Connect with us

Business

Applications now open for new social entrepreneurship business accelerator program

Unreasonable Lab Virginia seeks to support entrepreneurs interested in launching new businesses that aim to tackle social and environmental challenges.

Avatar

Published

on

Virginia is for lovers. But it’s also for change makers, visionaries and startups. A great place for Southern cuisine, outdoor adventures on the James River and a growing craft brewery scene, it’s easy to overlook the fact that upwards of 30% of Richmonders live below the poverty line. Looking at the broader picture, almost 12% of Virginians are classified as poor, affecting 15.9% of young adults under the age of 18 and restricting their access to quality education and the labor market.

A new business accelerator program is aiming to change this reality by supporting business ideas that have the power to tackle social and environmental problems facing us all. The new program, Unreasonable Labs, will take place in Richmond from September 15th-22nd. This business model validation lab is a seven-day accelerator for early or idea-stage entrepreneurs. Over four full and two half days, the program will help these entrepreneurs rapidly identify and validate the foundational assumptions of their business models.

“We are treating this lab as an experiment to test the market demand for a support program specifically tailored to the needs of emerging social entrepreneurs in Virginia,” said co-founder Anika Horn. “We want this Lab to be a community effort and hope to engage many stakeholders from the City government to community organizations, the nonprofit sector, creative industry, universities and colleges, investors, the B Corp community, and so on. We know we can only run a successful program if we can find great applicants that embrace the concept of social entrepreneurship as well as mentors, sponsors and supporters who are excited about test-driving new formats to spur innovation and social progress in our community.”

The business model validation lab will provide entrepreneurs with a step-by-step methodology to rapidly and systematically validate their venture’s business model. In these seven days, participating startups will get guidance in testing the core assumptions of their businesses. They’ll get advice from 15 local mentors, talk to customers, build prototypes, and build out a strategic plan.

The new program joins a robust ecosystem of startups and entrepreneurs to solve its socio-economic challenges including Lighthouse Labs, the Greater Richmond Chamber, Virginia’s Commonwealth University and social pioneers such as UnboundRVA and the B Corp community, who are driving forces behind fostering entrepreneurship and social change. Unreasonable Lab will join this existing entrepreneurial infrastructure to create a new breed of mission-driven startups.

Applications are open for interested entrepreneurs from Central Virginia and all along the East Coast who seek to address a specific challenge in their venture. Beyond seeking applicants, the program is also looking for mentors, sponsors, and volunteers.

To learn more and apply, visit the Unreasonable Lab website.

Comments

comments

Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of RVAhub.com, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Business

Venture Richmond teams up with city for “Picnic in a Parklet” program to assist businesses during reopening phases

“We acknowledge the difficulty Richmond businesses face when trying to safely reopen and want to do what we can to make that easier on them,” said Max Hepp-Buchanan, Director of Riverfront and Downtown Placemaking for Venture Richmond. “Parklets have the potential to offer an attractive, comfortable space for customers to physically-distance adjacent to the business, which may be needed for a smoother reopening. We look forward to working with any business in the city that submits a request.”

RVAHub Staff

Published

on

Venture Richmond has announced a new initiative, “Picnic in a Parklet,” a program designed to assist Richmond restaurants and other businesses with Phase 2 and 3 of Forward Virginia. Through this new partnership with the City of Richmond, business owners can receive design and permitting assistance for their requests for more outdoor space, particularly parklets.

Parklets are outdoor patio spaces constructed in the on-street parking lane of the street in front of a business that can function as an area for customers to gather and/or take to-go orders and eat outside in a physically-distanced environment. Parklets are, by definition, public space; but, restaurants can offer lightly packaged to-go orders for people who simply want to dine in the parklet in front of the restaurant.

“Transforming our use of public space innovatively and sustainably requires partnerships just like this one,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “By linking the business and design communities, this program will expand the city’s growing network of creatively designed public spaces.”

