Special to the Register & Bee

The River District Association announced last week the continuation of the River District Association Dream Launch entrepreneurship program in 2020.

The program consists of two portions: a bootcamp for entrepreneurs who wish to obtain education in preparation to open a business anywhere and a pitch competition for those seeking to open brick and mortar businesses in Danville’s River District in 2020.

“The River District Association is thrilled to offer this opportunity once again to serious entrepreneurs that have dreamed of opening their own business” said Diana Schwartz, executive director of the River District Association.

Those who register for the program with the intent to pitch will be required to attend all sessions of the “Entrepreneur Bootcamp,” an intensive workshop that will meet once per week for eight weeks beginning in January to teach participants a full slate of skills and information that business owners need.

“Through this program, we can provide start-ups the tools, information and assistance to give them the best possible opportunity for success,” Schwartz said.

RDA held the first Dream Launch Bootcamp and Pitch Competition in spring 2019. More than 75 individuals participated in some or all of the bootcamp classes, with nine completing all the requirements to take part in the pitch competition and four ultimately being awarded funding to expand or open their new businesses: KG Graphics, Firefly Studios, Grizzly’s Hatchet House and River City Escapes.

Participants who complete all classes in the bootcamp will be invited to pitch to receive a portion of the $70,000 in funding and prizes that are available. In addition, participants who completed all classes in the 2019 bootcamp also will be invited to register to pitch. Once the pitch is complete, entrepreneurs who successfully present the most viable and sustainable plans, including capital investment and job creation, will be awarded funding to assist in opening their business.

The association will stay involved with the selected businesses, assist with summer grand openings and match them with mentors in the community.

River District Association Dream Launch participants are not required to be Danville residents.

The program also is open to current businesses that would like to expand, as well as nonprofit ventures or those that would like to audit the courses to prepare for potentially opening a business in the future.

There is no cost to participate in the bootcamp or pitch. Registration for the program will open shortly at www.riverdistrict association.com.

For more information, call (434) 791-0210.

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