The Lynchburg skyline. Photo by Rachel Mahoney.

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

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Downtown Lynchburg announces pitch contest winners

Seven small businesses have been named winners in the Downtown Lynchburg Association’s inaugural Launch LYH pitch competition.

The program aims to boost economic growth and revive downtown Lynchburg by supporting entrepreneurs who want to start, move or expand their businesses. All seven of the winning businesses will open or expand within the next year, according to a news release announcing the awards.

Applicants participated in an eight-week educational course that concluded with a pitch event. A panel of local business experts chose the winners based on their ideas, business models and dedication to enhancing Lynchburg’s business community.

The winners received a total of $115,000 in grant funds:

  • Super Rad!: $25,000
  • PREAM: $25,000
  • Wolfbane Productions: $25,000
  • Lynchburg Golf & Social: $10,000
  • Mosaic Collective/Threaded: $10,000
  • The Lost Playground: $10,000
  • Easy Speak Dance Hall & Events. $10,000

Read more about the winners here.

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Danville offers small business support grants

The Danville Office of Economic Development and Tourism has launched a new round of grants to help small businesses with expansion and marketing and ecommerce efforts.

Restaurants can apply for payment or reimbursement of up to $25,000 for the purchase
of items or services to enhance outdoor seating, curbside pickup or take-out options. Businesses can also apply for payment or reimbursement of up to $3,000 to be used toward paid marketing efforts and ecommerce upgrades, according to a news release announcing the grants.

The grant programs are funded through the city’s American Rescue Plan Act allocation. Qualifying expenses for the restaurants grants include tents, awnings, furniture, signage, fencing, construction costs, heating lamps and outdoor cooling systems, etc. Qualifying expenses for the small business marketing and ecommerce grant include website development or upgrades, online shopping carts, advertising, design services and promotional materials.

To qualify, businesses must be located within the city limits, have an active business
license and be current on taxes and utilities, and cannot have outstanding code violations. All funds are either reimbursed or paid directly to the vendor.

To apply, use this link:

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United Way of Central Virginia launches nonprofit incubator program

Lynchburg-based United Way of Central Virginia has launched a nonprofit incubator program that will provide mentoring and other help along with subsidized office space.

Starting July 1, four incubator offices in the United Way building will be available to qualified nonprofits at subsidized rates of $150 to $350 per month. Included in the monthly rate will be mentoring in nonprofit accounting, help with marketing and grant writing, and networking opportunities.

For more information or to register for the program, contact Kim Soerensen at 434-455-6901 or

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Free social media workshop for Martinsville-Henry County small businesses

Small business owners can sign up for a free social media marketing workshop offered through the Martinsville Henry County Chamber of Commerce and Longwood Small Business Development Center.

The session will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. June 29 at the New College Institute. It will cover topics including how to build audience engagement, when to “pay to play” and how to hone your brand.

Register online. For more information, call 276-632-6401.