GO Virginia

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GO Virginia is a statewide initiative designed to encourage Virginia's economic growth through the creation of high-wage jobs. GO Virginia is divided into nine geographic regions. Virginia Tech's Office of Economic Development facilitates GO Virginia Region 2. More information on different regions and GO Virginia can be found here: http://govirginia.org/.


Before reviewing proposals at their May meeting the Regional Council will discuss the TEConomy report for Region 2 and review guidance from the state board for “Regional Entrepreneurship Initiatives”. The full council may opt to entertain proposals for up to $300,000 over two years from organizations interested in developing what state guidance describes as a “regional entrepreneurial investment plan.” This should build on the TEConomy recommendations and relevant sections of the Region Two Growth and Diversification Plan.

The council may opt to accept a reduced match (50%) and waive local match participation requirements which the state is allowing for projects of this type. The council may have a preference for proposals that can demonstrate engagement across all of Region 2. The council may also may have a preference for proposals the demonstrate a bias toward action in their proposed work plan, timeline, and deliverables.  

Potential applicants should otherwise follow the guidance and requirements spelled out in the Region 2 request for proposals found at this link. This includes careful documentation of match that demonstrates it will be available at the time of award and committed only to the activities described in the proposal. The regular deadline for letters of interest has passed, however potential applicants should feel free to contact Scott Tate atate1@vt.edu or 540-231-2351 with questions.  April 15 is the deadline for full submissions.

GO Virginia Region 2 staff and team members conducted research, collected data, and held meetings designed to identify regionally-specific growth areas that could lead to the creation of high-wage jobs. This data informed Region 2's Growth and Diversification plan.

GO Virginia Region 2 is currently accepting proposals for projects that seek to address the growth areas identified in the Growth and Diversification plan and that will grow higher wage jobs.

The GO Virginia program is divided into nine different geographic regions.

Virginia Tech's Office of Economic Development is the facilitator for GO Virginia Region 2, which 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.

If you live in GO Virginia Region 2 and you are interested in being added to our mailing list, please fill out the form below. If you would like more information about the program, please email Doris at dwaddell@vt.edu.

Learn more about GO Virginia at the GO Virginia Website.

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University faculty are encouraged to consider opportunities for funding with GO Virginia http://govirginia.org/. This is a state grant program supporting projects leading to higher wage growth, primarily driven by new investments to Virginia. Topics of interest include technology, talent, entrepreneurship, and industrial sites or specialized facilities (e.g. research park infrastructure) driving growth targeted industry sectors. 

The program funds regional grants around the state (generally  in the $100,000-$600,000 range) and multi-regional or statewide projects ($1m and up). The programs require a 1:1 match and substantive industry and local participation. Designated support organizations, such as Virginia Tech’s Office of Economic Development https://econdev.vt.edu/ can assist investigators in addressing these and other requirements.

Higher Education partnerships with industry are of great interest to the program, but so far few have been submitted. Examples include:

  • Center for Energy Research and Education Industry Labs – ($300,000 regional grant funds) The project will create a center at Liberty University that is connected to local and regional economic development efforts. These labs will offer regional companies and institutions of higher education the facilities necessary to promote research and development as well as to foster the attraction and retention of the scientific and engineering workforce.
  • VCU Pharmaceutical Accelerator – ($500,000 regional grants funds) This project will lead to the creation of an advanced manufacturing cluster by commercializing advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing processes and equipment developed through the Medicines for All program at Virginia Commonwealth University.
  • Virginia Digital Shipbuilding Workforce Program – ($647,540 regional grants funds) In this project ODU and Purdue will create a regional and statewide program to train approximately 8,500 future workers – skilled craftsmen, engineers, designers, and IT professionals - to work in the new digital manufacturing environment and will support Hampton Roads’ existing advanced manufacturing and shipbuilding clusters.

Additional information on GO Virginia is available at this link


For questions or assistance in developing proposals please contact John Provo at 540-231-5278 or jprovo@vt.edu  

The Region Two Council is currently led by Chair Raymond Smoot and Vice Chair Ab Boxley and includes the following 25 council members: 

Marla Akridge, Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation
Fred Armstrong, Wiley Wilson
Dr. Nathaniel Bishop, Jefferson College
Ab Boxley, Boxley Materials Company
Dr. John Capps, Central Virginia Community College
Kenneth Craig, Liberty University
Beverly Dalton, English Construction
Sandy Davis, BCR Property Management
Dr. John Dooley, Virginia Tech Foundation
Watt Foster, Foster Fuels
William Fralin, Medical Facilities of America
Dr. Michael Friedlander, VT Carilion Research Center
Don Halliwill, Carilion Clinic
Mike Hamlar, Hamlar-Curtis Funeral Home, PAC director
Dr. Brian Hemphill, Radford University
Dr. Victor Iannello, Radiant Physics, Radiant Ventures (R&D)
Terry Jamerson, Roanoke Times
Dr. Pareena Lawrence, Hollins University
Floyd Merryman, Sonny Merryman
Marty Muscatello, FoxGuard Solutions
Debbie Petrine, Commonwealth Care of Roanoke, VT BOV
John Putney, Town of Bedford IDA
Georgeann Snead, EDM Inc.
Dr. Ray Smoot, Union Bank and Trust
John Williamson, RCG Resources


