Turner Long and Carilion Clinic Host Heart Ball

A Celebration of creating and sharing. Our evening celebrates: our work and mission; our donors and volunteers; and — most importantly — the lives saved and improved because of everyone’s effort.

Locally presented by Turner Long Construction, Inc. and Carilion Clinic, the Heart Ball promises to be an engaging evening of fun and passion bringing community and philanthropic leaders together.

Last year, our Heart Ball campaign raised just over $71 million nation-wide allowing us to fund life-saving research and prevention programs in your community and across the country.

Our Mission: Building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

For information about sponsorships or tickets, please visit RoanokeHeartball.heart.org or contact Dalh Brown at 540-206-9588 or dalh.brown@heart.org.


Join The Gauntlet Business Program & Competition

2018 GAUNTLETThe Gauntlet is back! Roanoke County, Botetourt County, the Alleghany Highlands, and The Advancement Foundation team up to support small business development across the region. The Advancement Foundation is celebrating 10 years of community impact and will be hosting the 4th Annual Gauntlet Business Program & Competition. This is the largest business program and competition in Virginia! Last year, The Advancement Foundation gave away over $200K to the 2017 Gauntlet participants to start or expand their local businesses. Previous Gauntlet graduates include Twin Creeks Brewing Company, Wingman Outfitter, Blue Mountain Adventures, Discount Computer Services, Dreyer Academy, P.A. on Demand, New Moon Creative Media, Earthworks Pottery, Hamm’s Fine Foods, New Freedom Farm, Big Lick Boomerang, Dr. Auto Spa, Thread Love, 581 Media, Frost Gear, Twice Treasured Consignment, and Primary Solutions Physical Therapy just to name a few. This year The Gauntlet program will award $250K in startup capital and prizes to participants!

The Gauntlet program is also very excited about folks wanting to start recreational and outdoor tourism businesses in the beautiful Roanoke Region that we call home! The Gauntlet is all about creating synergy to support small business and also to continue to expand our local entrepreneurial ecosystem. If you have an outdoor tourism business idea, or have ANY business idea that you would like to explore, consider joining The Gauntlet! If you want to just learn about starting a business and entrepreneurship or if you have an existing business and would like to expand consider joining The Gauntlet!

Anyone can participate in the program, ranging from high school students to adults, and competitors have to start or expand their businesses in Roanoke County, Botetourt County, or the Alleghany Highlands in order to compete to win cash and prizes (though the competition at the end of the classes is not required as participants are welcome to join The Gauntlet just for the educational piece and experience). The Gauntlet classes will be held once a week, every Tuesday, starting February 6, 2018, $45 per month for 3 months, from 6:00pm – 7:30pm, and the location is your choice at either the Vinton War Memorial or Dabney S. Lancaster Community College. The Gauntlet Awards Ceremony will be on May 17, 2018. Please contact Kathleen@TheAdvancementFoundation.org for more information or register at www.TheAdvancementFoundation.org. Gear Up for The Gauntlet!


Economic development initiative to foster healthier communities

Dorothy McAuliffe has used her platform as First Lady to advocate for hunger-related issues over the past four years. In one of her final official events, she joined legislators and community leaders at a Thursday press conference to unveil the Virginia Grocery Investment Fund (SB37/HB85)

The Chamber stands in support of the Virginia Grocery Investment Fund. This bipartisan approach to food deserts aligns directly with our economic development and healthcare advocacy.

Limited access to food, especially healthy and nutritious food, is a reality that plagues many of our neighbors in the Roanoke region. The Virginia Grocery Investment Fund will serve as a resource to low-income individuals in food deserts by incentivizing grocery and foot retail projects.

This program will serve as a benefit for individuals, communities and businesses. With increased access to healthy options, individuals will be able to better prevent diet-related diseases, leading to higher workplace productivity and lower healthcare costs.

Governor McAuliffe recommended $7.5 million in his budget to fund the program. With this level of investment, an estimated $22.5 million will be leveraged in private development.

For additional details on the Virginia Grocery Investment Fund and its projected community and economic impacts, click here.

RAMP business accelerator awards VOLATIA $5,000 job-­creation prize

The language translation company was selected by its peers as having the greatest potential to create jobs in our region over the next 10 years

ROANOKE The Regional Acceleration and Mentorship Program (RAMP) is pleased to announce that VOLATIA is the recipient of a $5,000 award provided under a state Building Entrepreneurial Economies (BEE) grant received by Virginia Western Community College. The goal of the state’s BEE grant program is to encourage micro/small business development and job creation.

