded programs have helped bolster local economies, while offering targeted support for community-identified needs, and we are immensely proud of these prestigious honors.”
Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. This article originally appeared in The Virginia Star. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Republican Standard. Republished with permission.