ROANOKE, VIRGINIA, Dec. 21, 2021 – Valleys Innovation Council (VIC), an affiliate of Verge, announced today that it has received a $200,000 grant from Truist Foundation to offer new educational programming and support structures through its PitchPlus program that will help regional entrepreneurs and founders understand the fundamentals of angel and venture capital finance, how to access capital and build connections between startups and sources of capital in Southside, Southwest, and West Central Virginia. The program will be delivered in coordination with project partners Blue Ridge PBS, The Launch Place, Appalachian Council for Innovation, Eddy Alexander, and fellow Verge affiliate, Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council.
“Verge and Truist Foundation share a common mission for creating economic opportunity for all and for strengthening small businesses. This Truist grant will allow Verge and our partner organizations to help entrepreneurs and high-growth potential startup founders launch, learn how to fund and successfully grow their companies in southern and western Virginia. We deeply appreciate Truist Foundation’s partnership and commitment to improving the economic vitality of our region,” said Greg Feldmann, Verge CEO.
The PitchPlus program will improve access to information regarding capital through a robust multipart video series produced in conjunction with Blue Ridge PBS and dedicated online resources to facilitate accessing capital. The grant will support in-person and hybrid educational and networking events to help connect entrepreneurs to capital sources, expand the region’s mentor pool and provide microgrants to help growing companies secure federal and state grant writing technical assistance. PitchPlus will also incentivize improved collaboration across a region spanning Roanoke to Danville to Bristol by project partners to benefit the region’s entrepreneurs and startups. Some PitchPlus program activities are also supported by a grant VIC received in 2020 from the US Economic Development Administration.
Mary Miller, director of the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP) noted that “Many entrepreneurs face challenges in accessing the financial resources needed to validate their idea, establish their companies and scale effectively. The expansion of the PitchPlus program compliments RAMP’s work to identify and support our entrepreneurs. Access to capital can feel like a high hurdle, but PitchPlus can prepare our entrepreneurs to more efficiently and effectively approach these needs. It will fill an important need for our region.”
“This grant will help provide entrepreneurs with the skills and support they need to unlock new sources of capital that can spark growth in their businesses,” said Thomas Ransom, Virginia regional president for Truist, speaking on behalf of the Truist Foundation. “By investing in business owners and creating opportunities across the region, Valleys Innovation Council and its partners are strengthening small businesses and helping Truist fulfill its purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities.”
About Valleys Innovation Council
Valleys Innovation Council (”VIC”), an affiliate of Verge, is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization with a mission to support innovation and entrepreneurship by connecting, communicating, and collaborating with stakeholders to grow and strengthen our innovation economy. To learn more about VIC, please visit https://www.valleysinnovation.org.
Verge is a collaborative strategic alliance established to grow the region’s innovation economy, technology and life sciences sectors, and the supporting professional communities. It aligns the strengths and programming efforts of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC), the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP), and Valleys Innovation Council (VIC). Verge serves GO Virginia Region 2 and works to form collaborations with government, business, academia, and other organizations to advance the region and grow a thriving innovation economy. To learn more about membership, events, and how to get involved, visit https://vergeva.org.
About Truist Foundation
The Truist Foundation is committed to Truist Financial Corporation’s (NYSE: TFC) purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities. Established in 2020, the foundation makes strategic investments in nonprofit organizations to help ensure the communities it serves have more opportunities for a better quality of life. The Truist Foundation’s grants and activities focus on building career pathways to economic mobility and strengthening small businesses. Learn more at Truist.com/Foundation.