Business

Fruits and Vegetables

Southern Virginia Produce Processing Facility Project – Buyer Survey

The Brunswick County Industrial Development Association (IDA), in cooperation with Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), is planning the development of a produce processing facility in the town of Lawrenceville. The project will assess supply and demand and will facilitate linking producers with buyers. The project will benefit local producers by providing a facility for cold storage and value-added processing and will benefit buyers by providing a consistent source of quality produce and value-added products. Goals include increasing the amount of produce purchased and consumed locally (within a multi-county region). To move forward with this project, we need input from potential buyers. Please complete this brief survey and return to Cynthia Gregg, Brunswick County VCE. Your insights are greatly appreciated.

To download, right click this link and select Save As: Download Survey

Email: clgregg@vt.edu
Mail: Cynthia Gregg, 100 Tobacco St, Lawrenceville, VA 23868

Produce-Buyer-Survey

woman working on laptop

Why On-Premise Phone Solutions Fall Short in Supporting Remote Workforces

With most on-premise and legacy PBX solutions, the use of a desk phone relies on being hardwired to the PBX and PSTN networks. But these outdated phone systems weren’t built to accommodate the large remote workforces that we’re seeing today.

Companies that don’t support a bring-your-own-device environment are extremely challenged right now in four key areas:

  1. Security: The inability to secure these devices and workflows puts confidential company information at risk with each call, creating an IT administrator’s nightmare. 
  2. Functionality: Lack of key business PBX features for admins, sales, support, and managers can negatively impact the way a business runs in today’s environment.
  3. Remote administration: Legacy solutions often are not easily managed offsite, making them difficult to update and troubleshoot.
  4. Customer operations: Inbound calls to the main business number need to be answered from anywhere and calls need to be routed to the right employees, especially for sales and support.

Read the rest from Zoom: https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/04/21/on-premise-phone-solutions-fall-short-supporting-remote-workforces/

coronavirus

MEETING CANCELLED

Due to the COVID19 Pandemic and the Governor’s Executive Stay at Home Order, the April IDA monthly Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 14, 2020 has been CANCELLED.

SBA COVID-19 header

SBA Updates Criteria on States for Requesting Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Source: https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/sba-updates-criteria-states-requesting-disaster-assistance-loans-small-businesses-impacted

Release Date: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Release Number: 20-26
Contact: Jennifer.Kelly@sba.gov, (202) 205-7036

WASHINGTON – Today, as part of the Trump Administration’s aggressive, whole-of-government efforts to combat the Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and minimize economic disruption to the nation’s 30 million small businesses, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza issued revised criteria for states or territories seeking an economic injury declaration related to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The relaxed criteria will have two immediate impacts:

  • Faster, Easier Qualification Process for States Seeking SBA Disaster Assistance. Historically, the SBA has required that any state or territory impacted by disaster provide documentation certifying that at least five small businesses have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of a disaster, with at least one business located in each declared county/parish. Under the just-released, revised criteria, states or territories are only required to certify that at least five small businesses within the state/territory have suffered substantial economic injury, regardless of where those businesses are located.
  • Expanded, Statewide Access to SBA Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses. SBA disaster assistance loans are typically only available to small businesses within counties identified as disaster areas by a Governor. Under the revised criteria issued today, disaster assistance loans will be available statewide following an economic injury declaration. This will apply to current and future disaster assistance declarations related to Coronavirus.

“We’re very encouraged that banks and financial institutions are responding to the President’s efforts to mobilize an unprecedented public-private response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As a result, most small businesses that need credit during these uncertain times will be able to obtain it. However, our goal is to ensure that credit is available to any and all small businesses that need credit but are unable to access it on reasonable terms through traditional lending channels,” said Administrator Carranza. “To that end, the SBA is relaxing the criteria through which states or territories may formally request an economic injury declaration, effective immediately. Furthermore, once an economic injury declaration has been made in a state or territory, the new rules allow the affected small businesses within the state or territory to apply for a disaster assistance loan.”

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for each affected small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

Process for Accessing SBA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Lending

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
  • Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available statewide to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
  • Once a declaration is made, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to affected small businesses within the state.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

For additional information, please visit the SBA disaster assistance website at SBA.gov/Disaster.

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About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov

brunswick county board of supervisors at ribbon cutting

Ribbon Cutting

On Tuesday, January 14, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam was the keynote speaker at the Ribbon Cutting for Echo Communications, LLC which is located at 300 North Main Street, Lawrenceville, VA (Old Bank of America Building). Pictured below with the governor are members of the Brunswick County Board of Supervisors, Gloria Mene-Weather Woods, IDA Chairman Brunswick, Vice Chair Morris D aylor County IDA, Mayor Scott Martin,   Business Director for IDA Mike Dotti  CJ Dean, Town Manager, Lawrenceville Town Council, and Kristin Muzzy Echo World, Carl Townsend CEO Echo World Communications.

electronics server

Mecklenburg co-op aids regional broadband expansion

Source: http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mecklenburg-co-op-aids-regional-broadband-expansion
by Kate Andrews

High-speed internet availability sealed the deal for a new
call center, says Michael Dotti. Photo by Mark Rhodes

High-speed fiber-optic internet service still eludes about 50% of Virginians, but the state’s Southside region is making progress.

In the town of Lawrenceville, the former Bank of America branch on Main Street has sat empty for two years. However, in late September, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Bedford County-based Echo World Communications LLC is set to locate a call center in the former bank building next year. It’s expected to create up to 152 new jobs.

It never would have happened if the building couldn’t have been equipped with high-speed, reliable internet, says Michael Dotti, business director of the Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority. “It’s a huge amount of technology. This was like small-town guys getting it done.”

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) is wiring the bank building this fall at no cost to Brunswick, with funding from Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp., which started in 2004 as a cooperative to bring fiber-optic networks to rural Virginia. The broadband cooperative also has installed about 90 miles of fiber cables in six Southern Virginia counties, with 45 more miles planned by the end of 2020.

MEC also has proposed the purchase of Buggs Island Telephone Cooperative (BIT) by MEC affiliate Empower Broadband. The merger is contingent on BIT’s 4,500 customers, who have been asked to submit votes by Nov. 13.

“We expect it will speed up the process of putting fiber in this area,” says David Lipscomb, MEC’s vice president of member and energy services and vice president of Empower. MEC’s customer base averages only seven properties per mile, he says, so the greater population density around BIT’s service area in Lake Gaston will provide more revenue and help fund high-speed internet expansion in the region.

The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, which has awarded MEC nearly $3 million in grants, also has been instrumental in building local network infrastructure.

MEC was in a position to help Lawrenceville install high-speed internet at the bank branch, even though it’s not in its service area, Lipscomb notes. As a result, the county was able to attract the call center.

Broadband is “the tool that you need in this world for businesses to want to be in a rural community,” says Carthan Currin III, former director of the tobacco commission and now Brunswick County’s director of economic development. “I think Mecklenburg is really at the forefront of the commonwealth, but we’re coming. We’re making every effort.”