Shenandoah Community Capital Fund Assists Shenandoah Valley Entrepreneurs
The Shenandoah Community Capital Fund, or SCCF, is a nonprofit organization that helps entrepreneurs with starting or expanding a business. The organization provides assistance through a number of programs, like small business loans and Startup Shenandoah Valley. SCCF also works to connect resource providers and to support organizations in different localities that assist entrepreneurs. SCCF serves the Shenandoah Valley, including Highland County.
Anika Horn is the Director of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems at SCCF.
“I think, because SCCF has been in the Shenandoah Valley for fourteen years, we have seen all that potential that is already there that just hasn’t been tapped yet,” says Horn. “So, it’s a lot of early-stage activity going on, a lot of our partners have been working for several years and it feels like now is the time to infuse funds and infuse professional training to take this ecosystem in the Shenandoah Valley to the next stage. We can build on the efforts that are already happening throughout the valley and really help amplify what is already going on. So now is a really great time to start building those relationships among these different support organizations. So that an entrepreneur who is trying to build a business in, say, Buena Vista can connect with an entrepreneur who is building a very similar business in the town of Woodstock. So, the idea is to really start weaving those connections throughout the entire valley and making them a lot more visible.”
SCCF has two programs in place to accomplish that goal, Build to Scale and Community Navigator.
“The Build to Scale program is designed to help put the Shenandoah Valley on the map as a place where tech entrepreneurs and tech enabled start-ups can succeed,” says Horn.
Horn says a resource website is planned. She calls it a one stop shop that will list mentors, potential investors, support programs and events, so entrepreneurs in the valley can find everything they are looking for.
“What we have found at SCCF is that there are a lot of resources available for entrepreneurs in the Shenandoah Valley,” says Horn. “However, they are not always visible and it can be really hard, especially for early-stage entrepreneurs, to find the resources they need when they need them. So, we are really leveraging Build to Scale to build a regional coalition of all of these existing resources that are already in place, to enhance the outreach efforts and really just making them more accessible.”
“Community Navigator is a two-year program during which we work with five partner organizations to build a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Shenandoah Valley, particularly for women entrepreneurs and black, indigenous and people of color entrepreneurs,” says Horn. “We’re working with five dedicated entrepreneurial support organizations in Winchester, Harrisonburg, Waynesboro and Lexington that are already doing this work. So, we are really trying to help them do what they are already doing and doing it more and doing it more effectively and to better support underserved entrepreneurs.”
To learn more about the Shenandoah Community Capital Fund, visit www.sccfva.org.