About RISE Collaborative

RISE Collaborative brings together makers, entrepreneurs, and innovators of all backgrounds, interests, and experiences from across our region to support the growth of entrepreneurship and innovation in Southern Virginia. Through our programs, events, and online network, you’ll gain a supportive community of peers, direct access to business resource providers, dynamic training and skill-building content, and value-added networking opportunities.


RISE Collaborative was created in 2021 to drive the development of a more inclusive and vibrant regional economy in which makers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and service providers interact organically and collaboratively. Our mission is to enhance equity and access to entrepreneurship and innovation for people who have been underserved based on geographic location (anyone who lives, works, or owns a business in Southern Virginia), and for people who have been underrepresented based on race, gender, religion, or other factors. We are doing this by creating regionally-relevant incubator services and accelerator programs that can be accessed at many locations across our service area. 

Service Area

RISE Collaborative serves 15 localities in rural Southern Virginia through a network of hubs and partners. Our service area aligns with the service area of GO Virginia Region 3, which includes:


  • Halifax County
  • Charlotte County
  • Mecklenburg County
  • Lunenburg County
  • Brunswick County
  • Buckingham County
  • Prince Edward County
  • Cumberland County
  • Amelia County
  • Nottoway County
  • Patrick County
  • Martinsville-Henry County
  • Pittsylvania County
  • City of Danville
South Boston/TechSpark Region Hub: In Halifax and surrounding counties in the Microsoft TechSpark region, the SOVA Innovation Hub is collaborating with Longwood University, the Longwood Small Business Development Center (LSBDC), the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, Southside Virginia Community College, gener8tor Upskilling, ChangeX, CodeVa and other partners to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem. To learn more, visit https://sovainnovationhub.com.
Farmville/Northern Region Hub: In the northern end of our service area, Longwood University, the Longwood Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) and Hampden-Sydney College are collaborating with other local partners to develop an innovation center in downtown Farmville, which will provide a physical destination for students and community members to access learning opportunities and a maker space.

Danville/Pittsylvania County Hub: The Dan River Region Entrepreneur Ecosystem (DRREE) serves Danville, Pittsylvania County, and Caswell County, NC, through funding from the Danville Regional Foundation. The DRREE includes many organizations, not limited to: The Launch Place, the River District Association, the Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, Averett University, Danville Community College, and the Longwood Small Business Development Center (LSBDC). To learn more about the DRREE, please visit https://www.entrepreneurecosystem.org/.

Western Region Hub: In the western end of our service area, Patrick & Henry Community College (P&HCC) offers an annual business pitch competition for P&HCC students, operates the Dalton IDEA Center in Uptown Martinsville which is open to the community, and is developing a maker space at the P&HCC Stuart Campus in Patrick County. P&HCC also partners with the Longwood Small Business Development Center (LSBDC), the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce and the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce to offer bootcamp style entrepreneurship training. Virginia Tech Reynolds-Homestead also plays a leadership role in the ecosystem with AIR Patrick County and other programs.


The RISE Collaborative is funded through a mix of public and private sources, including grants and corporate sponsors. RISE Collaborative has its roots in the GO Virginia Region 3 Entrepreneurship & Innovation Investment Strategy which was developed over a 12-month-period from July 2019 through July 2020 and finalized in October 2020. RISE Collaborative was established in April 2021 by the SOVA Innovation Hub in partnership with Longwood University with a 24-month grant from GO Virginia Region 3.

Our regional scaling strategy includes offering a blend of in-person and online content, where in-person events are hosted at multiple locations across the region, and live virtual events form the foundation of an evergreen content library. We also offer train-the-trainer opportunities, to enhance the capacity of resource providers and educators to teach entrepreneurship and innovation mindset and skills and customize content for local audiences. If you are interested in partnering with us to develop a new program or scale an existing program, please contact us.


The partnerships that led to RISE Collaborative began several years ago, in 2019. GO Virginia Region 3 contracted with MBC and Longwood University to facilitate the development of a regional entrepreneurship and innovation strategy to guide the Region 3 Council on evaluation of funding opportunities related to these topics. The strategy was adopted by the Region 3 Council in October 2020. Meanwhile, in January 2020, MBC and Microsoft created the SOVA Innovation Hub, a non-profit dedicated to transforming the regional economy through digital skills and entrepreneurship. The SOVA Innovation Hub and Longwood then partnered to propose a pilot project to begin implementation of the strategy. This pilot project and related efforts to support entrepreneurship ecosystem development is now branded as RISE Collaborative.