FREDERICKSBURG, VA – The GO Virginia Region 6 Council and GO Virginia State Board reviewed and awarded RIoT $96,807 in GO Virginia funding to expand entrepreneurial programs in the Rappahannock Region.
RIoT, in partnership with Stafford County, King George County, the City of Fredericksburg, Cyber Bytes Foundation, University of Mary Washington, Germanna Community College, and the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation, will work to expand entrepreneurial programs in the Rappahannock Region and provide entrepreneurs with access to the first Virginia RIoT Business Foundations Program.
GO Virginia is a statewide economic development initiative that provides project-based funds to encourage collaboration among private industry, higher education, and government partners to create higher-paying jobs.
GO Virginia funds will be used to fund business foundation courses and staff support at the new Virginia Smart Community Testbed. The RIoT Virginia Lead will work with entrepreneurs around business best practices, validation, and operations. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to connect in the Virginia Smart Community Testbed. The Testbed is led by the Technology Specialist, funded by a previous GO Virginia grant, who will help businesses connect to the Testbed’s technology including Verizon 5G at no cost and with other tech companies connected to Stafford’s Virginia Smart Community Testbed. The Testbed is a “shared knowledge platform” to develop practical and relevant smart technology solutions.
“These programs help startups and early-stage entrepreneurs increase their chances of success. The Stafford EDA is proud to be a primary sponsor to bring these programs to the entire Rappahannock Region,” said John Holden, Stafford County Director of Economic Development and Tourism.
Over the course of the two-year project, RIoT will launch three cycles of a 6-week “pre-accelerator” program, called RIoT Foundations. This program targets idea-stage entrepreneurs who are launching new businesses in the midst of the pandemic, and complements the RIoT Accelerator Program. Stafford EDA previously received $75,000 from GO Virginia Region 6 to determine the market demand for a regional accelerator. The study was completed in June 2021 and found that there was a high demand for assisting companies to scale and grow. From the study, Stafford EDA and RIoT partnered on the RIoT Accelerator Program and received $215,000 in GO Virginia funding. While beginning to implement the RIoT Accelerator Program, RIoT has found a clear need for supporting idea-stage entrepreneurs and expects over 60 percent of RIoT Foundations participants to become competitive RIoT Accelerator program applicants at the completion of the 6-week course.
This project was approved by the GO Virginia State Board in December 2021.
About the GO Virginia coalition: The coalition is comprised of business and community leaders, partners in education and government, and interested Virginians from across the Commonwealth who support regional cooperation on private-sector growth, job creation, and career readiness. Learn more at www.govirginia6.org.