Business-owners who are interested in temporarily converting an on-street parking space adjacent to their storefront into a parklet will be connected with Venture Richmond to better assess their needs. If a parklet will be helpful and appropriate, Venture Richmond will work with the American Institute of Architects Richmond Chapter (AIA Richmond) to connect businesses with a certified architect for pro-bono parklet design services. Venture Richmond will assist the applicant through the steps needed to obtain a permit from the City of Richmond.

“We acknowledge the difficulty Richmond businesses face when trying to safely reopen and want to do what we can to make that easier on them,” said Max Hepp-Buchanan, Director of Riverfront and Downtown Placemaking for Venture Richmond. “Parklets have the potential to offer an attractive, comfortable space for customers to physically-distance adjacent to the business, which may be needed for a smoother reopening. We look forward to working with any business in the city that submits a request.”

Unless otherwise specified or revoked, parklet permits are valid for three years. All requests within Richmond City limits will be considered.

Requests for parklets can be submitted through the RVA Strong website. General information about parklets can be found here, and more information about the City of Richmond’s Parklet Program can be found here.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Business

Former staff from Julep’s, Pasture, Comfort launch Richmond’s first “ghost kitchen”

Their business, Dunharrow Concepts, launched its first restaurant concept on Thursday, June 25th with a limited menu. Garden Party is a strictly vegetarian and vegan concept featuring indulgent snacks, sandwiches, and salads. 

Avatar

Published

on

Jon Martin, formerly of Julep’s and Pasture, and Liz Clifford, formerly of Comfort, have opened Richmond’s first ghost kitchen.

A ghost kitchen is a delivery-only restaurant that allows the parent business to operate multiple concepts from one commercial kitchen.

Their business, Dunharrow Concepts, launched its first restaurant concept on Thursday, June 25th with a limited menu. Garden Party is a strictly vegetarian and vegan concept featuring indulgent snacks, sandwiches, and salads.

With no brick and mortar, Clifford and Martin can keep the focus on the food.

“We’ve spent our entire professional careers feeding people,” Clifford said. “The ghost kitchen concept allows us to keep overhead low. We don’t have to worry about the expenses that come with running a traditional restaurant including designing, maintaining, and staffing a physical space.”

Dunharrow Concepts operates out of Hatch Kitchen RVA, a food and beverage incubator and commercial kitchen located at Clopton Siteworks in Manchester. They have partnered with UberEats with plans to add other delivery services in the coming weeks.

The husband-wife duo, who moved from DC two years ago, is passionate about ensuring those with food restrictions don’t have to miss out on experiencing a good meal.

“Cooking for vegans with a nut allergy makes you push boundaries,” says Clifford. “With all ordering online, items can be easily customized to accommodate most dietary restrictions and food preferences.”

Menu items range from a BBQ Tofu Bahn Mi, crispy green beans, a Tex Mex Salad to homemade fudgy brownies.

Next month, Clifford and Martin plan to launch two additional concepts, Fat Kid Sandwiches which will feature overstuffed subs and clubs, and Victory Garden which focuses on made-to-order salads.

For more information on Dunharrow Concepts and Garden Party, visit gardenpartyrva.com or follow @gardenpartyrva on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Business

Carytown Panera closes permanently, joins Stony Point location’s announced closure last week

The Carytown Panera has shuttered permanently, according to Richmond BizSense. The announcement follows another last week indicating the Stony Point location will be shut down for good, too.

RVAHub Staff

Published

on

The Carytown Panera has shuttered permanently, according to Richmond BizSense. The announcement follows another last week indicating the Stony Point location will be shut down for good, too.

From Richmond BizSense:

Another local outpost of Panera Bread has hit the chopping block, this time in Carytown.

The restaurant chain’s location at 10 N. Nansemond St. in the Carytown Place shopping center is permanently closed. The closure follows that of the Panera outpost in Stony Point Fashion Park.

It’s unclear when or why the Carytown Panera permanently closed. The restaurant didn’t alert Maryland Financial Investors, which manages the center, about the closing, property manager Scott Cherry said.

“We found out about it the same way the community did,” Cherry said.

Continue reading here.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Richmond Weather