Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center: A Conversation on the Food and Beverage Accelerator Cohort

Today’s conversation for The Valley Business Today with host Janet Michael, featured Christine Kriz, Director of Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center, to discuss their business advisory services and a new program that they offer as part of a partnership with Loudoun County Small Business Development. Center. Click here to listen.

Christine explained to us how the name change that Lord Fairfax Community College is currently undergoing will also affect its organization. The college’s new name effective June 2, 2022 will be Laurel Ridge Community College. Once this takes effect, the SBDC will also be renamed Laurel Ridge Small Business Development Center.

She explained the various services offered by the Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center as the consultancy arm of the Small Business Administration. These services include:

  • Strategic planning
  • Business plans
  • Financial analysis
  • Licenses and taxes
  • Marketing
  • Site location analysis
  • Funding sources
  • business library
  • Review of good practices
  • Financial planning and budgeting
  • Business loan assistance
  • Staff assistance
  • Production planning and control

The Centre’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 business plan writing.

Assistance is also offered in the following areas:

  • Business start-up
  • Financial direction
  • Marketing
  • QuickBooks Support
  • Operations analysis and review for existing businesses
  • Business considerations and requirements for going into business

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

Christine gave details of their new program – a cohort of food and beverage accelerators in partnership with the Loudoun County Small Business Development Center. The cohort is available to all businesses in Clarke, Frederick, Warren, Shenandoah, and Loudoun counties, as well as the city of Winchester and Leesburg.

She explained that this program is for companies that have a food product or non-alcoholic beverage they sell and are trying to increase their distribution. She asked listeners to please share it with companies they know that might also fall into this category. She gave some 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 grocery chains.
  • Someone who produces a soft drink and wants to increase distribution.
  • Someone looking to meet other small businesses in Loudoun County as potential partners

In this cohort program, you’ll learn from other small business owners, instructors (many of whom have worked for Wegmans and Whole Foods), and through a manual 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. Between live meetings, you will have homework to do on your own.

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

The deadline to apply is 5:00 p.m. on May 4, 2022 and the program will start on May 22, 2022. There is no fee to apply but only 10 companies will be accepted into the cohort. You can get more information and find the app by clicking here.

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

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