Not sure about marketing strategy? Wondering about technological solutions or creative ways to attract and retain employees? Small businesses owners face complex questions on a daily basis. 

Enter GENEDGE, a resource enabling Virginia companies to innovate, compete, and grow through customized consulting. With a nationwide network of affiliates and the ability to leverage federal and state funding, GENEDGE pairs strategy with expertise.

At the November 17 Rise & Shine virtual meetup, GENEDGE Regional Growth Manager John Hagwood and Director of National Network Programs Scott Schein joined RISE Collaborative to explain GENEDGE’s approach and how they are partnering with organizations in the community to help entrepreneurs. Think you might benefit from GENEDGE’s services? Read on to hear more about their impact and where they’re headed next. 

Who is GENEDGE? 

With a focus on existing manufacturing, engineering, technology, and industrial businesses, GENEDGE has been in the business of supporting entrepreneurs for over 25 years. Headquartered in Martinsville, VA, with 30 employees across the state, GENEDGE is a network affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technologies Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) under the U.S. Department of Commerce. With partners across the state and the country, GENEDGE leverages national and local connections to offer clients added resources and expertise. 

What is GENEDGE’s impact? 

Over the past decade, clients have estimated a phenomenal $4.8-billion-plus impact to their businesses through revenue, cost savings, investments, bottom-line impact and jobs created or retained. GENEDGE clients believe that for every dollar invested in GENEDGE services and offerings, $25 is returned to their business’ bottom-line impact.

Hagwood explained that one of GENEDGE’s main goals is to “leverage to the best of our ability existing organizations who can assist us — in some cases in the delivery [of services] and in other cases just in making the connection.” 

For instance, recently GENEDGE linked up with the SOVA Innovation Hub. 

“One of the things that will result from this connection,” Hagwood said, “is our ability to further serve entrepreneurs, to further reach folks in that I-85/360 corridor, some of those businesses that at this point maybe we’ve not had the great benefit of connecting with.”

What is GENEDGE’s expertise? 

One of GENEDGE’s most important areas of expertise includes strategy marketing and commercialization. For instance, their commercialization readiness assessment helps emerging businesses identify and understand existing gaps in their marketing efforts. 

Hagwood explained that entrepreneurs can “use that commercialization readiness assessment as a guide and a tool to help uncover and discover. And from that discovery, we determine what are the next potential steps for that client. It may be further access to capital. It may be additional marketing and promotional support. It may be that they are in need of some quality certification activity.” 

By assessing existing systems, GENEDGE is able to make specific, intentional recommendations about everything from automation and advanced manufacturing to IT, cybersecurity and organizational development. One offering includes leadership training, which assesses organizational leadership and offers targeted training, coaching and mentoring. 

Where is GENEDGE headed? 

Aligned with GENEDGE’s collaboration with the SOVA Innovation Hub, Schein sees the company working to engage more resource-constrained small business owners — especially those with 20 and under employees — in targeted, specific consultations. 

“Entrepreneurs are business-ideas people,” Schein said. “They may not have the business experience to get their ideas to the next level.” 

Providing these entrepreneurs with a glimpse of what GENEDGE offers plants the seed for a working relationship.

Could GENEDGE help you innovate, compete, or grow? RISE Collaborative encourages you to check out their website at To learn about other service providers and network with entrepreneurs in the community, sign up for an upcoming Rise & Shine meetup, here

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