The 3rd Annual Gauntlet Business Program Brings New Energy to Botetourt and Roanoke County

Attendance was high at the first Gauntlet business meeting in Vinton.

The Advancement Foundation has announced that the 3rd Annual Gauntlet Business Program and Competition is underway. Botetourt and Roanoke County have joined forces to expand a regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Over 65 entrepreneurs are joined in a cohort-working group that meets each week until the end of April to develop their business ideas. Each entrepreneur is studying feasibility, exploring business models and developing his or her business plan.

Entrepreneurial community flags are now up in Buchanan to call attention to the communities desire to embrace focused small business development. The same flags are also flying high and proud in Vinton.

The Advancement Foundation leverages resources from across the community in order to build collaboration that encourages small business development. The foundation is committed to providing comprehensive support for entrepreneurs with partners in the Botetourt and Roanoke County Economic Development Departments as well as the Small Business Development Center, Virginia Tourism Department, Virginia’s Department of Housing and Community Development and many local businesses.

“The green banners on historic Main Street are surely signs of new growth as spring approaches,” said Town Manager Mary Zirkle.  The town last displayed banners along Main Street / Route 11 in 2011 to celebrate its Bicentennial. Since then, new opportunities are developing as the town embraces new strategies to host more visitors via their local natural resources including mighty James River and the new Natural Bridge State Park.

The Gauntlet hopes to both inspire and introduce entrepreneurs to a small-town community with great access to Interstate 81 and the Blue Ridge Parkway. “Those who recognize the value of location, cooperation and community support will benefit from a partnership with Buchanan,” said Zirkle.

Next week’s classes will begin the focused evaluation of each businesse’s visibility. The community will be asked to participate in potential customer interviews in order to receive unbiased feedback.

Gauntlet classes are open to all on Tuesday evenings at the Vinton War Memorial from 6:00-7:30 pm and repeated on Thursday mornings at the HIVE from 10:00-11:30am until late April.