Culpeper Competes Awards Three Businesses $30,000 in Startup and Expansion Funding

August 24, 2023 Updates

Culpeper Competes Awards Three Businesses $30,000 in Startup and Expansion Funding Image

CULPEPER, Virginia (August 24, 2023) – The Town of Culpeper’s Tourism and Economic Development Department awards $30,000 in grants and prizes to three Culpeper Competes entrepreneurs.

Culpeper Competes was a ten-week entrepreneurship education competition program.  Designed for entrepreneurs planning to open a new brick and mortar business in downtown Culpeper, for existing downtown Culpeper businesses that had innovative ideas on how to expand and grow their business and any existing business that planned to expand to a location in downtown Culpeper.

Culpeper Tourism and Economic Development partnered with the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center to present the seven week workshop, covering topics from starting a small business to accounting/finance and credit, operations/legal and leadership, and sales/marketing and branding.  The eighth week of the course, competitors met with mentors from the Small Business Development Center and Town of Culpeper staff to prepare for pitch night. 

On August 9, 2023, eight out of the thirty participants competed for $30,000 in grant funds.  “Competition was incredibly strong this year, our competitors presented a variety of new and expanded retail, food and beverage projects as well as healthcare, wellness, community, special event and overnight accommodation programs,” offered Paige Read, Director of Tourism and Economic Development, “Each presentation was filled with vision, market data, financial planning and strategy.  I left that night feeling grateful I wasn’t a judge, because I believe all twelve businesses should be businesses in Culpeper, and I look forward to continuing to support our competitors and entrepreneurs in helping bring their dreams to life.”

A panel of five judges scored each business on their pitch. Seven on Davis, a new special event space and overnight accommodations project took first place, winning $15,000. “This grant is absolutely a gift in this beginning phase of our new business. We have poured so much of our time, energy and resources into this new venture and we are at a place where every dollar counts. This grant gives us a chance to really market far and wide to bring as many new faces into Culpeper as possible. It also enables us to continue to rehab a historic property and to have a little cushion while we figure out operations. We are beyond grateful to all of the hardworking people that make small business in Culpeper possible and for all of the knowledge that this course provided. It is programs like this and people like the ones that run this program that make Culpeper such an incredible place to live and do business in,” stated Joy Orr, Owner of Seven on Davis.

Collector’s Den, an expansion project took second place, winning $10,000. “At Collector’s Den, we’re not just a store – we’re a community. With a rich selection of collectibles, gaming products, and engaging events, our vision has always been about creating a haven for collectors and enthusiasts to Shop, Play, and Grow. With the $10,000 grant from the Culpeper Competes Small Business Pitch Competition, we’re embarking on an exciting expansion journey”, stated Richard Ubario, Co-Owner of Collector’s Den. “Our plans include moving to a larger location that will not only accommodate an enhanced retail experience but also provide dedicated gaming spaces, party rentals, and even more community-driven events. In addition to putting the money towards expanding into a larger space we are launching the Free SPACE project that is inspired by a traditional bingo board. Each space encompasses what we hope this project creates in Culpeper. The free space in the middle of this bingo board is designed to represent the space we create within our store for everyone to be themselves,” Ubario added.

101 Latino Multiservice, LLC., an expansion project took third place, winning $5,000. “We are honored to be selected as winners of the Culpeper Competes Grant Contest. This grant will enable us to further our mission of providing essential services to the Latino community in Culpeper. With the $5,000, we will enhance our outreach efforts, expand educational workshops, and continue our journey of empowering individuals and businesses. We plan to allocate a portion of the funds to upgrading our technology infrastructure, including acquiring essential office equipment such as computers, printers, and software. We are deeply grateful for this opportunity to contribute to the growth and prosperity of our community,” said Franz & Karina Rodriguez, owners of 101 Latino Multiservice, LLC.

The Town of Culpeper Tourism and Economic Development Department launched Culpeper Competes in 2021. It is the goal of the department to continue the Culpeper Competes program in future years as funding allows.


*If photos used please credit: Town of Culpeper Economic Development & Tourism Office.