Join The Grapevine on Facebook and LinkedIn

The Grapevine is made up of entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders across Southern Virginia, with a shared interest in supporting Black & Brown-owned and woman-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. We also recognize the shared challenges of building a business in rural localities, and we believe by working together, we can build stronger regional economies. We welcome all entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders in Southern Virginia to join our LinkedIn and Facebook groups, where we communicate throughout the month, to share resources, ask questions, and make connections.

    Join The Grapevine Monthly Workgroup Zoom Call

    Who will be there? The Grapevine Monthly Workgroup is a team of diverse, creative, and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem builders from across Southern Virginia. During each monthly meeting, we share updates from local and regional entrepreneurs support organizations. We discuss ideas to share resources and empower rural, underserved entrepreneurs to thrive in their local, regional, and global ecosystems. 

    Goals for Meeting: To enhance communication and catalyze connections among regional entrepreneurs, small businesses, and startup resources; to avoid redundancy in resource creation; and to advise the RISE Collaborative regional entrepreneurship initiative as it evolves.

    Meeting Agenda: 1) Introductions & Updates from Entrepreneur Support Organizations & Updates/Asks from Entrepreneurs, 2) Brief presentation or discussion with valuable content for entrepreneurs, and 3) Discussion/Action Items.

      The next meeting is confirmed for Thursday, February 16, 12pm-1pm on Zoom. 

      2023 Meeting Schedule

      January 19, 2023 – 12pm-1pm Zoom Call

      February 16, 2023 – 12pm-1pm Zoom Call

      • Updates from regional representatives and RISE Collaborative
      • Topic: Entrepreneurship & Black History
      • Facilitator: Bethann West James

      March 16, 2023 – 12pm-1pm Zoom Call

      • Updates from regional representatives and RISE Collaborative
      • Topic/Guest Speaker TBD during February call

      Background & Purpose

        The Grapevine Monthly Workgroup began meeting in February 2021, to advise and advance the DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) goals of the RISE Collaborative regional entrepreneurship initiative. During the summer of 2021, the workgroup hosted a series of focus sessions with minority entrepreneurs, resulting in a report with recommendations to be implemented by RISE Collaborative. View the 2021 Report here.

          In April 2022, RISE Collaborative supported a group of ecosystem builders from The Grapevine to attend the Startup Champions Network Summit in Durham, North Carolina. The SCN Summit was hosted by Forward Cities, a nationally-known leader in building equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems. Inspired by this experience, as well as local participation in the 2022 Prosperity Now Summit hosted in Atlanta, Georgia, The Grapevine Monthly Workgroup decided to host our own Summit in November 2022.

            The November 2022 Summit for Black & Brown Business Allies was an overwhelming success, with over 30 individuals in attendance, representing our entire geographic region. As regional ecosystem builders, we believe the answers are in our communities and we just need to ask. We intend to repeat this event in an effort to (1) maintain alignment, (2) hear and include the recommendations of the communities affected, (3) advance the work with the greatest amount of support and (4) continue to build community. Having affirmed the existence of strong partners throughout the region, the challenge remains to raise awareness among the general population of existing business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. The Grapevine will continue to facilitate consistent convenings. We believe getting to know each other is key to increasing coordination and collaboration, as trust builds over time. View the 2022 Report 

              Get Involved Locally

              Minority  Business Consortium of Martinsville & Henry County

              Minority Business Consortium of Martinsville & Henry County

              MBC hosts 6 meetings each year, with an educational speaker, networking, and food. For information, contact minoritybusinessconsortium@gmail.com

              Black Business Collaborative of the Dan River Region

              Black Business Collaborative of the Dan River Region

              The Black Business Collaborative of the Dan River Region is currently in a strategic planning phase.

              Tapestry Network

              Tapestry Network

              The Tapestry Network is looking to grow by purchasing group membership in Chambers in the South Central Piedmont counties.

              The Grapevine Entrepreneur Network

              The Grapevine Entrepreneur Network

              The Grapevine is made up of entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders across Southern Virginia, with a shared interest in supporting Black & Brown-owned and woman-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. The Grapevine Entrepreneur Workgroup meets monthly on Zoom and communicates. We welcome all entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders in Southern Virginia to join our LinkedIn and Facebook groups to share resources, ask questions, and make connections. Learn More

              Get to Know RISE Collaborative

              Hope Harris-Gayles

              Hope Harris-Gayles

              Marketing Consultant

              Halifax County & Southern Virginia

              Michael Scales

              Michael Scales

              Financial Business Analyst

              Martinsville, Henry County, & Patrick County

              Bethann West James, JD

              Bethann West James, JD

              Facilitator & Non-Profit Consultant

              Danville & Halifax County

              Natalie Hodge

              Natalie Hodge

              Storyteller & Ecosystem Builder

              Martinsville & Southern Virginia

              Warren Reid

              Warren Reid

              Business & Marketing Expert

              Farmville & Buckingham County

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