In 2016, the board certified nine distinct GO Virginia regions across the commonwealth. These regions consist of nine to 18 localities that share similar economic development and workforce needs. Each region is overseen by a regional council, developed organically from regional business leadership, economic development and workforce professionals, educators and local government officials.
Regional councils are responsible for identifying economic opportunities, needs and challenges, and establishing priorities among those opportunities that can be addressed through regional collaboration. Regional opportunities and priorities are laid out in an economic growth and diversification plan. Regional councils are also responsible for soliciting, reviewing and recommending regional projects to the board for funding that align with these priorities.
Each regional council is assisted by a support organization that is responsible for regional program operations, including serving as the fiduciary for all GO Virginia funding in the region. To contact the support organization, please email Jennifer Morgan at email@example.com.
The purpose of GO Virginia is to “create more higher-paying jobs through incentivized collaboration, primarily through out-of-state revenue, which diversifies and strengthens the economy in every region.” The initiative is based on three main points:
Federal cutbacks have exposed our over-dependence on public-sector jobs. Virginia needs strong private-sector growth and job creation.
To grow and diversify our economy, business, education, and government must collaborate effectively in each region.
The state government must provide incentives for strategic, job-focused collaboration in each region of the Commonwealth.
GO Virginia is funded by the State through the General Assembly. GO Virginia has three funding categories in which Councils may use to fund projects.
Capacity Building Funds
Each Fiscal Year support organizations receive $250,000 to support project pipeline development efforts, fund staff, and other activities related to running the regional council.
Per Capita Funds
These funds are used to fund projects. Each year Region 6 receives about $1 million in project funds that is used over the course of the fiscal year to fund projects. Applicants can ask for any amount of money up to $1 million, however, the region may not currently have those funds on hand, depending on when the project is approved. The Council has the ability to determine if the funding amount an applicant is asking for is acceptable or not and may reduce the amount approved towards a project. There are two types of projects that can be funded through this allocation:
Enhanced Capacity Building: These grants are planning grants i.e. Feasibility Studies, Pre-Development Activities, Plans, and Capacity Building Activities. Region 6 is only allowed to fund $250,000 of their $1 million allocation towards these types of grants.
Implementation: These grants implement projects that produce outcomes and a ROI. Applicants may ask up to $1 million for these types of projects, depending on fund availability.
Statewide Competitive Funds
These funds are for multi-region projects. These funds are separate from the regional allocation and are up to the discretion of the State Board to approve.
Growth and Diversification Plan
This is each Region’s guiding document. Every two years the GO Virginia State Board requires regions to update their regional Growth and Diversification Plan. This plan outlines a series of investment strategies to accelerate the creation of higher paying jobs in priority industry clusters. The 2019 update can be found here.