Economic Development

GO Start-up Logo

Have you always wanted to start a business and you just don't know where to start? The GO Start-up program is an entry level program for entrepreneurs who want to start their own business in a fast-paced environment.  Applications are being accepted thru September 30th at 4:00 pm.  Sign up for the GO Start-Up  program now. 


GO Cook logo


GO Cook is now accepting applications for the current session.  The training is free for eligible City of Charlottesville residents.  Read all the details and sign up for GO Cook Boot Camp.   


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OED Announces GO Hire Grant Application 

The  City of  Charlottesville's Office of Economic Development (OED) is excited to offer the GO Hire Grant to qualifying City businesses! The workforce-based grant is designed to assist City businesses that are growing and enhancing their workforce.  Businesses can take advantage of two different grants with the GO Hire program: the New Employee Wage Subsidy or the Existing Worker Retraining Grant.

The New Employee Wage Subsidy will be provided when a City resident is hired to fill a new position or a vacant, existing position.  There will be no restrictions on industry, but the employer must be paying a self-sufficient wage, as defined by the current City of Charlottesville living wage (currently $15.00/hour).

The Existing Worker Retraining Grant provides reimbursement grants to City businesses who train and/or re-train their employees.  The training must target improving business efficiencies and provide an opportunity that will lead to additional skills for the company's workforce.  Employers can self-identify specific training or consult with OED staff to create customized training, based on the businesses' needs.  Preference will be given to training that provides an immediate increase in wages for the employee.  

Applications will be evaluated by information provided within this application.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to include as much detail as possible to assist staff during the application review process.  All employers enrolled in the GO Hire program agree to communicate with the OED on a quarterly basis for pre-determined quantitative and qualitative metrics for a period of 1 year.  Currently, the maximum fiscal year award is $5,000 per business.

All interested businesses must conduct a pre-application meeting with OED staff to discuss program guidelines.  To learn more or schedule a meeting, please contact George Sandridge, Business Development Manager, at (434) 970-3717 or via email at sandridgeg@charlottesville.gov

OED Awards BRACE Grants to City Businesses

As part of its Recovery Roadmap programming, the Office of Economic Development has awarded 31 grants to City-based businesses and organizations through Building Resiliency Among Charlottesville Entrepreneurs (BRACE) grant program. These $2,500 grants were targeted to businesses that demonstrated the ability to adapt from the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses applied through a competitive grant application in July and grant funding was issued within 10 business days after acceptance. Funding for this grant was provided by the Charlottesville Economic Development Authority (CEDA). Future grant offerings will focus on marketing and workforce assistance which will be announced in the near future. Additionally, one final round of BRACE will be offered in the upcoming months as well.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant is scheduled to open in early April.  There are some advanced steps that businesses may need to do now to better prepare for the application process.  Watch this video for more details.  Check the Small Business Administration website for the most up-to-date information.

Southern Opportunity And Resilience (SOAR) Fund

SOAR Fund provides flexible, affordable capital and free business support services to small businesses and nonprofits across the south and southeast to help them navigate and rebuild from the Covid-19 economic crisis.  Get all the details at SOAR website

City Delivers $750,000 in Relief to Small Businesses

The City of Charlottesville Office of Economic Development (OED) is pleased to announce that 128 small businesses have received funds from the Small Business Relief Grant (SBRG) program. 

Project Rebound

Project Rebound, a local economic recovery initiative for our area, recently released "A Blueprint for Economic Resiliency and Reinvention in Greater Charlottesville Region". The report, produced by KPMG LLP, maps out economic recovery action steps for the business community.  The recommended actions are based on data from stakeholder meetings and follow-up interviews with more than 300 local participants. The project was led by the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce with support from the City, County and University economic development efforts. Click to see the full Blueprint report.

Disaster Preparedness for Small Businesses

Anticipating business interferences, crises and debacles is an essential part of maintaining a business.  Engaging the business community in Risk Reduction for Business Resilience whether it be a hurricane, tornado or outbreak like COVID-19, is imperative.  Studies show that more than 40% of small businesses close permanently after a disaster.  Among those that reopen, another 25% fail within a year.  The Disaster Preparedness for Small Business guide extensively illustrates and highlights the best tips and resources to guide entrepreneurs in their business recovery and continuity plan.

SBA Disaster Assistance

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and EIDL Advance program portal to further meet the needs of small businesses impacted by COVID-19.  See the SBA Disaster Assistance website for all the details and to apply.

Links to Assistance for Businesses During COVID-19

Financial Resources

Additional Information

For the most up-to-date information, be sure to follow us on social media or sign up for updates.

The Office of Economic Development is the catalyst for public and private initiatives that create employment opportunities and a vibrant and sustainable economy.

Charlottesville Voted the Best Place to Live in America, Best Place to Retire, Best Green City, Best Digital City, Best Place to Start a Small Business, the Healthiest City and the list continues!