In late September, the Virginia SBDC Network was awarded 2 of the 7 U.S. Small Business Administration Portable Assistance Grants awarded nationally. These grants support programs that assist small businesses in communities suffering from a major disaster or economic hardship. In the case of Virginia, the assistance will be directed to small businesses impacted by defense contract cutbacks in Northern Virginia and in Hampton Roads.
The first grant will assist federal contractors in Northern Virginia in exporting their services to global markets, including identifying target markets, understanding security regulations and policies, securing financing, etc.
The second grant will establish the Southeastern Virginia Contracting Institute, designed to educate small contractors in new ways to approach, bid, and execute government contractors in the future, and it includes training, one-on-one confidential counseling, and peer mentoring.
These two programs, set to begin in 2014, will support job increases, capital formation, and sales growth, all of which will boost these local Virginia economies.
Jim Carroll, Executive Director of the Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads, said, “This is the second year in a row that the Hampton Roads SBDC has been named a recipient of this highly competitive grant. With this grant, we will establish a pilot program, the Southeastern Virginia Government Contracting Institute, a twelve-week training with group and individual counseling sessions designed to instruct small government contractors on ways to better manage their businesses and become aware of changes in the manner in which the federal government conducts business.”
Carroll added, “Last year’s grant helped establish the Hampton Roads Retail Academy, a highly-successful and acclaimed training and counseling program which was designed to help retailers deal with the consequences from the fallout of the first and future rounds of sequestration.”