LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) — There will be new businesses popping up all over Downtown Lynchburg in the next year, thanks to a new initiative.
The Downtown Lynchburg Association announced the winners of its inaugural Launch LYH pitch competition on Wednesday.
The program is dedicated to creating economic growth and revitalizing the area by supporting entrepreneurs looking to start, relocate or expand their business in Downtown Lynchburg.
All winning businesses are expected to open or expand their businesses within the next year. The selected applicants participated in an eight-week educational course, concluding with a competitive pitch event.
The winners were chosen by a panel of local business experts based on their innovative ideas, strong business models, and demonstrated commitment to contributing to the vibrancy of Lynchburg's business community. The total grant funds of $115,000 were divided among the winners, according to their overall scores, respective business needs, and growth plans.
The winners of the Launch LYH Pitch Competition and new businesses coming to Downtown are:
Super Rad! – ($25,000)
"We've been working on this concept since 2018 after seeing how exciting it could be and downtown seems to be the most logical spot with its future plans and central location,” said Cullen Jennings, owner of Super Rad! “We feel like there are no late-night exciting things to do downtown outside of your normal restaurants and bars. We want to change that. Launch LYH has given us an amazing jumping point after years of pitching an idea around. The program gave us all the resources to help lock in specifics and help us grow as future business owners in the Lynchburg area and we are beyond thankful for them."
PREAM – ($25,000)
Wolfbane Productions – ($25,000)
Lynchburg Golf &Social – ($10,000)
“From day one, expansion has always been our goal, and we feel that Lynchburg is the perfect place. Similar to Danville, Lynchburg has a focus on reviving the downtown area and we want to be a part of that,” said Richard Barrick, owner of Lynchburg Golf and Social Club. “The Launch LYH program has been extremely valuable and informative with tons of resources. I can not say enough about the program and what they have done for our business.”
Mosaic Collective + Threaded – ($10,000)
The Lost Playground – ($10,000)
Easy Speak Dance Hall & Events – ($10,000)
The winners will also receive the Launch LYH Prize Package, which includes resources from partnering organizations, designed to further support their entrepreneurial journey.
"I am thrilled to see the incredible potential and entrepreneurial spirit showcased by the winners of the Launch LYH pitch competition. These businesses will undoubtedly contribute to the vibrancy and economic growth of Downtown Lynchburg,” said Ashley Kershner, the Executive Director of the Downtown Lynchburg Association. “We are proud to support their journey and look forward to witnessing their success as they bring their innovative ideas to life in our community."
This program was made possible with the support of its sponsors, including the Department of Community and Housing Development's Community Business Launch Program, the Truist Foundation, Bank of the James, Freedom First Credit Union, Scott Insurance, City of Lynchburg Office of Economic Development and Tourism, Moore & Giles, Stifel, Small Business Development Center - Lynchburg Region, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, and The Virginian Hotel.