News Release
January 15, 2021

CBIC Awarded $76,500 GO Virginia Grant to Build Digital Connection Platform for Charlottesville/Region 9 Business Community

Project underway and expected to launch in stages in the first quarter of 2021

(Charlottesville, VA) ... The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for virtual and remote connections for everyone in the business communities of Charlottesville/Albemarle and the greater Region 9 counties. While virtual connections were a growing option for many prior to the pandemic, they became a lifeline and a necessity for many this past year.

The Charlottesville Business Innovation Council (CBIC) will build a virtual Connector Platform for Region 9 and launch it in stages in the first quarter of 2021. The cloud-based platform and mobile app will be a robust and dynamic centralized platform that provides the connections, tools, resources and information necessary to guide, bolster and support the Region's entrepreneurial ecosystem at all levels during the pandemic and beyond. Potential users of the connector platform will be individuals, businesses, startups, investors, innovators, non-profits, and economic development professionals.

Users of the Platform will be able to network with other individuals and businesses on multiple levels, easily access a centralized calendar of local business-related events and work opportunities, and businesses will have the opportunity to list themselves and promote their services in a searchable database. Anyone who signs onto the platform via the Web or mobile devices will be able to do customized searches of businesses and services across the region.

CBIC is working closely with the Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development (CVPED), the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center (CVSBDC), as well as the Economic Development Departments of the City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle, among others, in developing the Connector Platform.

CVPED's Helen Cauthen stated "[t]he Connector Platform will offer our region a next-generation platform that will be a springboard for interactive searchability far beyond the capability of a traditional website. We believe this project will enhance and fortify the tech industry and other existing businesses and help build our entrepreneurial ecosystem. This resource will help our region respond to COVID and provide more fuel for start-ups and growing existing companies."

CVSBDC's Rebecca Haydock stated "[w]e believe CBIC’s proposed virtual connection engine will enhance entrepreneurial connectivity, both to other entrepreneurs and mentors, as well as to local business support resources. We believe it will foster enhanced collaboration between business, government, and educational institutions."

CBIC’s Tracey Greene elaborated “[t[his digital hub will be a powerful tool for our entire regional ecosystem and CBIC has chosen to not brand it as a CBIC asset, but instead a valuable resource that belongs to the community. The platform’s name and logo will be an indicator of the strong collaboration and cooperation across many organizations and regions, as well as the breadth of its usability.”

The Charlottesville Business Innovation Council is the region's technology council. Its mission is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, and support growth and success among the Charlottesville region's technology-focused organizations. CBIC provides a forum for ideas and a collective voice on behalf of the technology sector. Through collaborative partnerships, educational resources, and strategic relationships, CBIC enhances, publicizes, and champions technology initiatives that strengthen the region's economic and social vitality.

The Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development (Partnership) is a non-profit, public/private partnership that combines the expertise and resources of private sector businesses, the City of Charlottesville and eight counties, and higher education including the University of Virginia, Germanna Community College, and Piedmont Virginia Community College. Its mission is to advance innovative strategies for regional economic prosperity.

The Central Virginia Small Business Development Center is a stakeholder in the Commonwealth of Virginia and actively aids, counsels, assists and protects the interests of small business concerns to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of
Region 9 and beyond.

This Connector Platform project was funded in part by GO Virginia, a state-funded initiative administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) that strengthens and diversifies Virginia's economy and fosters
the creation of higher-wage jobs in strategic industries.

Contact:
Tracey Greene
CBIC Executive Director
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(434) 242-5886

John Martin
CBIC Director and Connector Platform Product Manager
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(310) 948-6219