FREDERICKSBURG, VA – The GO Virginia Region 6 Council and GO Virginia State Board reviewed and awarded Stafford County $215,000 in GO Virginia funding to expand entrepreneurial programs in the Rappahannock Region.
Stafford County Economic Development Authority (EDA), in partnership with King George County and the City of Fredericksburg, will work with the Center for Innovative Technology to expand entrepreneurial programs in the Rappahannock Region. Programs will also support the technology-based Virginia Smart Community Testbed in Stafford and provide entrepreneurs with access to the first Virginia Regional Internet of Things (RIoT) Accelerator Program (VA-RAP) and additional community-focused programming.
GO Virginia is a statewide economic development initiative that provides project-based funds to encourage collaboration among private industry, higher education, and government partners to create higher-paying jobs.
GO Virginia funds will be used to seed fund a Technology Specialist for the Testbed. The Specialist will coordinate entrepreneurial opportunities in the Testbed and seed funds to foster pilot projects for entrepreneurs.
In May, Stafford County announced the launch of their Virginia Smart Community Testbed (Testbed). The Testbed is a “shared knowledge platform” to develop practical and relevant smart technology solutions.
Together with the local RIoT VA-RAP Lead, they will play an integral part in the project. The VA-RAP Lead works with entrepreneurs around their entire business, including revenue, hiring, and capital growth while the Tech Specialist advises on the technology side and integrating entrepreneurs into pilot projects or with other tech companies connected to the Testbed.
Over the course of the two-year project, 36 startup companies will be served through accelerator services, 72 jobs will be created or retained, and three (3) products or services will be either market-ready or in production within three (3) years.
Stafford EDA previously received $75,000 from GO Virginia Region 6 to determine the market demand for a regional accelerator. The study was completed in June 2021 and found that there was a high demand for assisting companies to scale and grow.
John Holden, Economic Development and Tourism Director for Stafford County, explained that the grant will help continue and expand programs that were started last year with RIoT, a non-profit economic development organization expanding its programs to Stafford, Fredericksburg, King George, and the entire Go Virginia Region 6. The funded project will include the development of RIoT’s entrepreneur “accelerator” program housed in the newly established Virginia Smart Community Testbed.
Tom Snyder, RIoT’s Executive Director, added that “the ‘data economy’ and technology cuts across all business sectors. Our mission is to work with communities, business leaders, and entrepreneurs to help them expand their enterprises and create jobs.”
“This project is a great opportunity for the Rappahannock Region and all of Region 6 to establish early-stage companies focusing on high tech industries. The partnerships created in this project will enhance the region’s ability to grow companies,” said William Beale, Chairman of the Region 6 Council.
This project was approved by the GO Virginia State Board in June 2021 conditional on the completion of the Fredericksburg Region Cyber and Smart Tech Entrepreneurial Development Program study. The Region 6 Council reviewed and approved this study at their July meeting, voting to release the funds.
About the GO Virginia coalition: The coalition is comprised of business and community leaders, partners in education and government, and interested Virginians from across the Commonwealth who support regional cooperation on private-sector growth, job creation, and career readiness. Learn more at www.govirginia6.org.