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McDonnell signs legislation to promote small businesses

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

Small businesses across Virginia received a boost with new legislation signed this week by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

McDonnell signed the bills creating the Small Business Investment Grant Fund on Wednesday, according to a news release from the governor's office.

The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will administer the fund, according to a Department of Taxation fiscal impact statement. It gives DBA-qualified investors a grant that is 10 percent of what has been invested in a small business, it states, and requires that investor to hold the investment for two years, with certain exceptions.

Most of the new jobs in Virginia come from small business, McDonnell states in the release.

"The legislation signed today will encourage private capital to invest in these job creating entrepreneurs," the release quotes him as stating. "The Small Business Investment Grant Fund will make it easier for those eligible to invest in Virginia's small businesses.

"As we continue to look for ways to get Virginians back to work, it will continue to be small businesses leading the way and the legislation signed today will aid them in doing what they do best: creating jobs."

Sen. Ryan McDougle, R-Mechanicsvile, sponsored the Senate version of the bill.

According to the release, small business owners frequently tell him that access to capital is a hindrance to expansion.

"This legislation will encourage investment in these entrepreneurs and help ensure that Virginia continues to be the best place in the country to start or grow a business," he states in the release.

The Virginia Economic Developers Association helped craft the language of the bill, association President Patrick Barker said Thursday evening. Barker is also the executive director of the Winchester-Frederick County Economic Development Commission.

"It's another tool in our tool belts to help small businesses," he said of the legislation.

While Strasburg Chamber of Commerce President Rich Orndorff wasn't familiar with the grant program, he thought the legislation was a good thing.

"I think it's wonderful if the state has the funding to assist small businesses and help jump start the economy," he said.

As chamber president and as a member of the Strasburg Town Council, Orndorff said he's been involved in discussions about attracting more businesses to town.

"In economic development discussions, we [discuss the] need to fill the storefronts downtown, and we need to fill those with things that draw people to the area, and therefore, that's going to help," he said. "Once we do draw the businesses to the community, it's important that in order for them to survive, we have to support those businesses."

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