VOLATIA was chosen as the award recipient based on rankings provided by the CEOs of the six companies that took part in the first RAMP business accelerator cohort, which launched in June 2017. These peer rankings were based on each company’s potential to generate jobs in the greater Roanoke region over the next 10 years.

“We are so honored and very thankful,” said Baraka Kasongo, CEO of VOLATIA, a Roanoke-­‐based language translation company. “I am confident that each of the five other companies is going to make a great impact in this region. I am so proud to have shared this journey with each of them.”

He added, regarding the RAMP business accelerator, “There are many benefits of RAMP but, in short, VOLATIA has received the most organized business development support in just 6 months than we did from all the other organizations that focus on business development in the last 10 years. RAMP has been and will continue to be a gateway to connections who are thought leaders in various aspects of managing and growing a business. We are honored and proud to have been selected as a member of the first RAMP cohort and look forward to creating many jobs in this region.”

Samantha Steidle, Virginia Western’s RAMP Innovation Officer, said, “VOLATIA embodies the best in our region. We are so excited to watch this locally grown startup impact our region through job creation.”

A Wrap Party was held on Jan. 4 to mark the conclusion of programming for the first cohort. Cohort companies, mentors, sponsors and the RAMP Advisory Board members came together to celebrate the progress made during the seven-­‐month residency. Mary Miller, RAMP Director, said, “I think I can speak for all those involved with supporting this first cohort when I say this work has been gratifying. The six companies that participated have a clear understanding that our region embraces them and we will continue to support their growth. I know I look forward to the day when they will become mentors for future cohorts.”

The application period for the second cohort will open on Jan. 15 and close March 15. Technology companies interested in applying are encouraged to attend one of three information sessions that will be taking place across the region in early February. The first session will be held at TechPad in Blacksburg on Feb. 6, the second at the RAMP/Gill Memorial Building in Roanoke on Feb. 7, and the third session at the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance. An announcement regarding the companies selected for the second cohort will be made at the Roanoke-­‐Blacksburg Technology Council’s Annual TechNite Awards dinner May 3 at the Inn at Virginia Tech. Details can be found on the RAMP website, www.ramprb.tech.

The RAMP business accelerator is housed in the historic Gill Memorial Building at 709 S. Jefferson St., along the Roanoke Innovation Corridor. RAMP founding partners include:

  • the City of Roanoke, which won a $600,000 state grant approved by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to renovate the Gill building as an accelerator;;
  • Virginia Western Community College, which operates the facility and provides entrepreneurial classes and faculty support;;
  • the Roanoke-­Blacksburg Technology Council, which runs the accelerator program and has developed the accelerator’s mentorship and networking initiatives.

RAMP’s inaugural year was supported by a $40,000 state Building Entrepreneurial Economies grant from the state Department of Housing and Community Development. This assistance supported the instruction of Lean Startup, an entrepreneurial methodology developed by Silicon Valley startup guru Steve Blank and taught at Stanford, Columbia, Virginia Tech and UC Berkeley universities. BEE funding in RAMP’s second year will support the development of entrepreneurial classes at RAMP focused on “gig economy” workers.


Nomination period for Small Business Awards is now open

Show your support for your favorite small businesses by nominating them for the Roanoke Regional Chamber’s 2018 Small Business of the Year. Small businesses are owned by people who live in your town, worship beside you, donate to local nonprofits and coach your kids’ Little League teams. When you spend money in their stores, you are supporting your neighbors.

Small Business of the Year applicants and their nominators* will be recognized at the 32nd Annual Small Business Awards in October. Click here to nominate an outstanding small business for the 2018 Small Business of the Year.

More than 90 outstanding small businesses, not-for-profit, small business veteran, and advocates were recognized at the 31st Annual Small Business of the Year Awards. Congratulations to all of our 2017 winners and nominees.

