Fredericksburg has been named the “Small Business Community of the Year” by the Richmond office of the Small Business Administration, the SBA Richmond office announced today. “The SBA is very honored to recognize Fredericksburg as the SBA Small Business Community of the Year,” said Jayne Armstrong, district director of the SBA’s Richmond District Office. “Small business historically has been the cornerstone of Fredericksburg’s economy. This, in addition to the city’s incentives to attract and retain small businesses and its collaboration with economic development partners at the federal, state and local levels, clearly distinguishes it as a role model.” The first annual award recognizes a community in the SBA Richmond District Office territory that demonstrates a small business friendly environment for start-up and expanding small businesses. Cities, towns, counties and planning districts are evaluated based on key programs and incentives to attract and retain small businesses; a successful small business that they supported with the programs and incentives; and the leveraging of their economic development resources with other federal, state and local resources to benefit local small businesses.
Fredericksburg offers a dozen key programs targeting small businesses, ranging from Opportunity Fund Grants and Commercial Façade Improvement Matching Grants to real estate tax abatements and an inter-departmental monthly open house. The city also offers incentives through its designated technology zones, tourism zones and an arts and cultural district. Fredericksburg also actively promotes its city-wide designation as a SBA HUBZone to attract prospective businesses interested in government contracting.
Last year the city’s Economic Development and Tourism department initiated a familiarization session for local businesses to learn how to seek business with two large city institutions, the University of Mary Washington and Mary Washington Health Care. The department has been a strong proponent of the city’s developing Main Street program.
“We are extremely honored to have Fredericksburg named as the SBA Small Business Community of the Year,” said Mary Katherine Greenlaw, mayor of the City of Fredericksburg. “In my public and professional roles, I daily see the special impact that small businesses have on our community,” she continued. “They are our lifeblood. The City Council and staff work diligently to collaborate with our business partners for the benefit of the entire community. This award is an affirmation of those efforts.”
“This award reflects on the city’s commitment to small business success,” said Karen Hedelt, Director of Economic Development and Tourism. “Our City Council, Economic Development Authority, other boards and commissions and city staff all cooperate to recruit, expand and retain small businesses.”
The City of Fredericksburg will share the honor with the Town of Marion, said Armstrong.
“Our initial intent was to recognize one Virginia community, but the selection committee was so impressed with all of the nominations that they decided to honor both Fredericksburg as a city and Marion as a small rural town,” said Jayne Armstrong, district director of the SBA’s Richmond District Office.” “Fredericksburg and Marion are economic development role models for communities across Virginia who understand small businesses are the driving force behind our economy.” The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Richmond District Office will honor Fredericksburg and Marion as SBA’s 2013 Small Business Communities of the Year at its annual Small Business Week awards luncheon, “Stand up for Small Business” on Monday, June 24 from 11 a.m., to 2 p.m., at the Richmond Westin Hotel.
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