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!