Overall and category winners:

  • 2017 Small Business of the Year – Custom Tool & Machine
  • Small Business Veteran – Michael Shelton, 360 Financial Solutions
  • Small Business Advocate – Annette Patterson, The Advancement Foundation
  • Construction/Real Estate – Mountain Roofing
  • Micro-Business – Lodging Technology
  • Business-to-Business Services – Volatia Language Network
  • Business-to-Consumer Services – SERVPRO of Roanoke
  • Manufacturing – Custom Tool & Machine
  • Wholesale/Retail – SafeSide
  • Technology – Polymer Solutions Incorporated
  • Legacy – Wood’s Service Centers
  • Best New Small Business – St. Pierre Woodworking and Sawmill
  • Not-for-Profit Arts & Culture – Southwest Virginia Ballet
  • Not-for-Profit Health & Human Services – The Advancement Foundation
  • People’s Choice Award – Local Seafood Delivery

All nominees: 

Small Business Advocate 

  • Jeff Barbour, Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP
  • Scott Clarke, Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP
  • Tom Field, Valley Business FRONT
  • Annette Patterson, The Advancement Foundation
  • Michael Shelton, Brambleton Area Business Association
  • Mary A. Zirkle, Town of Buchanan

Construction/Real Estate 

  • Acquisition Title and Settlement Agency, Inc.
  • Mountain Roofing, Inc.


  • Bohemian Robot Media Group
  • Delish! Sweets & Treats
  • Emissary Investigative Services, LLC
  • Local Seafood Delivery, LLC
  • Lodging Technology
  • Patriot Drug & DNA Testing, Inc.
  • Stoke Chiropractic Clinic, PC

Business-to-Business Services 

  • AFC Urgent Care Roanoke
  • Business Solutions, Inc.
  • Controllers, Etc.
  • Eddy Communications Corporation
  • Entré Computer Center
  • Paul Bunyan’s Tree Service, Inc.
  • Sunbelt Business Brokers of Roanoke & Lynchburg
  • Volatia Language Network

Business-to-Consumer Services 

  • Aztec Rental
  • Big Lick Entertainment
  • Dominion Accounting and Tax Service
  • Executive Town Car & Limousine Service, Inc.
  • LAB Sports Performance
  • Lucas Therapies
  • Parker Design Group, Inc.
  • SERVPRO of Roanoke
  • Southern Trust Home Services
  • Spine and Orthopedic Rehab of VA (SORVA)
  • Sunshine Services, LLC
  • Support Systems, Inc.
  • Vinton/Brambleton Computer
  • Virginia Interventional Pain & Spine Center
  • Window World of Roanoke


  • Clark Brothers Welding
  • Custom Tool & Machine, Inc.
  • CW Security Solutions, LLC
  • Plastic Fabricating, Inc.
  • Schroeder Optical

Wholesale / Retail

  • Land of a Thousand Hills
  • Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar
  • SafeSide
  • Thorvin, Inc.


  • Firefli
  • Polymer Solutions Incorporated
  • Protos Security

Legacy Award

  • J & J Fashions, Inc.
  • John T. Morgan Roofing
  • Saunders Dental Laboratory, LLC
  • S.J. Conner and Sons, Inc.
  • The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center
  • Wood’s Service Centers

Best New Small Business

  • Angelle’s Diner
  • Arara Language Solutions, LLC
  • Big Lick Boomerang
  • Champloo Desserts, LLC.
  • Corbin’s Confections
  • Dynamic Medical, LLC
  • Frost Gear, LLC
  • Miles of Styles
  • PAonDemand
  • Parkside Storage
  • Paw 2 Paw Pet Sitting
  • Star City SkyCams
  • St. Pierre Woodworking and Sawmill
  • Twin Creeks Brewing Company
  • VA Paint Party
  • Wingman Outfitter, Inc.

Not-for-Profit, Arts & Culture

  • Southwest Virginia Ballet
  • Standing Room Only, Inc.
  • Vinton War Memorial

Not-for-Profit, Health & Human Services

  • American Cancer Society
  • The Advancement Foundation
  • Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center
  • Blue Ridge Literacy
  • Botetourt Resource Center, Inc.
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia
  • Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia
  • Community Youth Program at St. John’s, Inc.
  • Creative Therapy Care
  • DePaul Community Resources
  • Goodwill Industries of the Valleys
  • Katie’s Place
  • Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc. (SERCAP)
  • Total Action for Progress – A Legacy Organization
  • Transitional Options for Women
  • YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge – A Legacy Organization
  • Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
  • West End Center

*If a business is nominated by multiple individuals, only the first person to complete the nomination form will be recognized at the awards ceremony.