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The Shenandoah Valley Connectiontop 
March 25, 2016
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SVIC hosts weekend event for aspiring entrepreneurs
Thanks for volunteering and sponsoring BizBlitz
3rd Annual Maker Faire (March 26)
Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program Presentation (March 29)
Virginia Recognized as TechHire State
Innovate Live in Staunton (March and April Workshops)
LaunchPad Classes (April 5 - May 24)
SVTC's April Bits & Grits (3/15)
Grow Waynesboro Announces 2016 Business Competition...$20,000 in Grants for Waynesboro Entrepreneurs.
#BizBlitz16 Recap 
Shenandoah Valley Innovation Coalition hosts weekend event for aspiring Valley entrepreneurs, 3 teams are awared cash and prizes

HARRISONBURG - Lydia Smith is tired of losing money selling her used clothes. Over the weekend, she created the website Reflip to help solve the problem. Smith thought of the idea "after selling clothes a lot and not being able to know what things were valuable and what were not." Smith, along with Rob Harvill and Jasmine Rountree, made up one of four teams that presented their business model at BizBlitz in James Madison University's offices at the Ice House complex in downtown on Sunday. --The event, which is sponsored by the Shenandoah Valley Innovation Coalition, allows entrepreneurs to pitch business ideas to a panel of judges. --  It was held in 2013 and 2014 as Startup Weekend, but was canceled last year.

Carol Hamilton, the event's chairwoman, said the difference between Startup Weekend and BizBlitz was the cash prizes. Between the teams, $1,000 in cash was distributed and more than $20,000 in partnerships were awarded.
Reflip users can search any item in the app to find its market value. It uses data from online companies, such as eBay and Amazon, to compare prices and determine the market value of any product. The app was first designed to work only for clothes, but Smith and her team expanded it to include a variety of products, such as watches, lawnmowers and books. Reflip came in first, and the team earned $750, a $15,000 advertising plan with WHSVTV3, tax support from PBMares, website development support from Chiedo Labs and membership to the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council.

Rountree joined Smith's team because she found the idea innovative. "It's a market that's literally untouched," Rountree said. "This idea sought to really capitalize on that." Smith was "a little" surprised when her idea won. "It feels very satisfying," she said. "We were talking about the app like it was real, and now, we have the resources to make it real." 

"The Journey"
BizBlitz started on Friday, with the fourteen participants pitching their ideas.
The ideas were narrowed down to four, and participants split into teams and worked Friday night, all day Saturday and prepared to make the pitch on Sunday. Valley business leaders also helped coach entrepreneurs to hone their ideas. "It's this massive confluence of all these resources to bring people together and make this happen," said facilitator Abe Shearer, who is also a member of Harrisonburg City Council. Many of the ideas dramatically changed over the weekend.  "Really, what was amazing about the weekend was the journey that everybody went on," said James Burden, an attorney for James Burden PLLC and one of the coaches at the event. 

Chomp, an app that allows businesses to send out discounts with small timeframes to increase traffic and customer retention, came in third. The app originally started as a way for restaurants to monitor the level of beer in their kegs and automatically order more. The idea came from Connor Parsons, 18, a freshman at JMU. He said the idea changed because he wanted a broader clientele. "I thought I really want to make this something I could expand," Parsons said. Parsons team included Chip Harvill and Cuneyt Yalcin. For their thirdplace finish, they received $100, a workshop with the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center and membership with the Harrisonburg Rockingham Chamber of Commerce.

Second place went to The Edge, which sought to capitalize on virtual reality headsets for the video game community. The idea came from three JMU students, Caiti Wardlaw, Chris Katalinas and Patrick Haggerty.
Coming in fourth place was Tiny Town Construction, which was created by James Rollin, 21, a JMU junior.
Rollin was joined by Ali Gee and Olga Gorlanova, to work on his idea for a construction company focused solely on tiny houses. The houses are usually between 500 and 700 square feet.

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Many thanks for volunteering & sponsoring #BizBlitz16 | And some pictures

Many experienced volunteers in matters "entrepreneurial activities" were on hand throughout the weekend. There were mentors, coaches and facilitators, and the weekend concluded with three judges  evaluating the teams.  Many thanks also to the sponsors and the many volunteers!


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It's time to make some noise, bring out the maker and crafter projects, battle some 'bots, and have some raucous family fun. We are opening our Call To Makers!  From robotics to fashion, rocketry to craft, 3D printing to woodworking, sculpture to architecture, engineering to design, drones to ham radio and who knows what else!
 
ATTENTION ALL CREATIVES, it's time to sign up to exhibit and participate in Central Virginia's "Mother of All Show 'n Tells" . This will be our 3rd Maker Faire and it will be 6 hours of CREATIVE COLLISIONS and a smorgasbord of all you can eat BRAIN FOOD!
 
Please visit our website, makerfairecville.com to learn more and click on the link to watch the PBS segment on the last Cville Maker Faire.
 
