How to identify and leverage entrepreneurial opportunities


State Director
Virginia Small Business Development Center



What can a mayor or other elected official expect to receive from your services?
The Small Business Development Centers are located throughout; we are available to help small companies grow and expand, and to solve business issues. We’re also a resource for entrepreneurs who have a business idea and need help launching and starting their company.

What surprises folks in Southern and Southwestern Virginia about you?
How close we are. We have four offices that serve Southwest Virginia. We’re in three community colleges: Mountain Empire Community College, Virginia Highlands, and Southwest Virginia Community College. We’re also in Galax at the Crossroads Institute in partnership with the Blue Ridge Economic Development Authority. We are right there in the local communities, we serve every city, county and jurisdiction in Southwest Virginia.

What are some specific ways you help economic development in the region?
We can assist entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses, we can help them put together their funding plans,  identify any critical partners,  identify finances and resources to help them with their ideas. We can help existing companies do the same types of things. We can also help them expand into new markets, global or government-contracted, and help them find the financing they’re going to need to do that.

How do local elected officials fit in?
Local elected officials are our real champions. We are a partnership program. Most of our centers are funded, in part, with resources from local, city, and county governments, and elected officials approve those budgets, and we’re a real resource for their constituents.

What is the best advice you can give to a mayor in a small town?
Look at what type of assets and entrepreneurial opportunities you have within your local community. You have residents and constituents who have great ideas, many of whom are already starting businesses, but need a user friendly, business-friendly environment to help them grow and prosper. I encourage local elected officials to look locally when they are trying to grow their economic base.

Do you want to hear from them? If so, how do they get in contact with you?
If you’ve got questions, or you need additional information, you can reach me by the website at or by email,