From Inside Business
Four entrepreneurs were recently awarded a total of $45,000 in cash grants to boost their businesses in Suffolk.
The winners of Suffolk’s first Community Business Launch “Pitch Night” were selected on Jan. 15.
David Stacknick of Brick and Mortar Brewing Company and Ed Beardsley of SPARC Shoppe each received $15,000; Anticia Macalou of Groundworks Bar and Bistro received $10,000; and Syreeta Wood of Elizabeth and Maude Boutique received $5,000.
Stacknick plans to use the grant money to expand his business, located at 212 E. Washington St., with the construction of an outdoor bar.
Beardsley will use his winnings to renovate the SPARC Shoppe facility at 126 N. Main St. which opened in July 2018. The retail venue has art work from as many as 30 artists available for sale.
Macalou will invest her award to help open a bar and bistro at 153 W. Washington St. that will feature coffee, espresso drinks, cold brews, cocktails and comfort foods.
And Wood plans to open a women’s ready-to-wear apparel, accessories and gift boutique at 150 W. Washington St.
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development awarded the grant.
Gregory Byrd, Suffolk’s assistant director of economic development, said one of the goals established by Suffolk City Council is to expand its economic development.
The business launch initiative “assists with the execution of this strategy by attracting new businesses, jobs and promoting entrepreneurship within Suffolk’s downtown,” Byrd said.
He added that the city pursues and supports initiatives “that add new businesses and provide jobs for a skilled and diverse workforce, retain and enhance existing businesses, promote entrepreneurship, create a vibrant downtown and build an economy that expands the tax base,” Byrd said.
Participants were required to complete a mandatory seven week education series. Forty four people started the program; 20 finished the course.
Jim Carroll, vice president and director of Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center, conducted five of the workshops including simple steps for starting a business, personal and business finances, financing and credit, business plan basics and practices. Marc Willson, of the Willson Company, schooled the participants on sales and marketing techniques.
From there, nine people submitted business plans to participate in the pitch competition. Then five finalists with new or expanding businesses received five minutes each to present their business ideas before a panel of judges at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.
From Inside Business
By Sandra Pennecke
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