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Mind your own business

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Free Programs To Help Entrepreneurs Use Their Minds In Their Business

Virginia's Growth Alliance economic development region has developed an innovative entrepreneurial initiative called Think Bigger, and businesses who participate in the following programs will automatically earn bonus points to qualify for funding from VGA's new revolving loan fund.

The failure to plan is at the root of most small business failures, where the old adage, “fail to plan, plan to fail,” couldn't be truer. VGA is here to help.

The Think Bigger initiative kicks off for the Spring in mid-May with Longwood Small Business Development Center's bold new program, the UpStart Entrepreneur Bootcamp. This exciting series is designed for serious participants to learn from face-to-face, hands-on application through 6 sessions. Students will learn interactively using the best content from around the world, applying it locally with professional experts and peers in real time.

Real world experts will work with participants to create and test assumptions with real potential customers in a structured way, tracking their progress as they work to develop a meaningful business model.

A student from the Fall 2014 session said, “The UPstart class was ideal for me as it offered the tools that helped me see if my idea would make a good business or if it was more of a hobby. After working the Business Model I was given suggestions and information that took me down a path well suited to my goals. The information given in the class is invaluable to anyone who thinks they might want to go into business themselves. The speakers are well selected professionals offering information on marketing a business and financing. The teachers make the entire experience flow from the beginning to the end, always approachable, very supportive and enthusiastic.”

Also beginning in May is the Think Bigger Marketing workshop series, produced by marketing and design firm Glerin Business Resources. Participants in these 6 workshops will learn how to combine social media with traditional marketing, create an easy-to-use marketing plan, and market their businesses and sell online for free through VGA's new websites, ShopLocalVGA.com and VirginiasGreatAdventures.com.

To top it off, one outstanding marketing workshop participant AND their VGA member community will win $750 in free design services from Glerin - $1500 total.

Businesses who combine the UpStart Entrepreneur Bootcamp with the Think Bigger Marketing workshops automatically position themselves to become more successful and build more value.

If you're serious about growing your business – or starting a new one - go to thinkbiggerVGA.com/grow and submit the form to let VGA, LSBDC, and Glerin know you're interested in participating, and in which locality you prefer to attend. Localities will be determined by the level of interest in each. For more information on UpStart, call 434-395-2360 or email mcguiresr@longwood.edu.

These programs are FREE to businesses and residents within the VGA region, thanks to funding from VGA, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Virginia Tourism Corporation, in partnership with Southside Virginia Community College.

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A pioneer of business use of the web, Lisa founded Glerin Business Resources in 1996 and has been developing websites professionally since. A former CPA who was bored with accounting, she was intrigued with the idea of being able to use her business experience in a more creative way; web development was the perfect fit.


Glerin uses the power of design, strategy, and digital marketing tools combined with decades of business experience to help grow local economies. The firm is headquartered in Halifax, Virginia with clients throughout the country.