A Charlottesville-based, African-American led nonprofit has scored a state grant to support a business incubation project for assisting Black entrepreneurs interested in starting up food and beverage businesses.
New Hill Development Corporation received the $150,000 grant to help fund the Black Entrepreneurial Advancement and Community Opportunity Network, or BEACON. The project will help with critical skills needed to start, stabilize, sustain and expand a business.
“We are so pleased to have this support from the state of Virginia to kick off such a vital program,” said Yolunda Harrell, co-founder and CEO of New Hill Development, in a prepared statement. “We hope that this grant will help encourage the wider community to contribute time and resources to the hard work we are doing to support the economic stability of Charlottesville’s Black community.”
A six-week pilot program in January and February will include a training program with in-person and online modules, as well as business support services including marketing, bookkeeping, and payroll management, New Hill officials said.
The organization will develop a commercial kitchen space on Carlton Road, in Charlottesville, to help reduce startup costs. The space will include two fully-equipped, shared-use commercial kitchens and space for entrepreneurs to package products for sale.
From January to June 2022, the culinary incubator is forecasted to serve 20-24 existing and aspiring local business owners.
New Hill will award ten grants of $5,000 each to the most promising incubator participants after the June classes finish.
Partnering on the incubator is Antwon Brinson/Culinary Concepts AB, who will be leading the training portions of the program.
The Central Virginia Small Business Development Center will provide business and technical expertise and support entrepreneurs who graduate from the program. The Community Investment Collaborative and Minority Business Alliance are also participating.
New Hill Development Corporation is an African-American led nonprofit social enterprise established to build financial resilience, economic opportunity and affordable housing in the Greater Charlottesville Black community.
The organization’s vision includes business incubators, financial counseling and an area plan to redevelop Starr Hill as a hub for Black enterprise and home ownership to improve the lives of Black residents in Charlottesville.
The state revitalization grant received by New Hill was one of 33 projects across the commonwealth.
“This is about renovating old buildings, investing in neighborhoods, and launching new businesses,” said Gov. Ralph Northam when announcing the grants. “These projects will greatly benefit Virginia’s local economies and business owners.”
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development administers the grants.