Category Archives: Announcement

Nominations for small business awards being accepted by the Richmond District Office SBA

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Richmond District office is accepting nominations for its 2014 Small Business Week awards luncheon scheduled for May 2014. The RDO will accept nominations up to 4 p.m. January 10, 2014.

Anyone advocating small business including self-nominators may submit nomination packets. Nominations can be mailed, hand-delivered directly to the Richmond District Office or submitted online through a registration process at

The Richmond District Office will award the following categories:
• Small Business Person of the Year
• Small Business Exporter of the Year
• Family-Owned Business of the Year
• Minority Small Business of the Year
• Financial Services Champion
• Veteran’s Small Business Champion
• Women in Business Champion

Winners will receive their awards at the annual Virginia Small Business Week awards luncheon scheduled for the Richmond area in May 2014. Additional tickets will be available for purchase by supporters of small business, the business community and the general public.

Nomination materials and forms can be found at or requested through a Richmond District Office SBA representative.

Winners of each category will be submitted for national awards of the same category and will be invited to attend events during the 2014 National Small Business Week in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations to Mountain Rose Vineyard, a Mountain Empire SBDC client, for being chosen by American Express to be highlighted in their “Shop Small Business Saturday”!!


MountainRose Vineyards, a Mountain Empire SBDC client was one of two finalists for a national commercial in the American Express "Shop Small" campaign that you may have seen on TV.   There business was chosen as one of only two commercials filmed!  In case you missed it check out their video here:

Again, congrats to Mountain Rose Vineyards.  We are honored to have them as one of our many outstanding SBDC small business clients!  Make sure you support our small businesses and check out Mountain Rose at

Virginia Awarded Two US Small Business Administration Portable Assistance Grants

The Virginia SBDC Network is pleased to announce that it has been awarded 2 of the 7 U.S. Small Business Administration Portable Assistance Grants awarded nationally. These grants support programs that assist small businesses in communities suffering from a major disaster or economic hardship. In the case of Virginia, the assistance will be directed to small businesses impacted by defense contract cutbacks in Northern Virginia and in Hampton Roads.

The first grant will assist federal contractors in Northern Virginia in exporting their services to global markets, including identifying target markets, understanding security regulations and policies, securing financing, etc.

The second grant will establish the Southeastern Virginia Contracting Institute, designed to educate small contractors in new ways to approach, bid, and execute government contractors in the future, and it includes training, one-on-one confidential counseling, and peer mentoring.

These two programs will support job increases, capital formation, and sales growth, all of which will boost these local Virginia economies.

IRS & SBA Affordable Care Act Webinar

August 28, 2013 10 am - noon.

The Internal Revenue Service and Small Business Administration are joining together to present ACA information relevant to Business owners. Information on the SHOP program, Premium Tax Credit, Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, Applicable Large Employer, Employer Shared Responsibility Provision, Information Reporting Provisions and Transitional Relief.

Participant code is 30544713

Call in for audio portion: 1-888-331-8226 participant code 5542910#

Thomas E. Keogh Wins Virginia’s 2012 Small Business Veteran of the Year Award
Veteran 2012

Susan Ball, Business Analyst, U of Mary Washington SBDC;Micah Aschinger; Mitch Aschinger, Information/Security Officer, Corps Solutions; Tom Keogh, Owner and President, Corps Solutions; Jill Keogh; Susan Lee-Merrow, Associate State Director, Virginia SBDC; Brian Baker, Director, U of Mary Washington SBDC.

Lt. Col. Thomas E. Keogh (USMC retired), owner of Corps Solutions in Stafford, VA, was honored as the 2012 Virginia Small Business Veteran of the Year. A highly decorated Marine officer, he retired in 2009 to start Corps Solutions to provides training and educational services to the Department of Defense.

Within three years, there were 35 employees, a 252% growth rate, almost no turnover in staff, and incredibly high customer satisfaction rates. Corps Solutions hires mostly Marine veterans and keeps them employed by keeping teams together even when contracts end.

He would rather carry people from month to month and reduce profit margins, Keogh explained, than lose talent and cause undue burdens on employee and their families. In addition he is a supporter of Toys for Tots, the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank, the Wounded Warrior Project, in addition to coaching youth soccer and baseball.

Each year, Virginia's 29 SBDCs each select a veteran small-business owner or entrepreneur from their local service areas, and the winners then compete for Virginia's Small Business Veteran of the Year Award. The State winner receives a plaque from Virginia SBDC, and their name is inscribed on the award urn, which is permanently displayed at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, Virginia.

Navigating the Affordable Care Act: Make Health Reform Work for Your Company

Thursday, August 1, 2013 8 am - 10am - Join Congressman Moran for “Navigating the Affordable Care Act,” a discussion on what your small business needs to know to comply with the Affordable Care Act including the opportunities, benefits and challenges of the law.

Keynote Speaker: Taylor Burke, JD, LLM, Program Director, MPH in Health Policy, School of Public Health & Health Services, The George Washington University

For more information, click here.

Debra Hamilton Farley Awarded 2013 State Star from the Virginia Small Business Development Center Network
Picture of Awards

(l to r) Jody Keenan, Debra Hamilton Farley and Jim Carroll

Debra Hamilton Farley, Associate Executive Director and Certified Business Analyst, has been selected as the Virginia SBDC Network’s State Star for 2013. This annual award, conferred by the National Association of SBDCs, recognizes an exemplary performer who makes significant contributions to their SBDC network and who demonstrates a strong commitment to small businesses. In the Virginia SBDC Network, staff members from the 29 statewide offices nominated and then voted for the award recipient.

