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Apply to Region 2 Grant Programs

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GOVAR2 Infographic 2023.pdf Learn about the GO Virginia Region 2 application process here.

GO Virginia Region 2 is accepting applications for funding projects that could boost the region’s economy. Region 2 anticipates funding projects in varying amounts with project periods not exceeding 2 years. Applications are reviewed once a quarter (4 times a year).

Eligible Applicants:

Potential applicants interested in applying to receive GO Virginia funds for a project must reach out to the Region 2 Council support staff. 

Local government entities or organizations working on behalf of local government entities may apply to receive a GO Virginia grant. These organizations may include: 

  • regional government entities,
  • nonprofit organizations,
  • regional economic development organizations,
  • regional chambers of commerce,
  • planning district commissions, and
  • colleges and universities.

Individual private businesses may not apply to receive funding nor can any grant serve to benefit a single private business.

For more information, please see the GO Virginia Program Manual.

To Submit a Region 2 Application:

  1. Review information on this page about the Region 2 grants to better understand what you need to know before applying.
  2. Write a Letter of Interest and discuss with Region 2 Staff.
  3. Select the appropriate type of grant for your project and complete the application.
  4. Discuss with Region 2 staff early – we’re available throughout the year. 

For feedback and assistance on project development, email Quina Weber-Shirk at the Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement.

Interested applicants are encouraged to submit a no more than 2-page letter of interest that can speak to these points:

  • Includes the name and contact information of the expected primary applicant
  • Identifies Region 2 jurisdictions to be impacted/involved
    Includes list of likely partners and collaborators
  • Provides a brief narrative description of the project 
  • Identifies likely total costs including anticipated GO Virginia request and matching fund sources
  • Includes a clear description of expected outcome or result - clearly describing how the project would spur growth of higher-wage jobs in one or more of Region 2’s priority clusters AND respond to one or more of the identified strategies in the Region 2 Economic Growth and Diversification Plan

All those potentially interested are encouraged to submit a letter, even if brief and incomplete in order to begin the process of engaging with support staff personnel. Letters may be submitted that do not yet have some of these details in order to accelerate staff feedback and ensure that applicants are able to access and complete the full application in a timely manner. Interested applicants should review the Region 2 Growth & Diversification Plan prior to submitting their inquiry or application. Those with entrepreneurship projects must also review the Region 2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Strategic Investment Plan. Priority projects are outlined starting on page 13.

The letter of interest process supports possible applicants by eliciting feedback and guidance on the appropriateness of potential projects for GO Virginia funding. 

Letters of interest should be submitted via email to: Quina Weber-Shirk.

Grant Program Overview

GO (Growth & Opportunity) Virginia is a statewide economic development initiative designed to drive the growth of higher paying jobs and diversify regional economies by incentivizing collaboration between business, higher education and local government through nine regional councils. Each of the nine councils establishes priorities for grant funding opportunities in a regionally developed Growth & Diversification Plan. These plans are updated every two years.

Projects must meet statewide program goals as well as the goals of GO Virginia Region 2:

Statewide Goals

  • Drive growth of higher paying jobs
  • Generate a return on investment within 3 years (5 years for Site projects) 

Region 2 Goals

These goals are explained in detail in the 2023 Region 2 Growth and Diversification Plan.

Must drive one or more of the regional priority strategies:

  • Innovation Cluster Scale-Up 
  • Entrepreneurship and Business Development*
  • Talent Development, Attraction and Retention
  • Collaborative Sites and Infrastructure Development

Must target one or more of these regional economic drivers and clusters: 

  • Life Sciences & Biotechnology
  • IT, Engineering, & Emerging Tech
  • Materials and Machinery Manufacturing
  • Transportation & Autonomy 

*Entrepreneurship projects must align with the Region 2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Strategic Investment Plan. Priority projects are outlined starting on page 13.

  • Support the needs of one or more traded sector, priority industry clusters in Region 2

  • Align with regional economic development goals and strategies outlined in the Region 2 2023 Growth & Diversification Plan.

  • Involve 2 or more local governments. This includes an expectation that the localities will play an active role in the development of the project proposal and remain engaged in the project after the award announcement. The Memo on Regional Collaboration and Local Participation provides additional information. Partnering localities may demonstrate collaboration and meaningful participation in a number of ways, including the following:

Cash or in-kind contributions (non-state funds) to the project made by partnering localities or by an intermediary on behalf of two or more of their local government members (e.g. regional economic development organization, local EDAs, PDC1)

Active ongoing participation on a steering committee or advisory group tasked to guide or oversee implementation of the project;

Utilization of a Regional Facility Industrial Authority or other similar, formal regional intermediary that outlines an agreed upon cost-sharing mechanism;

Federal recovery funds (CARES, ARPA) provided by a locality and designated to support an eligible activity related to a project will be qualified as local match


3 Types of Grants

If you’re having trouble figuring out the best grant type for you, please contact us. We’re here to help! 

Planning funds are less than $100,000 and are intended to support studies, planning or capacity building activities that directly support a future GO Virginia per capita or statewide competitive project funding request. In other words, the planning request must describe and outline a clear “line of sight” between the planning activities and the possible future GO Virginia projects. Planning grant guidance from DHCD.

  1. Planning Grant Application OR Site Development Enhanced Capacity Building (ECB) Application
  2. Application Budget Overview: Sources & Uses Template
  3. Match Verification Form

Per capita (or implementation) grants funds are typically between $100,000 and $500,000, though may be more in select instances. They are used for projects that have a clear Return on Investment or ROI. The anticipated return on investment of a proposed project resulting from the GO grants is one of the key measures to be used by the Board in making funding allocations. The nature of the GO Virginia initiative, however, is different from traditional economic development programs and incentives where results are more immediately visible through direct job creation and capital investment and the tax revenues such activities generate. These measures are important, but under GO Virginia, the proposed grant requests should also focus on long-term, sustainable change, economic diversification, and regional collaboration, so some measures of success are behavioral and thus, harder to measure.

  1. Per Capita Implementation Application OR Site Development Implementation Application
  2. Application ROI Template
  3. Application Budget Overview: Sources & Uses Template
  4. Match Verification Form

Statewide Competitive funds are for projects that are larger in size and scope and represent an economically significant opportunity for the state. Considerations are make both for Multi-Region Applications and Single Region Applications. Statewide Competitive grant guidance from DHCD.

  1. Statewide Competitive Application
  2. Application ROI Template
  3. Competitive Application Sources & Uses Budget Template
  4. Match Verification Form

For All Grants:

For Site Development Applications:

For all Per Capita Implementation and State-wide Competitive Grants

Application Review Process

Applications go through the following organizations and groups for the review process:  1. Support Organization 2. Review Committee of GO VA Region 2 Council 3. Subject Matter Experts 4. Regional Council 5. DHCD 6. Working Group of Subject Matter Experts 7. State Board

Applications will be scored based on these four criteria. Reviewing these components helps prioritize projects based on their feasibility and community impact. The GO Virginia Board reserves the right not to make an award to proposed grant requests that have a low score in one or more of the following areas:

  • Economic Impact (35%)
  • Regional Collaboration (30%)
  • Project Readiness (20%) 
  • Project Sustainability (15%)

September 8, 2022: GO Virginia Region 2 Application Webinar

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