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Business Intel: Gauntlet business program opens application to entrepreneurs

Business Intel: Gauntlet business program opens application to entrepreneurs


The Advancement Foundation has opened applications for its annual Gauntlet Business Program and Competition, which is open to entrepreneurs in additional localities this year.

The program, which kicks off Feb. 9, is for people who want to start or expand a business in the region. Registration is now open on the website for the Vinton nonprofit,

The Gauntlet has previously been open to entrepreneurs in the Roanoke Valley, the Alleghany Highlands and Rockbridge County. But in its seventh year, the program was expanded to the broader Bedford County area.

Annette Patterson, president of The Advancement Foundation, said in a news release that the program is more important now than ever.

“During the past year, we have seen record high unemployment rates and an alarming number of businesses closing,” she said. “Together, we can turn this around by leveraging our community assets, shortening the learning curve for business owners, connecting entrepreneurs to knowledgeable business strategists, and providing needed resources to implement innovative strategies for growth.”

The Gauntlet helped to launch 70 businesses in the spring, as participants carried on throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Six weeks in, the program shifted to an all-virtual format.

Next year’s program will offer virtual and in-person classes. The entire program is available virtually if that’s a participant’s preference.

Contact Casey Fabris at or 540-981-3234.

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Casey Fabris covers business for The Roanoke Times, where she has been a reporter since 2015. Previously, Casey covered Franklin County. She can be reached at (540) 981-3234 or

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