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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.

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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.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.

Business

PHOTOS: Grow @1717 Accelerator honors childcare businesses in Richmond

Capital One Financial Corp (COF) this week recognized seven licensed home base childcare providers for their completion of the [email protected] Accelerator, a 12-week small business program designed to help strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem and elevate the Richmond region as a destination for innovation.

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Capital One Financial Corp (COF) this week recognized seven licensed home base childcare providers for their completion of the [email protected] Accelerator, a 12-week small business program designed to help strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem and elevate the Richmond region as a destination for innovation.

Cohort members received $5,000 in funding to support business stabilization and growth, along with a business needs assessment, 90-minute learning workshops, skills-based support from COF associates, and a network of peer mentors. The cohort was selected and funded in partnership with ChildSavers, a non-profit that provides children’s mental health services and childcare resources to Richmond residents.

“We know that family day home care is the most common form of childcare in this country, but oftentimes, home-based providers are the most overlooked for support as small business owners,” said Toria Edmonds-Howell, Community Engagement Manager for the Capital One 1717 Innovation Center. “The Grow @1717 program was designed to meet emerging needs within our region, and as Richmond childcare providers continue to experience the impacts of the pandemic, we want to help.”

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Photos: Michael Simon Photography

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Arts & Entertainment

Local rapper launches new creative and co-op work space downtown

A grand opening for the new space, CNTR, will be held 5-10 p.m. Friday, November 4th, coinciding with the Arts District’s First Fridays event.

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A new retail, creative and co-working space named CNTR opens next month in Richmond’s Arts District.

Located at 318 W. Broad St., the 3,408-square-foot space also is home to theMSQshop, which opened earlier this year. It provides brand design, creative content services and a recording and production studio.

Owner and Creative Director Will Keck, who performed for 15 years in Richmond as OG ILLA, aims to provide a resource for creatives and a safe, welcoming space for Richmond’s hip-hop and R&B culture.

“I want to encourage young artists and entrepreneurs in our community,” Keck says. “CNTR is here as a resource, business incubator, and place to elevate their work through business education.”

CNTR is available for bookings as well — for pop-ups, shows, events, workshops, conferences, and video and photo production.

The business venture, powered by theMSQshop, also includes a retail shop featuring Virginia-based streetwear, an art gallery showcasing local artists, and a co-working space that includes Richmond’s first black-owned hemp company.

A grand opening for CNTR will be held 5-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, coinciding with the Richmond Arts District’s First Fridays.

The free event will feature pop-ups from local vendors, an art exhibit with work from ErvEyes, JAE, Paris and Khaos Ky, and music performances by Rudy Walker, Era Hardaway, Machine Mook, OG Souul, illwilliam and Hannah Grace.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Business

BigWife’s Mac and Cheese food truck now open while construction continues on brick-and-mortar space

Menu items include a Buffalo Mac, Little Figgy Mac, Greek Wedding Mac, and Mac Lorraine, in addition to a few salads and a giant cookie – aptly named the “Big Ass Cookie.”

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A new food option coming to Scott’s Addition has set up shop in a food truck while construction continues on its brick-and-mortar operation.

BigWife’s Mac & Cheese is now operating a food truck located at 1017 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard, next to Starbucks. A storefront in the same location is expected to open later this year in the former Growlers To Go.

Menu items include a Buffalo Mac, Little Figgy Mac, Greek Wedding Mac, and Mac Lorraine, in addition to a few salads and a giant cookie – aptly named the “Big Ass Cookie.”

This is a new restaurant concept from John and Jayme Taxin, owners of Bookbinder’s Seafood and Steakhouse. The couple first tested the waters as a pop-up operating during the pandemic and, after its success, decided to expand to this new location.

Online orders for pickup can be placed here. The truck is serving Mondays through Saturdays beginning at 4:00 PM.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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