Meeting highlights synergies for economic transformation – Farmville

As part of the organization’s latest initiative to foster business-led economic development in the Commonwealth, GO Virginia Region 3 showcased successful collaborations among Southern Virginia partners and grantees at the annual All -Hands, held on May 5, 2022 at the Prizery in South Boston.

GOVA Region 3 Board Chair Randy Lail welcomed business leaders, educators, government officials and community members to the All-Hands Meeting, where attendees heard from speakers representing organizations and institutions dedicated to the economic vitality of Southern Virginia. Keynote speaker, the Honorable Nicole Riley, Under Secretary of Labor in the Office of the Governor of Virginia, focused on regional cooperation and workforce development in the Commonwealth.

This year’s event focused on direct grant recipients and highlighted small business successes and programs. Among these was Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC), which demonstrated the organization’s real-time outreach efforts by featuring two local college classes at the Zoom meeting. The day also featured several networking breaks and offered a post-meeting tour of the SOVA Innovation Center and the GO TEC Technology Bus.

“It’s exciting to see firsthand those who have benefited from the support of the GO Virginia Region 3 Council over the past few years,” said Randy Lail, Chair of the GOVA Region 3 Council. “Seeing all of our partners gathered in one place to recognize our accomplishments reminds us that together we are doing great things in Region 3.”

Presentations explored entrepreneurship, workforce development, business continuity and recovery, and leadership development. Highlights included:

An update on GOVA’s Liz Povar and Nancy Pool’s 2021 Growth and Diversification Plan, noting Region 3’s investment in 10 projects mobilizing over $9 million in non-state, private and philanthropic funding since 2017 .

Discussion on the Regional Entrepreneurship and Innovation Initiative by Lauren Mathena of the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation and Sheri McGuire of the Office of Community and Economic Development at Longwood University. Organizations featured included Rise Collaborative, SOVA Innovation Center, and Project SEED, a new innovation center planned for Farmville, Virginia.

An overview of a major workforce development initiative led by Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC) by Dr. Julie Brown and Jacob Taylor of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR). GO TEC introduces career paths in technology and engineering to middle school students, supporting them with advanced-level training.

A summary of Bridge to Recovery work by Linda Green and Samantha Smith-Herndon of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance. Bridge to Recovery created a network that allowed businesses in need of specific business services or products to connect with businesses in Region 3 that had those services and products available during the pandemic; over the past 18 months, the program has identified 111 suppliers.

Remarks on the importance of community leadership development by Dr. Larry Terry, representing the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at AVU.

“Our superpower in Region 3 brings people together,” said Tim Clark, incoming Region 3 President of GOVA. “When I moved to the region 23 years ago, everyone was working in silos. Nobody wanted to communicate or associate, but everything changed. We move the needle. We support programs that are now being developed in other regions. It is magic.

Region 3 particularly enjoyed the following All-Hands Meeting supporters: The Kitchen Table, Letterpress Communications, The Prizery and SOVA Innovation Hub. To learn more about GOVA Region 3 initiatives or to get involved, visit www.govirginia3.org.

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