Arlington, VA

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

The GRANT provides immediate financial assistance to Arlington’s small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arlington County today announced 394 businesses are receiving the Small Business Emergency GRANT (Giving Resiliency Assets Near Term).

The GRANT program provides financial assistance to Arlington’s small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The GRANT funds were designed to bridge the gap to provide near-term relief for businesses and nonprofits, some of whom have experienced delays or limitations with federal relief initiatives.

Businesses and nonprofits considered for the GRANT had to be located in Arlington County, have fewer than 50 employees, and demonstrate revenue losses of 35 percent or more as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GRANT is being made on behalf of Arlington County, the Arlington Industrial Development Authority and the Ballston, Crystal City and Rosslyn Business Improvement Districts (BID). The GRANT will provide a total of $2.8 million in funding.

This amount includes an increase of $1.6 million from CARES Act funding that the Arlington County Board approved yesterday — more than doubling the funding available for applicants. Based on the available funding, 394 businesses (53 percent of eligible applicants) will receive a financial grant. Businesses across the County, in a wide variety of industry sectors and geographic locations, received grants.

Award amounts varied, up to $10,000 per business. More than 37 percent are restaurant and food service businesses and nearly 26 percent are personal service businesses, approximately 10% are health and medical businesses and 10 percent are retail businesses. Recommended grantees are concentrated along the major commercial corridors. Nearly 44% of awarded businesses are in the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor (Zip Codes 22201, 22203 and 22209) and 20% are along the Route 1 Corridor (Zip Code 22202). Approximately 13% are in the Columbia Pike Zip Code area.

“With our small businesses among those most affected by the pandemic, the Board thought it was important to provide more funding for GRANT,” Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said. “This new funding will make it possible to provide much-needed funding to more than 50 percent of the eligible applicants. For those that do not receive funding, we still offer business and financial planning assistance. We hope that our small businesses will seek our advice if they would like, and will continue to pursue other avenues of support. We want all our businesses to be able to recover and thrive again as we continue our phased reopening.”

“Throughout the pandemic, we heard over and over again that financial assistance was what our business community needed most,” said Telly Tucker, Director of Arlington Economic Development. “And we’ve kept in constant contact with all our businesses to provide a variety of resources to help, from these GRANT funds to individual meetings to sessions on how to effectively pivot operations in order to continue through the last few months. As we now look forward and begin to reopen, we’re hopeful these GRANT funds will help those businesses hit the hardest — those that would be unable to continue operations without this financial aid.”

Applications were evaluated through a competitive process. More than 1,100 applications were received for consideration. Applications were evaluated based on criteria that considers the impact to employees, business operations and the Arlington business community.

GRANT funds must be used for employee salary and benefits and other business capital and operating expenses directly related to the immediate impacts of COVID-19. Recipients are required to submit a final report to Arlington Economic Development and provide documentation of grant use.

A list of the GRANT recipients is available on the Arlington Economic Development website.

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This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Alex Held, BizLaunch

As small businesses navigate how they reopen and when, one thing remains certain, no small business wants to be forced to close because of large gatherings or be seen on social media enabling an environment that isn’t safe in the era of COVID-19.

In order to help small businesses thrive, BizLaunch along with our partners, has developed a series of webinars called Onward Arlington. Each webinar will focus on a specific aspect of reopening processes small business owners need to consider, protecting the safety of their customers, employees and themselves.

In our first webinar Onward Arlington: Reopening Safely During the Era of COVID-19, BizLaunch is bringing a host of subject matter experts from across Arlington County Government to address policies and regulations to open business safely. At the end of this webinar business owners will understand Phase One of Forward Virginia, and how their industry is affected, and will also address the new process for temporary outdoor restaurant seating.

While understanding the regulations and requirements is fundamental, small businesses will also need to be prepared to handle questions, emotions, attitudes, opinions and even fears customers and returning employees may have as they reopen. What can customers and employees expect as small businesses reopen? How can small business owners best communicate their new normal? How can small businesses remain nonpartisan in the COVID-19 era?

In our second webinar Onward Arlington: Communicating the New Normal, we’ll be addressing these issues while helping small business owners develop the right message for their customers and discuss practical communication vehicles to help business owners communicate their message effectively.

As we move through future phases of Forward Virginia, we’ll continue to provide small businesses with timely content and resources to support as we transition together through our new normal. For more information on business resources visit www.bizlaunch.org.

