Purpose

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:

  1. Virginia urgently needs strong private-sector growth.
    Federal cutbacks have exposed our over-dependence on public-sector jobs. Virginia needs strong private-sector growth and job creation.

  2. Growth in Virginia’s diverse regions requires collaboration.
    To grow and diversify our economy, business, education, and government must collaborate effectively in each region.

  3. State government must be a catalyst and partner.
    State government must provide incentives for strategic, job-focused collaboration in each region of the Commonwealth.

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 morgan@gwregion.org.

Funding

GO Virginia is funded by the State through the General Assembly.

GO Virginia has three funding streams.

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. Statewide Competitive Funds: These funds are for multi-region projects. These funds are separate from the regional allocation and is 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.