Small Business Assistance


Interested in starting a tourism or recreation business in SWVA? Southwest Virginia is blessed to have so many valuable specialists working to connect you to the right information – Check out these resources below

Opportunity SWVA

Opportunity Southwest Virginia is piloting the way for the region to align resources, highlighting opportunities for entrepreneurs, supporting their efforts, and expanding the spirit they bring to their communities. Through collaborative partnerships, the initiative is working to rally existing and emerging economic and community development efforts to create thriving entrepreneurial communities that will accelerate progress for both new and established ventures.

The coalition of 25 small business support and community development organizations was formed in 2012 to champion the Blueprint for Entrepreneurial Growth & Economic Prosperity in Southwest Virginia.

Rally SWVA

Rally SWVA – Real Action Leadership Learning is building community leadership capacity and reinforcing collaborative, entrepreneurial communities across the region. A strategy of the Opportunity SWVA initiative, Rally SWVA is an action learning mini-grant program that engages community leaders in working together to make their community a better place for small businesses.

The program provides the community with a $3,000 grant for a project that advances the community vision and supports business development. The Rally SWVA process provides positive coaching, leadership development activities, and facilitated discussions that emphasize goal setting based on a shared vision, consensus building, outcome measurement, and moving from talk to action. Within a few months, community members achieve something together toward their shared revitalization goals and then celebrate it (the Y is for YAY!).

  • 17 Rally Communities
  • 135 Participants
  • 36K Invested in Communities
  • Kicking off in summer 2015, the program has worked with 17 vibrant Southwest Virginia communities:

Big Stone Gap, Chilhowie, Cleveland, Coeburn, Damascus, Dante, Dungannon, Gate City, Haysi, Honaker, Lebanon, Narrows, Norton Pocahontas, Richlands, St. Paul and Tazewell.


SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA SUPPORTS ENTREPRENEURS. Opportunity SWVA serves as a trustee for Kiva, vouching for entrepreneurs seeking small loans to expand their businesses. The loans, ranging from a few hundred dollars to $10,000, are funded by your neighbors and friends as well other supporters of the region.With Kiva, local businesses can:

  • Get a 0% interest loan.
  • Market their business.
  • Build business credit.

Check out the Opportunity SWVA informational flyer


Virginia Community Capital

Virginia Community Capital is both a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and a for-profit bank, VCC Bank. As a CDFI, they are able to offer credit and financial services to people, businesses, and communities who are not served by traditional lenders.

More about Virginia Community Capital

Virginia Community Capital Community Programs

“The projects we back are sometimes considered “too complicated” from the broader financial community, but with our flexible financial products and advisory services, we support housing and community development ventures, help businesses grow, and build sustainable communities.”

Many of our projects are “mission-focused,” addressing global-social challenges such as healthcare, housing, food access, clean energy, and job creation and retention.”

“New Economy Loan Fund”

Entrepreneurship has the potential to boost local economies by tapping local talent and resources and to help keep rural populations from declining even further. Through the New Economy Loan Fund, VCC is providing critical growth financing and technical assistance for small businesses and projects in the following nine counties: Buchanan, Dickenson, Giles, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, Washington, and Wise. These communities have relied substantially on the declining coal mining industry as a base for their local economies.

The loan fund will provide needed capital and targeted advisory services to small business owners to support growth and success of current economic priorities and initiatives already underway in these communities. The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) has committed an investment of $100,000 to fund a loan loss reserve pool to support the fund’s lending activities.”

Adventure Tourism Workshop

Adventure Tourism Workshop highlights regional initiatives, opportunities, best practices and expert advice for starting an adventure tourism business in Southwest Virginia

They’re back! Friends of Southwest Virginia, Virginia Community Capital and Virginia Tourism Corporation have decided to extended the continuation of Adventure Tourism Workshops. The workshops are a continuation of the four hosted in the fall of 2017. Have you thought about starting a business? Do you love the outdoors? Why not combine the two and launch a business to support the growth of outdoor recreation in Southwest Virginia. Southwest Virginia’s outdoor recreation initiatives are opening doors for one of the largest industries worldwide and this workshop outlines the regional initiatives, opportunities, best practices, resources, expert advice and steps required to start a successful adventure tourism business. Hear from local entrepreneurs and professionals providing an update on tourism initiatives in the region, along with resources for starting, marketing and financing a business.

Workshop topics include:

  • Regional Tourism Initiatives
  • Local Entrepreneur Testimonial
  • Steps to Starting a Business
  • Marketing Strategies
  • Financing/managing resources
  • Available resources