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Loudoun Economic Development Blog

Information on Loudoun's businesses, both big and small, as well as focused information on the DED's key business sectors and events.

Oct 02

Why Loudoun Is Great for Health I.T. Companies

Posted on October 2, 2015 at 4:26 PM by Amy Mugford

Christy Blake, Business Development Manager

Healthcare is evolving. Doctors now rely more and more on technology to diagnose, treat and interact with patients. New types of medical I.T. companies are springing up, and they’re a perfect fit for Loudoun.

That’s because here in Loudoun County, Virginia we already have a vast concentration of tech workers and ICT companies (information and communications technology). Health I.T. companies looking for talent can tap into Loudoun’s business network and highly skilled tech workforce.

The healthcare space in Loudoun is diverse. We have new startup businesses like PepperPath, which performs human pathology and genetic diagnostics, as well as large companies like K2M, developing devices for the treatment of spinal pathologies. Loudoun is also home to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute – Janelia Farm Research Campus, which conducts neurological research to share with the world. 

Through research, massive amounts of data are being generated, creating the need for tools to translate that data into relevant information for healthcare administration. Loudoun’s mature I.T. and data center sectors can address the growing need in the healthcare and life sciences industries to analyze and process high volumes of data.

From startups to multinational corporations, Loudoun can assist all sizes of health I.T. companies through the free business services we offer. If you’d like to grow your business, and you want to draw from highly skilled I.T. professionals and work near allied businesses that are aggressively innovative, consider locating in Loudoun. I’d love to talk with you about your goals and how we can help you meet them. Please call me at 1-(800)-LOUDOUN or email me today. 

Oct 01

How to Get the Most Out of Business Events

Posted on October 1, 2015 at 8:27 AM by Amy Mugford

JP Events and Consulting.jpg
JP Events & Consulting CEO Tina Johnson

Loudoun has a lot of excellent events where you can meet potential clients, investors and partners. How can you tell which one is worth the time away from your office? When is it a good idea to sponsor or exhibit at the event, and when should you just attend? Here's some good advice from JP Events & Consulting CEO Tina Johnson.  

Tina: as a small business owner myself, as well as an event planner and a consultant, here’s my advice about what to look for in a conference or trade show: relevancy, reputation and reviews.

  • Relevancy – Is the event in your industry? Will there be potential customers there who can buy from you? If yes, you may want to consider exhibiting or sponsoring.
  • Reputation and Reviews – Does the company putting on the event have a good reputation? Has it created top-notch events in the past? Do you know someone who’s worked with them in the past and can give you a review?
If you decide to cosponsor or exhibit at the event, make sure the event planner will be able to properly market it. Look at their social media and past media coverage:
  • Active social media – Facebook and Twitter are a key part of any solid event marketing plan. Check out what they did to promote their last conference. Did they use their networks to add to the conversation, as well as increase the exposure of the event, speakers and attendees?
  • Past media coverage – Was the event planner able to create a “buzz” in the media? If so, offer yourself as a possible interviewee as a way to get some free publicity!

Finally, consider who else is exhibiting and sponsoring. Will your competition be there? Make sure that the event attendees fall into one of your target categories: potential investors, potential clients, or potential partners.

Loudoun: Once a business has decided to sponsor an event, what is one tip on how to maximize that investment? 

Tina: Get involved! Work with the marketing team to provide quotes and freebies, and offer to give interviews to the media. Also:

  •  Make a splash during the event. Have simple, catchy signage and flyers. Offer something tangible for the “swag bags.” Create an incentive for people to come by and visit with you.
  • Prepare – practice your elevator speech!
  • When the event is over, follow up! Grab and keep the attention of the lead!
  • Attend an Event 101 Workshop from JPEvents and Consulting!

: JP Events & Consulting is producing the Virginia Women’s Business Conference on November 20. Which sessions or speakers will be important for a small business owner to attend? 

Tina: There is a specific track for entrepreneurs and business owners titled “Business 101” that would make sense for small business owners to take a look at.

Loudoun: Just for fun, what are some of the most memorable “swag” items you’ve seen from businesses exhibiting at your events?

Tina: Anything truly “tangible” is great! What attendees really want are unique and creative items in their swag bags. Popular items are BPA-free water bottles, universal phone chargers, and product samples. We suggest that companies consider including something related to the event. For example, at Epicurience, SRS provided lanyards with wine glass holders attached so that attendees didn’t have to hold their wine glass all day – very innovative and relevant! 

Sep 25

Helping Loudoun Farmers

Posted on September 25, 2015 at 11:39 AM by Amy Mugford

Cassie Walls, Rural Business Development Assistant

You’ve had a new role added to your other responsibilities. What is it?
I’m very excited to have been named the executive director for the new nonprofit organization called Virginia Agri-Women! We’re holding our kickoff celebration on October 20 in Richmond, and we invite any woman with a passion for agriculture to come to the event and also consider joining our group.
Why did Loudoun Economic Development help start VAW? How will women farmers in Loudoun benefit from this organization? 
Loudoun County has a tremendous number of agricultural businesses that are run by women! It's in Economic Development’s best interest to start a Virginia chapter of American Agri-Women. By partnering with state and national organizations focused on enhancing the rural economy, we’ll make key contacts with others who can help stimulate new growth here in Loudoun. Women in Loudoun who join VAW will be helping promote and educate the public on agriculture throughout the state and nation. VAW members will also have the opportunity to serve on committees at the national level, as well as network with a large community of like-minded women.
What has impressed you about Loudoun farmers? 
Their willingness to help others in the industry. Farmers here want to preserve rural lands and keep the western parts of the county agricultural. They don’t fight with each other over who has a better crop, or act negatively towards another farmer growing the same product. Loudoun farmers are willing to help the up-and-coming farmer. They want to give advice to others and keep the industry thriving.
What’s your farming background? 
I was born and raised on a small farm in West Virginia. My entire family has been farming for many years, raising dairy and beef cattle, and sheep, goats and chickens. I studied Animal and Nutritional Science at West Virginia University, and was a farmhand on the university’s livestock farm. I was also the teacher’s assistant to a lambing management class. I’ve raised sheep, hogs, horses and calves for most of my life, and have worked closely with many farmers in my area. I’m in the process of starting a small farm of my own.
If someone wants to start or grow a farm-related business in Loudoun, what should that person do?
He or she should call our Agricultural Development Officer, Kellie Boles, at 703-777-0426. She can help with:
  • Navigating the zoning and permitting process; 
  • Getting technical assistance from the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office; 
  • Farm business planning. 

Here’s more about how we can help you.