Governor Youngkin Announces $180,000 in Community Business Launch Funding

Grants will support entrepreneurial training and small business development

Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced $180,000 in Community Business Launch (CBL) grants for the Downtown Lynchburg Association, Nelson County and the Waynesboro Economic Development Authority. CBL provides funding to offer training to entrepreneurs and conduct business plan competitions that align with local and regional economic development strategies, primarily in Virginia’s downtown commercial districts. 

“Virginia recognizes the importance of small business in local economies, and this program gives our communities across Virginia the flexibility required to address unique community-identified needs to ensure success for local entrepreneurs," said Governor Youngkin. “Virginia is open for business, and it is integral that we support the small businesses that are the heart of our commercial districts and the bedrock of our economy.” 

CBL is administered through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and seeks to fill vacant storefronts with community-based expansion or startup ventures. Local CBL programs train entrepreneurs and small-business owners on business planning practices, culminating in a group of finalists pitching their ideas to a panel of judges with winners receiving grant funding and support services from the community to kick-start their new venture. Since 2015, $2,145,000 in CBL funds have been awarded to 33 communities, serving more than 650 participating entrepreneurs across Virginia. In total, CBL has leveraged more than $3 million in private investment, creating more than 170 businesses and over 365 new full-time jobs. 

“The Community Business Launch program enables localities to identify what businesses fit into their vision for the future in their downtown districts and support these businesses beyond the grand opening,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “This important resource allows us to create and nurture strong local entrepreneurial ecosystems while diversifying our economy and revitalizing our downtowns.” 

CBL grants are awarded through a competitive process. Six applications were received for this round of funding, requesting more than $315,000. The funded projects will create or expand 15 small businesses and create at least 15 new jobs in the communities.  

Additional information on the Community Business Launch is available here.  

2023 CBL Grantees: 

Launch LYH 

Downtown Lynchburg Association 


Lovingston Community Business Launch 

Nelson County 


Grow Waynesboro: Main and Wayne 2023 

Waynesboro Economic Development Authority