“Innovation Mill” powered by The Advancement Foundation is offering no fee Business Development Services to new or early stage high growth potential businesses. High Growth Potential: growth rate potential of 25% a year, potential to attract 5% of revenues outside the region, potential to produce higher wage jobs with a focus on new information and emerging technologies, food and beverage manufacturing, life sciences and healthcare, and other manufacturing.
GO Virginia Region 2 has renewed funding to The Advancement Foundation (TAF) for year two to continue expansion of the Innovation Mill. A project focused on increasing the birth rates of new/early stage potential high growth companies.
Innovation Mill supports early stage businesses in high-growth industries by providing next level resources, proof of concept, market research, industry expertise, and higher education networks in order to prepare for scaling both regionally and nationally.
GO Virginia is a statewide initiative designed to encourage Virginia’s economic growth through the creation of high wage jobs. GO Virginia Region 2 includes cities of Covington, Lynchburg, Radford, Roanoke, and Salem; and the counties of Alleghany, Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Botetourt, Campbell, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, and Roanoke.
Through initial funding in 2019, The Innovation Mill assessed 51 high growth potential start-up companies and advanced 20 companies through a series of highly tailored strategies including proof of concept, customer discovery, and industry mentors with preparations for potential investors, SBIR/STTR, loan programs, and grants. As companies complete the tedious early work through the Innovation Mill and are able to prove their concept, the companies are then referred to next level resources across the ecosystem such as RAMP, CIT, and others.
The success of the Innovation Mill Project exceeded year 1 goals and led to renewed GO Virginia funding to expand efforts. This funding will provide us new platforms to map our community assets and connectivity between innovators and industry experts, investors, and community resources.
Innovation Mill Entrepreneurs will be guided through 6 stages to prove their concept which include: 360 evaluations, Business & Innovation Development Teams, Customer Discovery, Industry Expertise, Higher Education, and Investor Feedback. Companies will work alongside undergraduate students, fellow entrepreneurs, and their own Business Innovation and Development (BID) team to innovate, pivot, and expand their company.
Innovation Mill is led by Simone Knowles (Director of Business Innovation & Community Expansion), Annette Patterson (President of The Advancement Foundation), and Debbie Custer (Innovation Mill’s lead consultant on Commercialization). Innovation Mill was a brainchild of Annette Patterson who saw an opportunity to encourage regional innovation and talent with a full support system for getting through those early stage barriers in order to prepare for accelerators or eventual funding.
Said Annette Patterson, “Our goal is to catch new/early stage potential high growth companies, shorten the learning curve, provide pathways to resources and expertise, prove concepts and then get them to the next level resources such as the SBDC, SCORE, RAMP and other resources that are here to support entrepreneurs in our region.”
For a link to the needs assessment/application you can go here: https://theadvancementfoundation.org/innovation-mill/