Category Archives: Business

Chamber of Commerce selects new president

A woman who has spent many years working for the United States Chamber of Commerce has been selected to serve as next president and chief executive officer of the local counterpart. 

Natalie S. Masri will begin work leading the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce this Thursday. Masri has spent the last 12 years at the Center for Women in Business at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

“Businesses play a vital role in making our communities stronger, and the Chamber is the voice of the business community, serving as a champion, convener and catalyst,” Masri is quoted in a press release. “Having worked with chambers around the country as they tackle local challenges, I’m eager to apply those lessons in my home community.” 

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Charlottesville’s new economic development plan to focus on inclusivity, workforce development

Charlottesville is in the midst of writing up a document intended to guide how economic development should be conducted by the local government. Resonance Consulting of New York City was awarded the contract to create a strategic plan for the topic.

“First and foremost, Charlottesville is a diverse and young community with an authentic small-town charm,” said Resonance Vice President Steven Pedigo at the May 15 meeting of Charlottesville City Council. “Charlottesville is home to a highly skilled work force, a variety of industries, and a really strong healthy economy.” (view the presentation)

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Chamber official details defense sector’s 1.2 billion impact on community

A new study has quantified the economic impact the military and defense sector plays in the region.

“We’re not manufacturing tanks, we’re not doing weapons systems,” said Lettie Bien, the program manager for the Defense Affairs Committee of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We’re not doing weapons systems. This is mostly intelligence, research and development.” 

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CvilleBioHub awarded $100,000 for CvilleBioLab

Several technology groups across the Fifth District have been awarded funding from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s GO Virginia grant program. GO stands for Growing Opportunities. 

  • Lynchburg Career Acceleration program: A nonprofit called Lynchburg Beacon of Hope has been awarded $540,000 for something called the Career Acceleration Model which is described as “a regional catalyst for the Lynchburg region to create and fill a pipeline of career-seekers that will meet the needs of high-demand traded sector industries.” Beacon of Hope is a partnership between city schools and local business and the idea is to create 112 internships serving 24 businesses. (Region 2)
  • Center of Entrepreneurship: The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance has been awarded $240,192 for a physical space that “will provide local entrepreneurs with a shared workspace, increased access to capital, business development events, and training and development support, as well as a support services network.” This will create 42 jobs serving 20 businesses. (Region 2)
  • Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) Expanding GO TEC Pathways: SVCC has been awarded $139,732 to help increase dual enrollment to train people in the mechatronics industry. I will admit I had to look up what “mechatronics” means. The goal is to train 45 students and award over 165 credentials. (Region 3)
  • CvilleBioLab: CvilleBioHub is a nonprofit that seeks to double the size of the biotech industry in the area around Charlottesville by 2030. They were awarded $100,000 to help open a new “wet lab incubator and accelerator that will be available to emerging biotechnology firms in the region.” (Region 9) 
  • Metal Workforce Training Center: The Economic Development Authority for the Town of Bedford was awarded $99,900 for the creation of something called the Regional Metal Workforce Retention Center. This will “refine a public-private business model that encourages corporate participation and facilitates the expansion of the Central Virginia Community College (CVCC) Career Technical Education (CTE) Academy, filling the institutional gap between formal certificate-level training and the specific skills needed by local industries.” (Region 2)
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Vacant storefronts filling in at Barracks Road Shopping Center

The Charlottesville Office of Economic Development keeps track of six areas across the city to see how well storefronts are doing. Filled or empty? The latest figures were released earlier this month. (view the report)

The study looks at the Downtown Mall, the Corner, Barracks Road Shopping Center, McIntire Plaza, Preston Plaza, and Seminole Square. The report only looks at the ground floor and does not include vacancies if a space is being renovated for a future tenant. Vacant office spaces are also not counted.

The January 2023 vacancy report from the Office of Economic Development
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Champion hands over beer distribution and licensing to North Carolina company

A Charlottesville brewery that launched in 2012 and spawned a restaurant group will now have the bulk of their distribution conducted by a North Carolina “beverage platform” called Bevana. 

“All of the breweries’ distribution will now be handled by the platform, alongside their ever-growing portfolio of independent craft partners,” reads a press release sent out Tuesday.

Ten people have been laid off according to a spokesperson for Champion. 

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