RAMP launched its first cohort in 2017 in the former Gill Memorial Hospital building in downtown Roanoke. Photo by Megan Schnabel.

Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to news@cardinalnews.org.

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Verge launches online resource center for startups

Verge, a regional technology and biotechnology alliance in Southwest Virginia, has launched an online educational resource center for entrepreneurs and startups.

Access to Capital” offers resources including a series of videos on nine topics designed to help accelerate business growth. Each course is taught by business leaders in new venture financing from across the state. Topics include federal grant opportunities, equity investment, term sheets and exit strategies.

“As an ecosystem builder and supporter, Verge often hears the need for additional educational, expertise, and networking resources for local technology and biotechnology startups,” Erin Burcham, the president of Verge, said in a news release announcing the launch. “’Access to Capital’ is now one more resource available to help support local entrepreneurs looking to grow or expand their business.”

A $200,000 grant from the Truist Foundation helped fund the project. Seven organizations across Go Virginia’s Regions 1, 2 and 3 then worked together to launch it: Verge, the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP), The Launch Place, Appalachian Council for Innovation, Blue Ridge PBS and Eddy Alexander.

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Bedford Get Together seeks community service award nominations

Bedford Get Together has opened nominations for its annual Community Service Awards.

The awards recognize organizations and individuals who serve the community of Bedford County and the town of Bedford to advance the Bedford Get Together vision: a community
united through understanding, trust, kindness and respect.

Nominations will be accepted until July 15 in four categories: private nonprofit organization, government agency, business and individual.

To submit a nomination, complete this online form, or download a copy, print and complete it and return it to bedfordgettogether@gmail.com or by mail to Bedford Get Together, P.O. Box 1184, Bedford, VA 24523.

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Roanoke College announces free March events

Roanoke College has announced several March speaker events that are free and open to the public:

Yeonmi Park, “The Fundamentals of Freedom: We Must All Fight Against Tyranny,” 7 p.m. March 20, Colket Center, Wortmann Ballroom: Human rights activist and TED speaker Yeonmi Park was born in North Korea, but when she was 13 her family escaped to China. In her talks, Park urges audiences to recognize the oppression that exists in North Korea and around the world.

Community Archiving for Black Appalachia, 6:30 p.m. March 21, Colket Center, Pickle Lounge: Alona Norwood and William Isom II will talk about the long-term work of Black in Appalachia: Research, Education & Support, a nonprofit that works with residents, universities, libraries and community organizations to highlight the history and contributions of African Americans in the development of the Mountain South and its culture. 

Faith-Based Reparations: A Community Conversation, March 24-25, Wortmann Ballroom, Colket Center: Roanoke College will host a symposium offered by the Roanoke Reparations Group, which seeks to educate the community about the theft of wealth, dignity and power from the Black community caused by systemic racism and white supremacy. The symposium begins at 7 p.m. March 24 with a keynote address, “Building Beloved Community,” by the Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors. At 10 a.m. March 25, a panel of community leaders and Roanoke College faculty will discuss “Building Relationships.”

Leila Hanafi: Human Rights, International Law and Civil Society, 7 p.m. March 28, Wortmann Ballroom, Colket Center: Leila Hanafi, a Moroccan-American international development lawyer with the World Bank Group, will discusses women’s access to justice in post-conflict societies. 

All event information can be found at Roanoke.edu/Events.

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Farmville-based Piedmont Senior Resources receives $168,000 grant for vaccination efforts

Farmville-based Piedmont Senior Resources Area Agency on Aging has been awarded a $168,000 grant by the Aging and Disability Vaccination Collaborative to support the nonprofit’s work connecting older adults to COVID-19 and flu vaccines.

PSR will partner with the Virginia Department of Health’s Piedmont District to determine the best use of the funds, according to a news release announcing the award.

The grant, which is funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living, will allow PSR to host community vaccine clinics, provide in-home vaccinations, schedule appointments, coordinate transportation and conduct outreach and education in Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward counties.

PSR is one of five organizations in Virginia and one of 39 nationwide to receive the first round of grant funding from the Aging and Disability Vaccination Collaborative, which is led by USAging, the national association that represents the network of Area Agencies on Aging.

This first round of grantees targets delivering vaccines to more than 110,000 older adults and people with disabilities. The grant period will span summer, fall and winter, as well as the Medicare open enrollment period.