Stopping the Brain Drain Strategy Development (Enhanced Capacity Building) works through the Roanoke Regional Partnership (RRP) to develop a complete talent attraction and retention program for the GO Virginia Region 2 service area. The project will examine the challenges in attracting talent from the 25 colleges and universities in the region, retaining young professionals, challenges faced by regional employers in recruiting talent, and other concerns in developing talent-focused programs of work. The Region 2 service area has a wealth of available talent for a variety of different fields but fails to keep many in the region post-graduation. There is, however, little data or information on why this challenge exists. Stopping the Brain Drain seeks to overcome the gap and create a Talent Action Coalition that will serve as an action platform in the implementation of retaining talent in the region.

For more information, please contact: Erin Burcham, erin@roanoke.org

GO Virginia Region 2 Talent Collaborative serves the entire GO Virginia Region 2 service region and works to stimulate the region’s economic growth by closing the skill and interest gap in middle-to-high skilled occupations in Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Information Technology. The Talent Collaborative works to create an existing worker-training program that helps priority industries further develop their talent to remain competitive. Furthermore, the Talent Collaborative will create a Region 2 High Demand Career Pathway Educational Campaign to address the interest gap in hard-to-fill, technical occupation across the priority industry clusters, identified in the Growth and Diversification Plan, to develop a sustainable career pathway system for regional jobs. Ultimately, the project will result in increased wages for employees and productivity/profits for employers.

For more information, please contact: Ben Bowman, bbowman@region2000works.org

Enhancing the Region through New Technology for Unmanned Systems works with Dabney S. Lancaster Community College (DSLCC) to build a unique and innovative partnership in the DSLCC Service Region and seeks funding in a new drone technology program to meet the needs of the Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone. The project creates 18 high-wage jobs and attract three to five new businesses to the area. The project focuses on exhibiting pathways to middle and high school students in the region, so students become aware there are a growing number of interesting, challenging, and rewarding jobs available and what the foundational knowledge and skill sets needed to perform these jobs are in the region. Funds are used to purchase and roll out drone technology training courses to develop the Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone program to train students for potential employers.

For more information, please contact: Dr. John Rainone, pbartley@dslcc.edu


Capital Ecosystem Development (Enhanced Capacity Building) examines the Region 2 capital ecosystem to understand the current landscape and find ways to strengthen formal pathways to capital for businesses and entrepreneurs. The project will create a Capital Landscape Study to understand and describe the various sources of capital in the region through surveys and interviews with entrepreneurs and investors in the region. Through this study, analysis will determine a capital access plan that would be most effective for Region 2 to connect businesses and entrepreneurs with investors throughout the region.

For more information, please contact: Meredith Hundley, mhundley@valleysinnovation.org

Regional Acceleration and Mentorship Program (RAMP) Expansion works with the City of Roanoke, Virginia Western Community College, and the RBTC to assist technology-based startups with access to classroom education, mentoring, and assistance in identifying capital. RAMP has previously supported one cohort through the program and current funds will help build a diverse mentor network, provide mentors and entrepreneurs with education and tools to help grow and develop, and build a pipeline of companies who wish to apply to RAMP, the region’s only accelerator program. Through Pitch-and-Polish clinics, pairing mentors and startups, and beginning a second RAMP cohort, RAMP will strengthen the job and resource network in Region 2.

For more information, please contact: Robert McAden, robert.mcaden@rbtc.tech

Sites and Buildings

Wood Haven Road Water and Sewer Infrastructure Enhancement works through the Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facility Authority (WVRIFA) to improve site readiness and marketability by making the water and sewer utility connections to the site ready for use. Prior to receiving funds, the site, jointly owned by the County of Roanoke and the Cities of Roanoke and Salem through the WVRIFA, was unable to be developed and did not attract businesses to the area. Through the project, the site will be propelled to a Tier 4 readiness standard through the Virginia Businesses Ready Sites Program. The project seeks to attract new businesses to the region through site preparedness.

For more information, please contact: Beth Doughty or John Hull, beth@roanoke.org or john@roanoke.org

Center for Energy Research and Education (CERE) Industry Labs works with Liberty University and Framatome (AREVA Inc.) to create four industry labs including: Chemical/Material Lab, EMC Lab, Calibration Lab, and a Non-Destructive Testing Lab through site preparedness on a 28-acre lot in Bedford, VA. Through developing the land and establishing the labs, the region will be able to attract and build industry support for leading innovations and attract high-growth energy companies to the region.

For more information, please contact: Rich Adams, rdiddams@liberty.edu

a photo of treetops in the roanoke valley and mountains in the background