RICHMOND, Virginia (March 29, 2022) — The Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA) has awarded its 2022 Community Economic Development Awards (CEDA) to three communities in the Commonwealth for their efforts in advancing economic viability through economic and community development programs.
The winning recipients were:
  • Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc.
  • Blue Ridge Community College
  • Roanoke County
Entries into the annual awards program are judged on factors that include innovativeness, transferability, community commitment and overall benefits derived from each.
VEDA will submit the winning entries to the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC) for consideration under its award program that takes place later this year.
“We celebrate the outstanding work of economic developers throughout the Commonwealth, including the three worthy recipients of the CEDA awards,” said Rockbridge County Economic Development Director Brandy Flint, Chair of VEDA’s CEDA awards committee. “Each of the winning programs provides exemplary framework for other communities to replicate in order for Virginia to continue to attract new jobs and investment opportunities.”
Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc (FSEDI), administered by Franklin Southampton Inc., helps entrepreneurs start businesses through business education, which includes developing a plan and pitching it in a competition with prize money awarded for the top plans. The program titled STARTUP initially used funding provided through a Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development grant. FSEDI absorbed the program into its operating budget after the grant-funded first round that awarded 10 businesses prize money. Many of these startups have already expanded operations and created a transformative effect in that region. Vacant storefronts have been replaced by vibrant businesses — gyms, coffee shops, an interior designer and restaurant and entertainment options — in downtown Franklin, an overall benefit to that community that further resulted in a synergy among business owners. Today the program known as STARTUP Franklin Southampton is a role model for other communities to follow in their revitalization efforts.
The Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership association for individuals with a professional interest in economic development across the Commonwealth of Virginia. VEDA serves as the voice of economic development in Virginia and was founded in 1982 to increase the effectiveness of individuals involved in the practice of economic development in Virginia by encouraging cooperation, exchange of information, and professional development activities. For more information, visit
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Stephanie Heinatz
Consociate Media for the Virginia Economic Developers Association