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This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

Recently, the Arlington County Board approved the creation of the special Arlington Small Business Emergency GRANT Program.

In Arlington Economic Development, we’ve been reaching out to the business community since this pandemic began, and what we heard was needed most was access to capital. We wanted to do something to help. And now, with additional contributions from the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) as well as the Rosslyn and Crystal City BIDs, the fund is at more than $1 million.

It’s a countywide effort for a good cause — supporting the small businesses that make up the character of Arlington County.

The Arlington Small Business Emergency GRANT (Giving Resiliency Assets Near Term) Program will offer competitive grants of up to $10K to Arlington companies that have been directly affected by COVID-19. To be eligible, businesses must have an Arlington County business license, be in good standing on Arlington County taxes and have fewer than 50 employees.

To apply, businesses also need to demonstrate that they’ve experienced at least 35% of revenue decline because of the pandemic and provide details on how grant funds will be used to support employee salary and benefits and other business capital and operating expenses directly related to the immediate impacts of COVID-19. A diverse panel will review the grant proposals and consider a variety of criteria, including need, business sustainability, and level of business disruption from the pandemic to ensure we can assist as many businesses as possible.

Applications will open in early May, and the application process will be open for two weeks. In the meantime, individuals can sign up to be notified as soon as the application goes live online.

Arlington Economic Development’s outreach has shown that more than 90% of Arlington’s small businesses have reported that the closures and modifications associated with the pandemic have been significantly disruptive to their businesses, and the GRANT program is just one way Arlington Economic Development and its BizLaunch team are working to help Arlington’s business community weather this crisis.

In the coming week, additional Information will be available regarding the GRANT in English, Spanish and Amharic with the application itself also available in multiple languages. We have counselors available for one-on-one virtual sessions.

More information is available on the COVID-19 Support section of the AED website, or those with questions can call us at 703-228-0808.

We’ve all learned a lot in the last few weeks, but what this pandemic has shown us more than ever is that Arlington’s business community is innovative, resilient and above all, ready to do whatever it takes to remain strong. We’re going to be here to do all we can to help make that happen.

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This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Alex Held, BizLaunch

Calling out to all our cool quarantine kids, we’re still #BizStrongArlVa and because Arlington loves its small businesses, we wanted to share with you how you can show your favorite small business some love.

https://twitter.com/AEDBizLaunch/status/1248619723907981312

On April 10, BizLaunch and the Arlington Restaurant Initiative along with community partners such as the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, Rosslyn BID, Crystal City BID, Ballston BID and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, kicked off a day long tweet storm highlighting local businesses and providing timely information. Throughout the day residents tagged their favorite local business using the #BizStrongArlVa and small businesses highlighted their products and services, unique ways in which they have pivoted and special hours and pickup or delivery options.

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This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Alex Held, BizLaunch

While we are experiencing unprecedented times, it’s important to know we are in this together and we will overcome this as a community.

In challenging times, small business owners wear many hats and keep changing hats as they work to retain their staff and fight the effects of COVID-19. Today Governor Northam’s executive order goes into effect limiting gatherings to less than 10, closure of dining areas such as restaurants (restaurants may still offer takeout and delivery) and closure of public access to recreational facilities such as theaters, fitness centers and more. It truly is an unprecedented day.

Representing almost a quarter of all employment (47,834 jobs) in Arlington County, small businesses have always served as an integral component of the local economy encompassing 92% of all business establishments. Not surprisingly to what we have encountered, many of the early responses to Arlington Economic Development’s recent business survey indicated small businesses are feeling the pain.

If you haven’t yet, please take AED’s COVID-19 business survey. For the small businesses wearing more hats, here are five tools to survive a pandemic:

  1. New Grant Opportunity — Arlington/Alexandria Layoff Aversion Program: Layoff aversion funds can be utilized to help maintain business operations. Such examples include cleaning/sanitation service, purchase of software or remote access supplies such as laptops, or the purchase of an online sales platform. Applications are accepted through March 27 at 5 p.m. with award notifications on March 30. For more information or to apply visit the Alexandria/Arlington Workforce Council or join our webinar on Thursday with the SBA and the workforce council.
  2. SBA Disaster Assistance: Arlington businesses can apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans in which qualified borrowers can receive up to $2 million for working capital. In addition, SBA is implementing automatic deferment on existing SBA Disaster Loans through end of 2020. To help businesses in applying for loans, BizLaunch in partnership with the SBA for an online webinar on Thursday to provide businesses a forum to ask questions and learn what documents are required.
  3. Unemployment Insurance: For businesses who have had to lay employees off because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Northam has directed that the one week waiting period to receive benefits be suspended. For detailed instructions on how to apply for unemployment benefits visit the Virginia Employment Commission or join us on Thursday to hear from the Arlington Employment Center and the SBA.
  4. BizLaunch Resources: We’ve been curating and providing resources to help businesses on our website to provide you with easy access to information as well as information on the virus.
  5. Webinars: All of our webinars including those on emergency management and our most recent on maintaining sales during a pandemic are available online and can be used to reference. New topics will be announced in the coming days.

