Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center: A Conversation About the Food & Beverage Accelerator Cohort

Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center

Today’s conversation for The Valley Business Today with host Janet Michael, featured Christine Kriz, Director of the Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center to chat about their business counseling services and a new program they’re offering through a partnership with the Loudoun County Small Business Development Center. Click here to have a listen.

Christine told us how the name change that Lord Fairfax Community College is currently undergoing will also affect her organization. The new name for the college beginning June 2, 2022 will be Laurel Ridge Community College. Once that takes effect, the SBDC will also rename to Laurel Ridge Small Business Development Center.

She explained the different services that Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center offers as the counseling arm of the Small Business Administration. These services include:

  • Strategic planning
  • Business plans
  • Financial analysis
  • Licenses and taxes
  • Marketing
  • Site location analysis
  • Sources of financing
  • Business library
  • Review of good practices
  • Financial planning and budgeting
  • Business loan assistance
  • Personnel assistance
  • Production planning and control

The Center’s core programs include small business seminars, business counseling,
operations audits, mystery shopper program, mentoring, and focus groups.
They work with people seeking bank loans, SBA guarantee loans, and state loans through Virginia Asset Financing Corporation. Besides the loan application process, they work with all types of business registration questions, tax forms, SBA assistance and writing business plans.

Assistance is also offered in the following areas:

  • Business start-up
  • Financial management
  • Marketing
  • QuickBooks assistance
  • Operation analysis and review for existing businesses
  • Business considerations and requirements for going into business

There is no fee in most cases to take advantage of their services since they are subsidized by the Small Business Administration and local government entities and economic development agencies (our tax dollars.)

Christine gave details for their newest program – a food and beverage accelerator cohort in partnership with the Loudoun County Small Business Development Center. The cohort is being offered to all businesses in the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Warren, Shenandoah, and Loudoun, plus the City of Winchester and Leesburg.

She explained that this program is for businesses that have a food item or non-alcoholic beverage that they sell and are trying to increase their distribution. She asked listeners to please share it with businesses they are familiar with that may also fall into this category. She gave a few examples:

  • Someone who produces their own jellies, jams, and wants to increase distribution.
  • Someone who produces a food product (pies, meats, meal kits) and wants to sell to hospitals, large chain grocery stores.
  • Someone who produces a non-alcoholic drink and wants to increase distribution.
  • Someone looking to meet other small businesses in Loudoun County as potential partners

In this cohort program you will learn from other small business owners, the instructors (many of whom have worked for Wegmans and Whole Foods) and via a workbook and instructional videos.  Once a week you will have an online live session with your classmates.  You will meet once a week for six weeks.  In between live meetings you will have homework assignments to do on your own.

She said there have been four previous cohorts around the state of Virginia and that AMAZING partnerships and new opportunities have come from these cohorts!

The deadline to apply is 5pm on May 4, 2022 and the program will begin on May 22, 2022. There is no fee to apply but only 10 businesses will be accepted into the cohort. You can get more information and find the application by clicking here.

For more information about the other programs and services offered by Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center, visit their website: https://lfsbdc.org/

SBA offers virtual summit during National SB week

The Small Business Administration (SBA) will hold a virtual summit Sept. 13-15.

The free educational webinars are scheduled during National Small Business Week.

The summit will teach strategies as well as give you a chance to meet other owners and industry experts.

Registration for the event is available here or through your local Chamber of Commerce.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.