Laurel Ridge Small Business Development Center and Bright Box Leading Entrepreneur Competition

For Immediate Release:
January 11, 2017

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

Bill Long

The Laurel Ridge Small Business Development Center and Bright Box announce the launch of their second annual regional entrepreneurship competition.

The LFSBDC is the lead agency this year, and has rebranded the competition RISE (Regional Initiative Supporting Entrepreneurship). Bright Box is the title sponsor.

Participating entrepreneurs, who have been in business for at least two years, take six classes related to launching a business, submit a business plan and create a sales pitch. Finalists will be chosen to compete on April 18 at the Corron Center on the Laurel Ridge Middletown Campus for $5,000 in cash, and $3,500 worth of chamber of commerce memberships, social media consultation and advertising dollars.

Participants must be licensed in Winchester, Front Royal, or Frederick, Clarke, Warren, Shenandoah or Page counties.

A separate, but related, competition for entrepreneurs registered in Fauquier or Culpeper counties will award one year’s free rent at the Fauquier Enterprise Center in Vint Hill.

Registration is now open, and classes will begin on Feb. 22 at the Laurel Ridge Middletown Campus with remote broadcast to our Luray-Page County Center and Warrenton/Culpeper.

“Last year’s event, entitled The Entrepreneur Café, was a resounding success,” LFSBDC Executive Director Christine Kriz says. “Classrooms were full at both the Laurel Ridge Middletown Campus and remotely at our campus in Luray/Page. This year, we’re expanding our classroom reach to include Warrenton and Culpeper at the Vint Hill Business Incubator.”

At last year’s event, Bill Long, owner of Auto Care Clinic in Warren County, was the top winner, while Laura Gomez of Route 11 Outfitters received the $750 People’s Choice Award.

“The program helped me develop my business plan, which we have now met and exceeded,” Long

Bill Long

Last year’s winner Bill Long says joining the competition was “the best money I’ve ever spent!”

says. “Even if you don’t win…the education is well worth the registration fee. I have to say, it was the best money I’ve ever spent!”

This year’s sponsors include Dish Network/Via Satellite, First Bank, Northern Virginia Daily, Shenandoah University, Piccadilly Printing, Frederick County EDA, Warren County EDA, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, Web Strategies, InterChange and Bank of Clarke County.

Community partners include the Frederick County EDA, Warren County EDA, Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, Top of Virginia Chamber, Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce, Page County Department of Tourism and Shenandoah University.

“We are very excited to offer this program once again to the regional entrepreneurial community,” says Marla Taylor Jones, Warren County EDA director of marketing and business development and a RISE Advisory Committee member. “Last year’s event was very well-received by the community and highly acclaimed by those business professionals who participated as sponsors, judges and instructors.”

To register for the competition, or for more information, visit

Seats are limited, and registration will close at 6 p.m. Feb. 17.


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With three locations — Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray-Page County — the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Laurel Ridge Community College also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Laurel Ridge shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment. Inquiries may be directed to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources, [email protected]173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645, 540-868-7226.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.