Most importantly the BizLaunch team is here for you. We’re taking appointments by Microsoft Teams or over the phone, and we are here to answer your questions or to provide you with the tools you need to support your business during these challenging times.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive information about upcoming topics and information about additional resources. We look forward in seeing everybody safe and healthy soon; however, in the meantime, please stay in touch with us and let us know how you and your business are coping during these unprecedented times.

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This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Tara Palacios

What’s the Virginia SWaM Program you may ask yourself?

The SWaM Procurement Initiative was established to enhance business opportunities for small, women and minority-owned businesses and to ensure a level playing field for all small businesses in the Commonwealth of Virginia. SWaM is the acronym for Small, Women- and Minority-owned businesses. A SWaM vendor is a business that has been certified by the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity and is listed in the SWaM Vendor Directory.

How can I win a SWaMmy?

The Commonwealth of Virginia in partnership with Arlington Economic Development’s BizLaunch is honoring businesses who are certified small, micro, woman-owned, minority-owned and service- disabled veteran-owned *SWaM kicking-off Business Appreciation Month (BAM) May 2020.

The SWaMmy Awards celebrate the successes and the steadfast achievements of our diverse business community in Virginia — who reflect and support our government efforts each day. Year-over-year, small businesses play a fundamental part of our Virginia business ecosystem which is why we are honoring the best of the best.

We need your SWaMmy nominations by COB March 20

Is there a small, micro, woman-owned, minority-owned, or service-disabled veteran-owned business in your Virginia community you’d like to see honored? We cordially ask you share the nomination form with them today.

Simply click here and have the business fill out their personalized information on SurveyMonkey. Be as detailed as possible. We are seeking SWaM businesses in the Commonwealth that have made a direct contribution to their community as well positively growing, and have a unique story to tell.

The top five nominees in each category will be invited to attend the SWaMmy Awards in Richmond on May 4, at the Omni Richmond Hotel from 5-8 p.m. Small businesses are eligible to apply if they receive their SWaM certification by COB March 20.

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This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Tara Palacios

Women are opening businesses at a fast rate.

They are opening businesses exactly five times faster than the national average. In BizLaunch, 60% of new clients are women and we directly see the positive impact of women entrepreneurs on our business ecosystem.

According to the the 2019 State of Women-Owned Business Report commissioned by American Express, “Between 2014 and 2019, the number of women-owned businesses climbed 21% to a total of nearly 13 million (12,943,400). Employment grew by 8% to 9.4 million. Revenue rose 21% to $1.9 trillion.”

The number of “sidepreneurs,” has also increased. [I.e., people who are employed but seeking to launch a business on the side or as a side hustle]. Women are engaging in building sustainability and wealth and using entrepreneurship as a platform to quickly achieve those goals.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month this March, BizLaunch offers two amazing conference opportunities for women who are in business or thinking of going into business:

AWE Summit 2020 — March 12, Marymount University

Join us for the 2nd annual AWE SUMMIT a can’t miss gathering of the most awesome business owners in the D.C. region:

  • Educational and inspiring presentations
  • Informative panels of experts
  • Conversations and connections
  • All-new vendor expo!
  • Morning coffee and a delicious lunch provided
  • 30-Second Pitch competition with $2500 in startup funds

weThrive

Experience a full day of learning tailored to your entrepreneurial journey. Whether you are in the early stages of your business, ready to scale up, or attempting to manage rapid growth, we have a track designed to educate and inspire you. You will self-select from the following life stage tracks:

  • CREATIVITY to Start
  • CONFIDENCE to Scale
  • COURAGE to Soar

Networking Reception: Celebrating Courageous Women

Wednesday, March 18, 6-8 p.m., Arlington Economic Development

The Entrepreneurial Journey Conference

Thursday, March 19, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Silver Spring Civic Center

We hope you can join us!