On June 4, Jody Keenan, State Director of the Virginia SBDC Network, presented Farley with the award at a reception held in Norfolk. Keenan said, "Debra’s clients sing her praises, her partners rely on her efforts for their success, and her peers and colleagues selected her as the most worthy recipient of this national award. She truly reflects the State Star criteria.”

Debra Farley has worked for the SBDC for 23 years. She assists clients who desire to start a new business and/or who need assistance in further developing an existing business. Farley received an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Thomas Nelson Community College; a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Hampton University and she completed a Masters’ Program in Global Management, from Cambridge College, Cambridge, Mass.

During her tenure with the SBDC, Farley was instrumental in the center’s participation in the Welfare to Work Federal Program; the initiation of the Small and Minority Business Series, a three to five week training program developed on the Peninsula to provide a systematic selection of training suitable for the start-up and/or existing business professional. Many attendees have referred to this setting as a “mini MBA.” She also created group training for non-profit church groups and opportunities for individual minority business owners to advertise their home-based business ventures during a weekend training session and breakfast setting. Farley collaborated and offered a custom-designed class for the City of Hampton’s Redevelopment and Housing Authority to assist a select group of low-medium income participants in starting a business in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

Farley received the Minority Business Advocate of the Year Award by the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce in 2004, and was honored by Inside Business in 2007 with its Women in Business Achievement Award.

Farley is a Certified NxLeveL Instructor and became a Certified Business Analyst in 2011. She received a Certificate of Certification in 2008 as a Facilitator of the Profit Mastery Program to train Entrepreneurs in projecting financial stability within their company. She served as a member of the Hampton University Continuing Education Policy Council, 2007-2009 and is a 2009 graduate of LEAD Hampton Roads. Farley is a member of the National Association of Professional Women, the Association of SBDCs, the National Association of the Self Employed, and the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE). She serves as an advisory participant for both ECPI and Centura College Peninsula locations upon request.

Born and raised in Macon, GA, Farley currently resides in Hampton, VA, where she has lived the past 23 years. She is married to Tommie Farley, Jr., and they have three daughters and two granddaughters. Debra volunteers her time as an active member of Saint Paul A.M.E. Church, where she serves as one of 19 Stewards; Executive Assistant to the Pastor; Mass Choir Member; Missionary Society Member; VP Pastor’s Aide Organization; and Director, Junior Church Programs.

Virginia Small Business Week Awards June 24th

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Richmond District Office will honor Virginia’s outstanding small business owners and champions at the Virginia Small Business Week Awards Luncheon on Monday, June 24, 2013, at the Westin Richmond Hotel. The awards celebration is co-sponsored by the Richmond Score Chapter #12 and the Virginia Small Business Center.

The SBA Richmond District Office is honoring Work It, Richmond Editor Jacob Geiger with the first annual SBA Outstanding Advocacy of Small Business Award. The award recognizes his commitment to Virginia’s small business community through his media coverage and active participation in local small business events.

standupThe luncheon, “Stand Up for Small Business,” begins with a networking reception at 11:00 a.m., followed by the luncheon and program at noon. Paula Otto, executive director of the Virginia Lottery, will serve as mistress of ceremonies for the event. Registration will open in mid-May at a cost of $40 per person. The Westin Richmond Hotel is located at 6631 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230.

$40 per person

Register Today

Virginia SBDC Network’s STAMP Program Wins State Award

The 2013 Award of Excellence for Organizational Development was presented by the Virginia Downtown Development Association to the Virginia SBDC for its Small Town and Merchants Program (STAMP).

"This is a true honor to have one of our State projects recognized by the organization that advocates, supports, and promotes leadership in downtown revitalization throughout the Commonwealth," said Jody Keenan, State Director of the Virginia SBDC.  "Not only is STAMP a great program but it actually has had a very positive impact on the retailers and restaurateurs who have participated.  Year-over-year revenues have increased by as much as 65% as a result of the advice given."

Marc Willson, Retail Consultant to the Virginia SBDC, was delivering a STAMP in Winchester on the day of the luncheon, but he said, "With today's retail industry changing as quickly as it is, keeping abreast of the new technologies and customer expectations is vital to retailers' very existence.  I am really glad we can do our part."


About Virginia Downtown Development Association

VDDA brings attention to the significance of historic downtowns to Virginia's economic vitality and to enhance the effectiveness of organizations, individuals, and communities to foster vibrant economic development.

About Virginia SBDC Network

The Virginia SBDC Network ( is an organization of 29 local SBDCs across Virginia.  We are the most extensive business development program in the Commonwealth, providing free professional business counseling, low-cost training, and information resources to help grow and strengthen Virginia businesses.

Virginia SBDC Network is a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration, George Mason University--Mason Enterprise Center, and premier local host organizations throughout Virginia, including universities, community colleges, chambers of commerce, municipalities, economic development organizations, and private companies.  The Virginia SBDC Network is accredited by the Association of Small Business Development Centers

Virginia SBDC Featured in Virginia Business Big Book

THE BIG BOOK includes new lists, familiar features include:

  • Resources
  • Most Influential Virginians
  • Economic Development
  • Construction & Development
  • Largest Companies
  • Education
  • Financial
  • Health
  • Philanthropy
  • Professional Services
  • Tourism

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Virginia SBDC