Controlled Environment Agriculture Strategy & Roadmap

On behalf of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, and with support from an Enhanced Capacity Building award from GO Virginia Region 3, the Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement conducted a study to assess the economic growth potential for the controlled environmental agriculture (CEA) industry in Region 3, and the state of Virginia. CEA, as a sector, is poised for additional growth. CEA refers to the utilization of technology and automation to enhance the indoor growing conditions for crops, fish, and related products. The industry is projected to grow 10.32% annually, reaching $239.8 billion by 2027. The economic potential of CEA includes the attraction, growth and retention of industry prospects; the support of start-ups and smaller-scaled CEA operations; and the potential in support and related sector firms, from lighting to sensor technologies. Jobs in CEA tend to be higher-paying, higher-skilled, and more varied than traditional agriculture and food production

Entrepreneurship & Innovation Investment Strategy Report

This report was commissioned by the GO Virginia Region 3 Council to provide an actionable roadmap for growing the Southern Virginia economy through entrepreneurship and innovation. Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC) and the Longwood University Office of Economic and Community Development were selected to co-lead the development of the strategy. Their approach focused on entrepreneurship ecosystem building through community engagement with entrepreneurs and ecosystem partners, mapping the ecosystem to determine gaps and opportunities to scale resources, mapping existing businesses to determine supply chain opportunities, and research into best practices and programs that would be feasible in Region 3. During the timeline of this project, the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States; therefore, the impact of COVID-19 is referenced throughout the report.

Support Organization Activities Annual Report

The Southside Planning District Commission (PDC), housed in South Hill, Virginia, serves as both the Support Organization and the Fiscal Agent for GO Virginia Region 3.  Each year, the PDC prepares an annual report detailing ways in which support for Region 3 has been provided. The FY20 Report can be accessed at:

TEConomy Regional Entrepreneurial Assessment

TEConomy Partners, LLC was engaged by the GO Virginia Statewide Board to provide each GO Virginia region an independent and objective assessment of its entrepreneurial development position, to facilitate a situational assessment of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and to help identify priority actions to help strengthen the ecosystem alongside local leaders.

High Value Wood Products Report

To aid GO Virginia’s goal of supporting Virginia growth industries and at the request of Region 3’s Council, GENEDGE and RTI International just completed a research study on High-Value Wood Products (HVWP). The study outlines strategies for optimizing the economic impact of the wood products in Region 3’s rich forestry cluster.

Apprenticeship Report

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) was tasked with helping Region 3 identify best practice models for apprenticeship programs. IALR also engaged the National Fund for Workforce Solutions as part of this research. The organizations visited Virginia facilities like Siemens, Newport News Shipbuilding and Phillip Morris. They also looked at North Carolina-based MSI Specialties, Inc. and Germany-based auto parts manufacturer Schaeffler (a leading example more than 4,000 miles away). In addition, a survey of employers in the Region 3 footprint was conducted. The study task force learned that the private sector must have a defined workforce need. Apprenticeship efforts must be driven by the employer and supported at every level within the company.