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This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By BizLaunch Team

In addition to the many tools at BizLaunch’s disposal such as Score, one on one consultations and innovative programming, BizLaunch has another resource for businesses with a unique partnership with Latino Economic Development Center. Here is a little about one of the newest members of Arlington’s small business ecosystem.

As a native Arlingtonian, Eddy Campos-Molina is excited to start working with small businesses in the area. Having been raised in a family of entrepreneurs, Eddy has seen firsthand many of the challenges that small businesses face, particularly in the Latino community.

As a Loan Officer & Small Business Coach for LEDC (Latino Economic Development Center), Eddy’s goal is to provide support to Arlington’s existing small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in three main ways. Through business loans, business advice and credit building.

Business Loans

As a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), LEDC provides alternative micro loan options to start-ups and existing businesses that have difficulty obtaining credit from mainstream financial institutions.

Business Advice

As a Small Business Coach Eddy will be providing hands-on workshops and one-on-one business coaching. LEDC helps launch new enterprises and support existing businesses with business planning, financial projections and marketing support etc.

Credit Building

LEDC also provides access to financial products specifically tailored to build one’s personal credit, along with knowledge of what goes into a credit score and how it impacts one’s financial goals.

Make an appointment with Eddy today! Eddy will also be available to take appointments on Fridays at the Bizlaunch office 1100 N. Glebe Rd. Suite 1500.

You can reach Eddy through his direct number and email listed below:

Eddy Campos-Molina
478-324-2839 
[email protected]

Además de los múltiples recursos que BizLaunch ofrece como consultoría uno a uno con asesores de SCORE y programas innovadores BizLaunch tendrá otro recurso para negocios a través de nuestra asociación con El Centro Latino de Desarrollo Económico (LEDC).  A continuación encontrará más información sobre uno de los nuevos miembros del ecosistema de pequeños negocios de Arlington.

Como nativo de Arlington, Eddy Campos-Molina está entusiasmado de comenzar a trabajar con pequeñas empresas en el área. Siendo hijo de una pequeña empresaria, Eddy ha visto de primera mano muchos de los desafíos que enfrentan las pequeñas empresas, particularmente en la comunidad latina.

Como Oficial de Préstamo y Coach de Pequeñas Empresas para LEDC (Centro Latino de Desarrollo Económico), el objetivo de Eddy es brindar apoyo a las pequeñas empresas existentes y a los emprendedores mediante tres formas principales. A través de préstamos comerciales, asesoramiento empresarial y mejoramiento del puntaje de crédito.

Préstamos comerciales

Como una Institución Financiera de Desarrollo Comunitario Certificada (CDFI), LEDC ofrece opciones alternativas de microcrédito para empresas nuevas y existentes que tienen dificultades para obtener crédito de las instituciones financieras convencionales.

Asesoramiento empresarial

Como entrenador de pequeñas empresas, Eddy ofrecerá talleres de capacitación y asesoramiento individual. LEDC ayuda a lanzar nuevas empresas y a apoya a las empresas existentes con asesoría en planificación comercial, proyecciones financieras y soporte de marketing, etc.

Construcción de historial crediticio

LEDC también proporciona acceso a productos financieros específicamente diseñados para mejorar el puntaje de crédito y brinda conocimiento acerca de cómo construir crédito y lograr sus objetivos financieros.

Haga una cita con Eddy hoy! Eddy también estará disponible para tomar citas los viernes en la oficina de Bizlaunch.

Puede comunicarse con Eddy a través de su número directo y correo electrónico que se enumeran a continuación:

Eddy Campos-Molina
478-324-2839
[email protected]

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This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Alex Held, Small Business Manager, BizLaunch

While the new year provides business owners the opportunity to reflect on their successes of the past year and adjust for the future, 2020 offers a unique opportunity for new beginnings.

Not only are we entering a new decade, but also in 2020 we’re entering a new 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac with the year of the rat, the first zodiac animal. As with any new beginning, it’s important to ensure you’re on solid ground, here are some BizSolutions for success in the new decade.

1. Protect Your Business

In the new year it’s great to look at your insurance policies with your agent. As businesses grow insurance needs change and as you take on more assets you’ll want to ensure they are protected. Additionally, it’s a good opportunity to look at what you’re paying to see if there are any savings that you can leverage.

One thing we can be assured of in the new decade is that small businesses and startups are continually going to be targets of cyber criminals. Luckily our first Brunch & Business of 2020 on January 29, called “Keeping I.T. Real” will help prepare business owners with easy steps that they can become cyber compliant as well as protect their business from future attacks.

