RD160 - Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority 2021 Annual Report
Despite the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 was a very active year for the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) and the seven-county, one-city region which VCEDA promotes as “Southwest Virginia’s e-Region."
There were 46 new project announcements and 14 expansion/retention project announcements, for a total of 60 projects announced during the year. With these 60 projects, 1,015 full-time jobs and 171 part-time jobs, including new and retained, are projected. In addition, these projects plan more than $211 million in new private investment in the region. Projects were announced in all eight localities in the region.
New projects announced in the region include Maine Five, BEAST Company, and Edelen Renewables in Buchanan County, Ceccato USA in Russell County, Rambler Wood Products in Russell and Wise Counties, and EarthLink, LLC in Wise County and the City of Norton. Expansions announced include the Virginia Employment Commission, Issues & Answers Network, SunCoke Energy, and Skyline Fabricating, Inc. in Buchanan County, the SRRA Sportman’s Complex in Dickenson County, Riverbound Trout Farms, LLC in Russell County, Tempur Sealy and VFP, Inc. in Scott County, and Bruneaux Bait and Lawrence Brothers, Inc. in Tazewell County.
The region is finding great success with entrepreneurship and small business development. Notably, 40 of the new projects announced were new small businesses being assisted by VCEDA’s Seed Capital Matching Fund, which provides up to $10,000 seed capital grants in consort with services provided by the area’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). These 40 small businesses project 238 full-time and part-time jobs and nearly $2 million in private investment.
Nearly all of the 60 projects announced during the year are benefitting from some type of financial assistance approved by VCEDA. In 2021, VCEDA approved 64 loans and grants, the highest quantity of loans and grants in its history, for more than $6.1 million in new VCEDA funding. This funding continues to play a crucial role in the improvement and diversification of the region’s economy. These 64 loans and grants involve projects throughout the entire region. Included in these were the first funding approvals from VCEDA’s new Renewable Energy Fund.
VCEDA also continues to maintain an aggressive business attraction program, an active business expansion and retention (BRE) program, a tourism capital improvement fund, and continues to assist with the administration of the Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority. VCEDA also made strategic investments in workforce development and training and broadband deployment during the year.