The 10th annual Loudoun Small Business Week takes place this week, May 3 to May 7, with a range of events and grants for local businesses.
To kick off the week, the Loudoun Economic Development Authority’s second annual Innovation Challenge opened grant applications at noon Monday, May 3.
This year, there will be more categories, awarding grants for best overall innovation and runner up awards for tech ventures, commercial ventures, launch focus, smart county focus, and the people’s choice awards. Small businesses located in or planning to relocate to Loudoun are encouraged to apply.
Last year’s 71 applicants resulted in 22 business expansions, creating 169 jobs and investing $14.8 million into Loudoun’s economy, according to the Economic Development Authority.
“If you have an innovative Loudoun business, we strongly encourage you to apply over the next two weeks. This is capital that can be invested in growing your space, workforce, product or service offering and is just part of the Loudoun EDA’s commitment to entrepreneurship,” stated Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer. “If you know any business that would benefit from $10,000 to $40,000, please encourage them to apply today.”
Eligibility requirements and application information or online at LoudounInnovationChallenge.com.
This week county supervisors will also visit 14 businesses that received of Loudoun Business Interruption Fund grants across the county. And LoudounSmallBiz.org has been updated with new resources, with a list of current and ongoing funding and financial opportunities; an interactive map of Loudoun’s 14 coworking, incubator and accelerator spaces; a community of more than 80 business ecosystem partners; and startup guides, upcoming events, and inspirational stories.
“Every part of Loudoun Small Business Week 2021 is intentional, highlighting the many successes of the community and the range of ways we help businesses every day,” stated Loudoun Small Business and Entrepreneurship Manager Danelle Hayer. “The stories that we get to tell over the course of this week are chosen to help inspire the next generation of transformational innovators in Loudoun County.”
According to Loudoun Economic Development, businesses with fewer than 20 employees comprise 86% of all businesses in Loudoun, and more than half of all jobs in the county. The department’s early COVID-19 projections in 2020 suggested that nearly 40% of all Loudoun businesses could have been lost, but that outcome was prevented.
“These businesses are the backbone of our local economy and were the most vulnerable during COVID-19. Thanks to a supportive community, dedicated funding from the Board of Supervisors, and a willingness to adapt to the moment, small businesses will also lead the way in Loudoun’s economic recovery,” Rizer stated. “Loudoun Small Business Week is always a time for celebration, but this year seems especially meaningful.”