SOUTH BOSTON, VA – March 12, 2024 – The RISE Collaborative Winter 2024 Business Bootcamp has successfully concluded, marking a significant milestone for thirty (30) entrepreneurs from 14 localities across the Southern Virginia region.

RISE Collaborative is a regional initiative dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship and business growth in GO Virginia Region 3. The RISE Business Bootcamp is an annual, cohort-based program that provides aspiring entrepreneurs and existing business owners with access to a community of peers and a facilitator-led curriculum designed to equip them with the essential skills, knowledge, and tools needed to thrive in today’s competitive business landscape.

Throughout the multi-week program, participants engage in interactive workshops, receive personalized coaching, and have the opportunity to network with industry experts and fellow entrepreneurs. This program is ideal for people who are new business owners (started in the last 1-3 years), and are wanting to get a clear path to accessing capital for growth and scaling. The program is also open to people who are just getting started or have not opened their business yet who are wanting to create a solid business plan before diving in with forming the business.

The Winter 2024 Business Bootcamp is the fifth cohort of this program, which is hosted by RISE Collaborative partners including the Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC), SOVA Innovation Hub, and Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC). The program is offered at no cost to participants, thanks to grant funding provided by GO Virginia Region 3.

The Winter 2024 Business Bootcamp cohort included thirty (30) individuals representing twenty-eight (28) businesses, including eighteen (18) existing businesses and ten (10) startup businesses. These businesses provide or will provide products or services in the Agriculture & Food, Health & Wellness, Professional Services, Retail, and Transportation & Logistics industries.

“We are immensely proud of all the individuals and businesses who have dedicated their time and energy to participate in the Winter 2024 RISE Business Bootcamp,” said Jacob Dolence, Director of Educational Innovation and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems at Longwood SBDC. “Their commitment to learning and growth is truly commendable, and we have no doubt that they will go on to achieve great success in their entrepreneurial endeavors.”

“On behalf of RISE Collaborative and the SOVA Innovation Hub, congratulations to each of the entrepreneurs who completed this intensive program,” said Lauren Mathena, Director of Economic Development & Community Engagement at MBC and the SOVA Innovation Hub.

From refining business plans to sharpening marketing strategies, participants of the Winter 2024 RISE Business Bootcamp have demonstrated their dedication to honing their skills and elevating their businesses to new heights. The entrepreneurs who completed the program are listed below.

Existing/Growth Businesses

  • Karen & Peter Anderson – Shield Fire Safety – Halifax County
  • Kimberly Barker-Brugman – Soul Story Ministries – Brunswick County
  • Kathie Boyce – Muddy Paws Winery, LLC – Buckingham County
  • Marilynn Cabiness – Cabiness Coaching & Consulting Group, LLC – Mecklenburg County
  • Terence Carter – The Gift Design Company – Henry County
  • Tiffany Ferrell – CAREfully Anchored – Halifax County
  • Deborah Hanson – Good Courage Consulting – Brunswick County
  • Camella Johnson-Gunn – Cam’s Touch of Heaven – Henry County
  • Mandi Jones – Van’s Med-Tec Transport, LLC – Pittsylvania County
  • Thomas Lee – Visions Realized 20K Logistics, LLC – Halifax County
  • Bob McQuillan – Fun Guy Market – Lunenburg County
  • Shane Pinkstonfreelance graphic design – Henry County
  • Olivia Snoke – Emerging Phoenix LLC – Brunswick County
  • Carl & Laureen Steinhart – Max Meadows Lavender Farm – Halifax County
  • Dani Vaughan – The After Party LLC  – Cumberland County
  • Kenneth White II – W&W Security Services LLC – Halifax County
  • DeWande’ Woodford – Pete’s Pleasures – Prince Edward County
  • Justine Young – JAY Properties – Prince Edward County

Startup Businesses

  • Sherre Atkins – Made 2 Reign LLC – Prince Edward County
  • Robert Burns – Providence Chiropractic – Amelia County
  • Lorraine Davidson – Majestic Baskets – City of Martinsville
  • Kerri-Anne Gonzalez – Stoney Goat Farms – Charlotte County
  • Zenobia Lewis-Marrow – Toni VTAAN Fitness – Amelia County
  • Ronnie Link Jr. – Country Boyz Production – Halifax County
  • Shirley McCall – Iris Health – Henry County
  • Katie O’Flynn – Pour Decisions Coffee & Wine Bar – Nottoway County
  • Caroline Sturdivant – Plenty for Many: A Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farm – Halifax County
  • Consuelo Price – The G.O.A.T House – City of Danville

More information about each of the businesses can be found at

What’s Next: Business Pitch Competition

These entrepreneurs are now eligible to apply to pitch for a chance to win funding for their business at the 2nd Annual RISE Business Pitch Competition, taking place on April 11, 2024 at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston. All entrepreneurs and current business owners looking to start or grow their business in Southern Virginia and have completed an entrepreneurial training program are encouraged to apply. Complete eligibility requirements, additional information about the event, as well as a link to the application can be found at

As we celebrate the achievements of these driven individuals and businesses, we also extend our gratitude to our partners, mentors, and supporters who have played a vital role in making this program a success.

For more information about the RISE Business Bootcamp and future opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners, please visit

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 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 is a partnership between SOVA Innovation Hub and Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC), that is funded in part by a grant from GO Virginia Region 3.


For media inquiries, please contact:
Liz Smith
SOVA Innovation Hub
(434) 570-1312