Thanks to Albemarle County Schools for their generous support! Monticello High School  is located on Independence  Lane, just off Mill Creek Drive and Route 20 south of Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program Presentation, 3/29
6:00 pm - 8:00  pm

Lakeview Hall, JMU  | Rocktown RockIT 

Via Meet-up: Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program Presentation March 29 2016, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm | Lakeview Hall, James Madison University

Join Rocktown RockIT at JMU Lakeview Hall for a presentation on how a maker or an inventor who is trying to bring life to an idea or product can develop step to success. ICAP (Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program) helps inventors, makers, and innovators bring their new technologies to market.

ICAP provides free assessment from subject matter experts, and guidance as you develop and market your innovations. (http://www.virginiasbdc.org/programs/icap/ ). We are hosting a presentation on (and given by) the Small Business Development Center's ICAP program at Lakeview Hall, room 1104. Come on out and join us for an information-filled presentation about this great program.

There will be event parking available in the Lakeview Building parking lot starting at 5:30. So bring a car full!


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Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Virginia is one of the newest members of the TechHire initiative, a White House program that aims to meet national employer demands by partnering with states and localities to create sustainable pathways to the workforce, specifically for under-served populations.

Through its participation in TechHire, the Commonwealth committed to filling an estimated 74,000 computer-related jobs over the next eight years. To meet this demand, work is underway to connect with more than 25,000 businesses to help place 10,600 Virginia TechHire graduates in technology jobs by 2020. Virginia also set a goal to partner with 20 additional businesses to hire TechHire program graduates by next year.


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Innovate Live is back! | Check out these upcoming workshops
 


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LaunchPad Classes | Enrollment Open to *Anyone*
April 5 - May 24, StemX Lab at JMU Lakeview Hall, Harrisonburg



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SVTC's Bits and Grits
April 19, 8-9am; Mrs. Rowes, Staunton, VA

Come get together for great breakfast and to talk some tech. Dutch treat. No reservations required. 

 

This is where our technology users and creators get together to connect about various topics (while eating some good food!). This occurs on the 3rd Tuesday of every month. Look for Kurt Plowman.  

 

Back to top 

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Grow Waynesboro Announces 2016 Business Competition
$20,000 in Grants for Waynesboro Entrepreneurs

WAYNESBORO, VA- The City of Waynesboro Economic Development Department is announcing a new flagship program designed to support small business development, called Grow Waynesboro. Focused this year on finding and funding new and robust local businesses, it will award more than $20,000 to select entrepreneurs in the form of grants and training opportunities.

Grow Waynesboro is launching with a two-part community engagement strategy. In its initial phase, the initiative is focused on engaging students, residents and business leaders in a community-wide conversation on the types of locally owned businesses that have the potential to most impact Waynesboro's long-term economic health. With the help of the Waynesboro High School's Advanced Marketing Class, both economic development staff and local students are interviewing area residents about the entrepreneurship projects they would most like to see launch in Waynesboro. Videos of these conversations will be posted online throughout the coming weeks at GrowWaynesboro.com

"We're excited to have an entrepreneurship program that touches not only the small businesses it seeks to assist, but also the broader community," says Courtney Cranor, Assistant Director of Economic Development for the City of Waynesboro.  "By engaging the broader community, we hope to build a stronger culture of entrepreneurship, encouraging not only direct grants and incentives for entrepreneurs, but also broad-based excitement and awareness of new businesses opening in Waynesboro."

Buoyed by the enthusiasm of local residents, Grow Waynesboro will also seek to identify and cultivate entrepreneurs who have or are seeking to open new 2016 locally owned and located small businesses. These entrepreneurs are invited to submit their business concepts on the GrowWaynesboro.com site, where local judges will compare their viability and benefits for the City. Later this spring, on April 21st, approved projects will have the opportunity to present their plans to a live audience, where final grant winners will be announced.
"We look forward to seeing what proposals surface in the coming weeks," says Greg Hitchin, Economic Development Director for the City of Waynesboro. "We know there are many more entrepreneurial projects started every year in Waynesboro than are generally recognized, and we're pleased to work this year to help better identify them, invest in them, and celebrate them with the broader community."

Waynesboro High School is also excited to be a local partner. "We want our students to know that there are opportunities for them in the local economy," says Waynesboro High School marketing teacher Dave Hennel. "Not only are they developing skills in interviewing, video editing, and marketing, but they are also meeting business leaders in the local community and building important relationships between the school and the local economy."

Entrepreneurs interested in the initiative are encouraged to begin applying online now, with a final deadline for all written applications on April 4th. (http://www.growwaynesboro.com/)

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Highlighting Renewing Level I Member
Wildlife Center of Virginia

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is one of the world's leading teaching and research hospitals for wildlife and conservation medicine. The Center uses an impressive array of cutting edge technology and social media tools to provide state-of-the art veterinary care to injured wildlife, professional training to veterinary and conservation professionals from more than 40 countries, and environmental education to the audiences worldwide, all in pursuit of its mission, "teaching the world to care about and care for wildlife and the environment."


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