CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A Charlottesville-based nonprofit has received money to help support a new entrepreneurial project.
According to a release, the U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded nearly $300,000 to Venture Central.
The nonprofit is dedicated to serving Central Virginia’s entrepreneurial community as part of the 2022 Build to Scale program.
The money will be used to support the Diversify-Connect-Fund project, which is expected to launch next year.
The release says this project will engage participants interested in angel investing, connect local startups to funders from outside the region, and structure a fund.
The goal is to improve outcomes for underrepresented investors and startup founders by creating access to networks that traditionally have been difficult or impossible for outsiders to navigate.
“This program represents a huge win for Central Virginia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Venture Central Board Chair and Relish CEO Sarah Rumbaugh, “It is a solid representation of Venture Central’s mission of serving and strengthening our entrepreneurial community by building and bridging connections, programs, funding, and spaces.”
The release says the program has been made possible by in-kind support from several organizations, including the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center, the Ritter Law PLLC, QDS Capitol, and the University of Virginia Licensing and Venture Group Seed Fund.
Venture Central says the project will bolster the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Greater Charlottesville area. It aims to address two main issues: inclusive participation in the startup ecosystem and funding to support companies as they begin to scale.
The project will take place in three phases, starting with the creation of an “angel academy: program that will train investors and diversify investment networks. The second phase will be a “capital connection” framework that will help to link local startups to funders. The third phase will be an assessment of the best fund structure to sustain investments in the growing technology sector in this area.