The 10th annual Loudoun Small Business Week will take place the week of May 3-7, 2021, in celebration of the resiliency and innovation that brought businesses through the last year. The week’s programming and support is provided by Loudoun Economic Development and the Board of Supervisors.
Those activities include:
- A kickoff of the Economic Development Authority’s Loudoun Innovation Challenge grant program application period;
- An official Loudoun Small Business Week resolution, to be considered by the Board of Supervisors at their May 4th business meeting, and bestowed upon the entrepreneurs from Frontier Kitchen;
- Supervisor visits to 14 of Loudoun’s Business Interruption Fund recipients;
- Virtual networking opportunities with the Loudoun County Cybersecurity Professionals;
- Unveiling an optimized LoudounSmallBiz.org, with improved resources, interface and function;
- Storytelling spotlights on Loudoun’s members from the FireUp Business Mentoring cohort.
“Every part of Loudoun Small Business Week 2021 is intentional, highlighting the many successes of the community and the range of ways we help businesses every day,” Loudoun Small Business and Entrepreneurship Manager Danelle Hayer explained. “The stories that we get to tell over the course of this week are chosen to help inspire the next generation of transformational innovators in Loudoun County.”
Businesses with fewer than 20 employees comprise 86% of all businesses in Loudoun and provide more than half of all employment opportunities in the county.
Early COVID-19 projections in 2020 suggested that nearly 40% of all Loudoun businesses could have been lost. That outcome was prevented, thanks to the response of the Loudoun community to support businesses in their time of greatest need.
“These businesses are the backbone of our local economy and were the most vulnerable during COVID-19. Thanks to a supportive community, dedicated funding from the Board of Supervisors, and a willingness to adapt to the moment, small businesses will also lead the way in Loudoun’s economic recovery,” Loudoun Economic Development’s Buddy Rizer said. “Loudoun Small Business Week is always a time for celebration, but this year seems especially meaningful. Please join us in shopping local whenever possible and supporting #LoudounPossible businesses and jobs.”
Here is additional information on some of the key programming of the week:
Loudoun Innovation Challenge: Opens Monday at Noon
Small businesses located in or planning relocation to Loudoun County are encouraged to apply for the Economic Development Authority’s second annual Innovation Challenge. This year’s contest opens for applications at noon on May 3 and closes two weeks later at noon on May 17.
In recognition of last year’s interest and application volume, the EDA elected to add more categories this year, awarding grants for best overall innovation, and runner up awards for tech ventures, commercial ventures, launch focus, smart county focus, and the people’s choice awards.
Last year’s 71 applicants resulted in 22 business expansions, creating 169 jobs and investing $14.8 million into Loudoun’s economy.
“If you have an innovative Loudoun business, we strongly encourage you to apply over the next two weeks. This is capital that can be invested in growing your space, workforce, product or service offering and is just part of the Loudoun EDA’s commitment to entrepreneurship,” Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer said. “If you know any business that would benefit from $10,000 to $40,000, please encourage them to apply today.”
Eligibility requirements and application information can be found at LoudounInnovationChallenge.com.
Supervisors to Visit Small Businesses
Members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors will join Economic Development staff and town officials to make in-person visits to 14 businesses across the county, in a manner that complies with all CDC and Virginia Department of Health guidelines.
These visits are distributed across Loudoun’s nine electoral districts and feature businesses that received the county’s Business Interruption Fund COVID-19 relief grants. It is also an inclusive representation of Loudoun’s economy, with a large number of minority, women and veteran-owned businesses.
These visits have become an annual tradition and give the businesses direct access to their elected officials, with a chance for touring and idea exchange.
This year, each visit will also showcase how businesses were able to use local COVID-19 support and resources to survive and grow. These visits will be commemorated with plaques and pictures will be shared across the Loudoun Economic Development social media channels.
Improved Resources on LoudounSmallBiz.org
Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs are encouraged to visit LoudounSmallBiz.org for recent updates to Loudoun’s business resources, guides and networking opportunities. Visitors can expect to find:
- A list of current and ongoing funding and financial opportunities;
- An interactive map of Loudoun’s 14 coworking, incubator and accelerator spaces;
- A community of more than 80 business ecosystem partners;
- Startup guides, upcoming events, inspirational stories and more.
Throughout the week, Loudoun Economic Development will be showcasing success stories from the 2021 FireUp Business Mentoring and Coaching Program, which as designed to give business training, resource and networking assistance to businesses in the region.
Learn more about the week and starting your business at LoudounSmallBiz.org.