NPO Launchpad, the Richmond region’s first nonprofit incubator, has selected three organizations to participate in its inaugural Fall accelerator, kicking off in early September. The Fall cohort includes:
- Beyond Boundaries – offering individuals with disabilities the opportunity to experience outdoor activities in the surrounding community.
- Shood – collecting gently used running shoes, reconditioning them and distributing them to those who are homeless or living in poverty in Richmond communities.
- VET Fund – providing financial support to pet owners facing financial hardships, whose pets require life-saving veterinary treatment.
The three organizations were selected from NPO Launchpad’s online pitch competition, which received 29 applicants. In addition to receiving hands-on mentorship from leaders in Richmond’s entrepreneurial, business and nonprofit communities, the cohort will utilize coworking space at VCU da Vinci Center.
“These nonprofits each presented specific challenges for which NPO Launchpad believes can positively impact in a short period of time,” said Pat Hull, co-founder of NPO Launchpad and founder of The Hull Foundation, a leading contributor to NPO Launchpad. “Teaming up with VCU da Vinci Center will greatly benefit and enhance our program.”
In addition to coworking space, VCU da Vinci Center will provide NPO Launchpad with acceleration curriculum and graduate assistant support during the three-month accelerator. The center has previously hosted a cohort of Lighthouse Labs and currently hosts goHappy, a social communication platform, as its Startup in Residence.
“We see the VCU da Vinci Center’s collaboration with NPO Launchpad to be a significant catalyst for connecting our students to the growing number of nonprofits in the Richmond region,” said Garret Westlake, executive director, VCU da Vinci Center. “These fantastic nonprofit organizations will benefit from our curriculum and best practices while creating new opportunities for experiential learning and building greater connection between students and the community.”
Criteria for the accelerator included early-stage organizations with 501(c)(3) status; based in Richmond region; and under $100,000 revenues annually. Applicants for the Fall cohort were thoroughly reviewed and voted on by NPO Launchpad’s mentors and leadership.
“NPO Launchpad received an impressive response from local nonprofit startups,” said Jeff Palumbo, co-founder of NPO Launchpad. “All of the applicants were very worthy of our support. In furthering connections between Richmond’s for-profit and nonprofit communities, I hope that someday we will be able to accept more organizations into our programs.”
At the start of the three-month accelerator in September, the cohort will introduce and present their organizations to NPO Launchpad and participating mentors. They will be matched with mentors, who will meet periodically with the individual cohort members, refining their goals and developing solutions to challenges that their organizations are facing.
The accelerator will culminate with a launch party, hosted by NPO Launchpad, whereby the cohort members will showcase their success, growth, and progress while connecting with Richmond’s business and donor community.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.