The Grapevine Entrepreneur Network 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.
Wondering how to get started with the RISE Grapevine Entrepreneur Network?
Watch the video to see things you can do to get involved and get active in the networks.
Join The Grapevine on Facebook and LinkedIn
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.
2023 Meeting Schedule
The Grapevine Monthly Workgroup meets on Zoom on the third Thursday of each month, 12pm-1pm. Meetings are recorded and shared so that anyone who cannot attend live can still receive the information. Attendance is open to entrepreneurs, business owners, and resource providers. The workgroup will include updates from regional representatives and RISE Collaborative program leaders.
August 17, 2023 – 12pm-1pm Zoom Call
Guest Speaker: Pastor Charles Whitfield – Entrepreneur, Pastor, and Founder of the Martinsville-Henry County Minority Business Consortium
Topic: “Growing & Selling A Successful Business”
September 21, 2023 – 12pm-1pm Zoom Call
Guest Speaker: Jerelle Carter – Partner and Coach at Performance 276
Topic: “Building a Business, Building Community”
October 19, 2023 – 12pm-1pm Zoom Call
Guest Speaker: To be announced
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
MBC hosts 6 meetings each year, with an educational speaker, networking, and food. For information, contact email@example.com
Black Business Collaborative of the Dan River Region
The Black Business Collaborative of the Dan River Region is currently in a strategic planning phase.
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 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
Halifax County & Southern Virginia
Financial Business Analyst
Martinsville, Henry County, & Patrick County
Bethann West James, JD
Facilitator & Non-Profit Consultant
Danville & Halifax County
Storyteller & Ecosystem Builder
Martinsville & Southern Virginia
Business & Marketing Expert
Farmville & Buckingham County
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