Richmond, Va. (Nov. 29, 2018) – Seven local businesses in Richmond’s East End received Supporting East End Entrepreneurship Development (SEED) grant awards today, totaling $110,000. Bon Secours and Virginia Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) created the SEED program in 2011 as an economic development and job creation initiative for Richmond’s East End.
The SEED program provides grants to business owners who plan to open or expand a business within the city of Richmond, along the 25th Street and Nine Mile Road corridor. Today’s announcement, the seventh in program history, consisted of four first-time award recipients: BareSoul Yoga & Wellness, Carolina BBQ, EZ Body & Auto Repair Services and Favour Cookie Company. They join three businesses that have received SEED awards in prior years: The Neighborhood Scoop, Soul N’ Vinegar and The Yard Guy.
“The SEED program is an important initiative for Bon Secours. As a faith based, mission driven health care organization, our goal is to improve the overall health of our communities through health promotion, job creation, food access, education and affordable housing,” said Toni R. Ardabell, market president, Bon Secours Richmond. “For seven years, this program has been a catalyst for a new vibrancy in the East End. We are thrilled to see new faces this year, and also returning entrepreneurs, all of whom have decided to make a difference in their community.”
Since the program’s inception, a total of $514,500 in SEED awards distributed throughout 52 grants has helped 35 East End businesses take root in the community. Since 2011 Bon Secours has contributed $469,500 toward small business grants, and since 2014, Capital One has donated $45,000.
“We at Virginia LISC have greatly enjoyed working with the SEED businesses – expanding and bringing increased investment and economic vitality into the community,” said Candice Streett, executive director of Virginia LISC. “These businesses and entrepreneurs are doing their part to make the East End a desirable place to live, work, conduct business and raise a family.”
Beyond the grant funding, Virginia LISC provides the SEED recipients with business planning and coaching to teach each business owner key strategies for how to run a successful business. Both Bon Secours and Capital One have provided funding beyond their grant donations to cover the cost of these critical business-mentoring services.
The 2018 SEED Blue Ribbon Panel, which selected the 2018 SEED recipients, includes; Becky Clay Christensen, administrative director, community development, Bon Secours; Chad Eisele, managing vice president/chief financial officer, domestic branded and partnership card, Capital One; Shekinah Mitchell, neighborhood partnerships manager, Virginia LISC; Candice Streett, executive director, Virginia LISC; Barb Upchurch, business coach/consultant, Blueberry Marketing; and Albert Walker, director of healthy communities, Bon Secours.