SBRT Grants Available for Highland County Businesses

SBRT grants are available for businesses in Highland County.  SBRT, which is Small Business Resiliency Team, was formed in late 2021 to help established businesses refocus and get back on track with growth after the COVID pandemic.

Joyce Krech is the Director of the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center, which awards the grants.

“We seek out growth-oriented businesses who have been around at least a year or two, is preferable,” says Krech.  “They have some plans for growth.  They just haven’t been able to accomplish them for various reasons and they’d like to work on one specific thing that would help move them forward.  They apply, they’re accepted into the program, an SBDC Advisor meets with them, we call that person the Navigator.  The Navigator meets with them, discusses their situation, discusses their needs.  They discuss where they want to go with the growth plan.  They create, actually, what we call an action plan of steps that they need to take.”

These SBRT grants are funded by a grant from GO Virginia.   Round one of the grants was so successful that GO Virginia encouraged the Small Business Development Center to apply for funding again, to offer round two of the grants.

“So, it’s very focused and there’s an accountability behind it,” says Krech.  “So, we’re not just saying ‘Hey, this would be a good idea for you to do.  Go forth and do it.’  We’re saying ‘This would be a good idea for you to do, you agree that it’s a good thing for you to do. We’re going to help you and work with you through the next twelve weeks to make sure it gets done.’  So, this is not going to be something you can put aside.”

The grant requires participating localities to provide money for a local match, which allows businesses in those localities to participate.  The Highland County Economic Development Authority provided a match of $500 from it’s funding, so Highland businesses can participate.

“When someone applies, they have three tracks they can choose,” says Krech.  “They can choose, they want to work on their ecommerce and marketing, or they want to work on their financial situation, which is usually internal bookkeeping, internal accounting, that kind of thing, or they want to work on their operations.  It’s called operational efficiencies on the form, but what we mean is the processes.”

SBRT grant applications should be submitted before the end of September.  It’s a twelve-week program and plans are to complete this grant cycle by early January.  Another grant cycle is scheduled to start later in January.

“The grant money that we receive, we cannot distribute that money directly to the business,” says Krech.   “That is not for the business, but what it is for is to pay technical services to help the business.  The beauty of it is that in doing it that way we’re helping the client, who is a small business, and we’re helping the vendor, who is also a small local business, because in this program we are only looking at local vendors to provide these services.”

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Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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