Recap of the RISE Grapevine virtual meetup

The May 2024 Grapevine Virtual Monthly Meetup was hosted on Thursday, May 16, 2024, 12pm-1pm on Zoom.

To recap, here is a brief summary of this virtual meetup:

  • We discussed recent events and upcoming opportunities for entrepreneurs who are starting or growing businesses in Southern Virginia.
  • This virtual meetup was co-hosted by Natalie Hodge Davis of Rudy’s Girl Media and Hope Harris-Gayles of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center and the Longwood SBDC, with support from the SOVA Innovation Hub.
  • The new RISE Navigator Program Manager Laura Coleman introduced herself, told us about her background, and what brought her back to southern Virginia. Laura brings professional experience from corporate training and development and sales to her new role. She’s excited to meet with entrepreneurs and connect them with the wealth of resources that exist for them. To connect with Laura, email
  • Hope Harris-Gayles shared updates on upcoming RISE Collaborative events:

Top Takeaways from the May 2024 Grapevine Virtual Monthly Meetup

1. Attend the RISE Business Pitch Competition and Entrepreneur Showcase

The 2024 RISE Business Pitch Competition will award over $10,000 in total prizes to entrepreneurs who pitch at the event on June 26 at an in-person event in South Boston, VA. Support regional entrepreneurial growth by attending the pitch competition. NEW this year, the pitch competition will also feature an entrepreneur showcase. Participants will have a table to display information about their business, products, or services. Spaces are limited so interested entrepreneurs need to complete the registration form today.  Learn more and register>

Apply for the entrepreneur showcase by June 5

Attend the event on June 26 in South Boston

Attend the virtual awards ceremony on June 27

2. Professional Growth is Key.

Samantha Bagbey, City of Danville Department of Economic Development, shared information about an upcoming financial literacy workshop for businesses in the city. Business owners who attend all six weeks of class will receive three hours of 1:1 consultation with a QuickBooks consultant and one free year of the QuickBooks software.To learn more email

Hope Harris-Gayles shared information about two upcoming QuickBooks workshops being hosted by the Longwood Small Business Development Center at the SOVA Innovation Hub. Learn More >

3. Save the Date for the RISE Regional Innovation Summit for Entrepreneurs!

Planning is underway for the inaugural RISE Regional Innovation Summit for Entrepreneurs. Save the Date! October 18-19, 2024 in Danville, VA. There will be pre-conference activities on Friday, October 18. The main event is Saturday, October 19, 8:30am-3pm.  More information >

RISE Innovation Summit for Entrepreneurs

October 18-19, 2024 – Danville, VA

Featured Resources

Laura Coleman

RISE Navigator Program Manager

Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

SOVA Innovation Hub

SOVA Innovation Hub

Regional Non-Profit & Coworking Space in South Boston, VA

Rudy's Girl Media

Rudy's Girl Media

Upcoming Events

June 13th

RISE Grapevine Monthly Virtual Meetup

Thursday, June 13  |   12:00-1:00pm   |   Zoom

The RISE Grapevine Monthly Virtual Meetup is a virtual gathering of diverse, creative, and inclusive entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders from across Southern Virginia. During each monthly meeting, we share updates from local and regional entrepreneurs support organizations.

Pitch Event and Entrepreneur Showcase

Attend on June 26th

RISE Business Pitch Competition 

Wednesday, June 26  |   2:00-7:00pm   |  SVHEC Innovation Center in South Boston

The RISE Business Pitch Competition on June 26, 2024 will award over $10,000 in funding to entrepreneurs who pitch their ideas to startup a new venture or scale-up their existing business. Register to attend and/or to participate in the entrepreneur’s showcase.

Awards Ceremony

 Attend on June 27

RISE Business Pitch Competition Awards Ceremony 

Thursday, June 27  |   6:00-7:00pm   |   Zoom

Join us virtually for the 2024 RISE Business Pitch Competition Awards Event! Recorded for your convenience, this event will include the presentation of the 2024 RISE Business Pitch Competition awards, recognize the achievements of the Winter 2024 RISE Business Bootcamp cohort, and express gratitude to our esteemed sponsors.

Upcoming Events for Entrepreneurs and Businesses

Find out what’s happening in the RISE Southern Virginia ecosystem on our blog.