2. Automate Simple Tasks

Business owners wear a lot of different hats and can get consumed by all the competing priorities. However, with new automation technology increasingly becoming available, small business owners can automate many of the small tasks that can consume their work day and get back to focusing on what’s important while improving work/life balance.

BizLaunch is hosting a workshop on January 9, called “Get Work Off Your Plate“, to help business owners reclaim their workday by automating administrative tasks.

3. Plan Out Your Marketing

While sometimes overlooked, marketing is the lifeblood of any business. The new year serves as a terrific opportunity to plan out your marketing strategies. One thing I enjoy is when businesses’ digital marketing activities mirror or compliment their offline activities. In partnership with Score, BizLaunch is hosting several marketing workshops to help such as:

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This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Tara Palacios

Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia, Georgia and Ukraine. 

Since 2006, I volunteered and worked with leaders from former Soviet countries through the tremendous efforts of the Open World Leadership Center and the American Councils for International Education. Through the years we discussed best practices in local government and how to best design and encourage an entrepreneurial ecosystem even in the toughest of circumstances.  My case studies came directly from the economic development work we do in Arlington.

Through my work over the years, I was completely honored to be invited recently to travel to Ukraine during Global Entrepreneurship Week to present at the America House through the US Embassy in Ukraine and the efforts of the State Department. This would be an amazing opportunity to directly interact with individuals representing universities, government entities, youth leaders and entrepreneurs.

I conducted 12 presentations in 8 days in the Capital City of Kyiv and the City of Lviv. With Ukraine being in the news every day, I was determined to make a positive impact through our exchange.

I had the pleasure of conducting a Facebook live event in Kyiv where we discussed the intricacies of starting a business and resources for small businesses and how to access information effectively. We also conducted two Starting a Business workshops at the America House.

After reflecting on my work and time in Ukraine I developed the following observations:

  • Globally, small businesses face challenges with access to capital. Finding investors and successfully building cash resources to launch or grow your business is a tremendous hurdle for many entrepreneurs.
  • Globally, the percentage of women starting businesses is growing at a fast pace.
  • Entrepreneurship can be a lonely enterprise; however, there is strength and empowerment in reaching out for help and/or mentorship.
  • Favorable policies and regulations are key to fostering an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Understanding how to navigate the intricacies of regulations are paramount to small businesses and if a jurisdiction can make the process simple and transparent it will encourage the successful growth of business.
  • Creating programming that is reflective of the people who make up your community is key.
  • Never give up hope.

Small business needs are global. If we design and develop specific programming to foster growth we build community, and through our efforts we will have a positive impact on future generations.

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This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Alex Held, Small Business Manager, BizLaunch

While in its 10th year, Small Business Saturday, held on November 30, continues to be incorporated into many families’ holiday shopping traditions. In fact, in 2018 U.S. consumers reported spending an estimated $17.8 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday.

Additionally, 59% of small business owners report that Small Business Saturday contributes significantly to their holiday sales each year. With those numbers Small Business Saturday is BIG business for many of our small and independent retailers across the country and here in Arlington.

In Arlington, small business patrons can #shopsmall while entering for a chance to win prizes, find deals and discover unique local shops by participating in the shopping passport program coordinated by One More Page Books & More.

Shoppers can participate in the program by picking up a passport at any participating retailer; many of the retailers are also running deals and promotions on Small Business Saturday. In Arlington, the following retailers are participating in the passport program:

In addition to the passport program, shoppers looking to support small businesses in Arlington this holiday season and year round can leverage American Express’s Small Business finder. There shoppers can find any small business that accepts American Express right within their neighborhood.

Locally, BizLaunch offers numerous resources to support small businesses, but one that helps shoppers find small businesses while serving as an opportunity for businesses to receive FREE promotion is the BizLaunch Small Business Directory. Every small business in Arlington is welcome to upload their business listing with links to their website and logo to the directory, easily and most importantly for FREE. Additional resources for Small Business Saturday, including quick branding kits can be found online at American Express.

Programs like Small Business Saturday among others help keep local dollars within Arlington, representing the community’s character, while contributing to a vibrant business community making Arlington an ideal place to live, work and play.

Celebrando y apoyando negocios locales para más información visite BizLaunch en Español.

For more information about how BizLaunch supports small businesses visit www.bizlaunch.org.

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