Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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South Boston bootcamp for new businesses accepting applications

Applications are now open for the Winter 2023 CO.STARTERS Core Business Bootcamp sponored by the RISE Collective in South Boston.

This program is designed for founders/owners of new businesses (0-3 years old) in Southern Virginia. Freelancers, side hustlers, small business owners, new entrepreneurs, and serial entrepreneurs are all welcome.

DATES: The cohort begins on Tuesday, January 10, 2023 and ends on Tuesday, February 28, 2023.  

FORMAT:  Online training sessions will take place on 8 consecutive Tuesday’s from 6pm-9pm on Zoom. Participants should expect to dedicate 6-10 hours/week to the program, including the online sessions, customer interviews., and at least two (2) one-on-one counseling session with a Longwood SBDC consultant. Participants are also welcomed and encouraged to participate in RISE Collaborative meetups and office hours before/during/after the program.

RISE Collaborative will host a business pitch competition in March 2023, which will require participants to have completed a CO.STARTERS Bootcamp.

COST: This program is offered at no cost as a benefit to our region’s entrepreneurs. It is coordinated by the SOVA Innovation Hub and Longwood SBDC with funding and support from GO Virginia Region 3, Benchmark Community Bank, and many other entrepreneurial ecosystem partners (

QUESTIONS? Contact the SOVA Innovation Hub at or David Hennessey at

READY TO APPLY? We’re excited to walk alongside you in your entrepreneurship journey. Please submit your application by the deadline of December 13, 2022. Apply today at

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David Webb. Courtesy of RSO.

Webb named to lead Roanoke Youth Symphony Orchestra

Roanoke Symphony Orchestra has named David Webb as Music Director and Conductor of the Roanoke Youth Symphony Orchestra. 

He will lead the RYSO rehearsal and  concert activities and is is also charged with building the youth orchestra activities as part of the larger  education programs of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra.

Webb has served as Director of Bands at Jefferson Forest High School in Forest since 1998. Under  Mr. Webb’s direction, the Jefferson Forest High School Bands have been recognized for  outstanding performance in all areas, including consistent “Superior” ratings earned by the concert  and marching bands, and recognition as a Virginia Honor Band & VA Music Educators Association  “Blue Ribbon School”. The award-winning Cavalier Marching Band has received numerous awards  at festivals and competitions throughout the eastern United States, traveled and performed  internationally many times, and the Jefferson Forest Wind Symphony has performed feature  concerts at the Virginia Music Educators Association Conference and at the Music For All National  Festival in Indianapolis. Webb has served as a clinician and adjudicator for ensembles in Virginia,  North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and England. Webb was awarded the Bedford County Public  Schools and Commonwealth of Virginia Region 5 “Teacher of the Year” and a Legion of Honor  Laureate by the John Philip Sousa Foundation in 2013. Webb is a graduate of the University of  Tennessee.  

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Rebecca Bevins with horses. Courtesy of VCEDA.

VCEDA awards grant to Big Stone Gap therapy clinic that uses horses

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority has approved a $10,000 matching seed capital grant for a Big Stone Gap outpatient therapy clinic that incorporates the use of hippotherapy – the use of a horse and the specific movements of the horse — as a therapeutic or rehabilitative treatment.

“One Step At A Time is perhaps one of the most unique seed capital applicants we have worked with,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “This is the first time we have worked with a clinic offering the tool of hippotherapy. The new business projects four full-time employees within five years.”

Patients will come to the clinic through doctor referrals or direct patient referral. Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy will be offered.

The business is owned by Dr. Rebecca Bevins.

Bevins, who earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Shenandoah University in 2009, noted hippotherapy is not a new treatment tool and said it has been around since approximately 1987.

“The American Hippotherapy Association is the overseeing body, of which I am a member,” Bevins said. “The term hippotherapy refers to how occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy professionals use evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning in the purposeful manipulation of equine movement as a therapy tool to engage sensory, neuromotor and cognitive systems to promote functional outcomes for the child.”

Bevins noted the average horse walks at a rate of 100 steps per minute, adding just five minutes on a walking horse represents 500 neuromotor inputs to the patient.

“In a typical therapy session, 15-25 minutes of equine movement may be incorporated by the treatment therapist,” Bevins said in a statement. “This type of unique therapy service is shown to produce significant outcomes for children, which produce greater impact on the child’s development.”

Three therapy horses are available at the clinic and Bevins noted renovations are going on now to develop the clinic area and office. For patients involved in the hippotherapy aspect, an indoor and outdoor arena will be available.

About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.