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James City County is pleased to announce that more than 100 County businesses have received funding from the Greater Williamsburg Small Business Relief Fund to assist obstacles they have faced due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Each business received $3,000 after applying and being approved by volunteers from the VA 30 Day Fund. The Board of Supervisors previously allocated $500,000 to the fund for County businesses.The 100th County business to receive funding was Sweethaven Lavender Farm (Sweethaven). Sweethaven planted its first lavender crop in 2018 and opened for business in 2019. COVID-19 canceled their second annual lavender festival days in late May and early June.“Pete Snyder called me personally to let me know that we were selected, and the funds are already in our account! Wow, what a huge blessing!” said Kerry Messer, owner of Sweethaven.A video featuring Messer about being the 100th County business is available online.Businesses included local restaurants, small manufacturers, professional services, healthcare-related industries and hospitality services. Funding is still available.Small businesses can apply for a $3,000 forgivable loan online at va30dayfund.com. Applications are evaluated by volunteers from the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Only businesses located in James City County are eligible for grants from the $500,000 allocated by James City County.Qualifying businesses must have operated for at least a year, employ three to 30 people and be owned and operated by a Virginia resident. Businesses are encouraged to repay the loan by depositing funding back into the fund when they are able to “pay it forward.”
The Greater Williamsburg Small Business Relief Fund was established by the Williamsburg Community Foundation (WCF) and the Greater Williamsburg Partnership in partnership with the VA 30 Day Fund at the end of April. The Greater Williamsburg Small Business Relief Fund provides forgivable loans to businesses located in the Greater Williamsburg region. The funding allocated from James City County is designated exclusively for County businesses. Dedicated staff from WCF works with the VA 30 Day Fund, who administer the allocated funding including processing applications and issuing payments. The Greater Williamsburg Small Business Relief Fund was the first public-private partnership fund established with VA 30 Day Fund. James City County was the first locality to allocate locality-specific funding to the VA 30 Day Fund. Originally, the Greater Williamsburg Small Business Relief Fund was established with $10,000 in seed money from the Economic Development Authorities of the City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Chesapeake Bank and two WCF trustees also committed to help.If businesses or individuals are interested in donating to the Greater Williamsburg Small Business Relief Fund to support regional businesses, please visit the WCF Donation website. If you prefer, WCF can set up an electronic transfer from a bank account. For more information, please contact WCF at 757-259-1660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Media Contact:Christopher Johnson, Director of Economic Development757-253-6607; email@example.com