By Eleanor Kennedy
The Lynchburg business community invested more than $114 million, created 132 jobs and started more than 200 new businesses in 2012, according to the annual report from the city’s office of economic development and economic development authority.
EDA Chair Mark Varah, schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Brabrand and City Manager Kim Payne highlighted these and other 2012 accomplishments Tuesday night at the annual
“Taking Care of Business Meeting,” coordinated by the office of economic development.
“2012 has been a great year for businesses in Lynchburg,” Varah told the crowd of business leaders gathered for the event at the Academy of Fine Arts downtown.
Varah cited several firsts for the EDA last year, including the first loan from the authority’s revolving loan fund and the first technology zone grant. He talked about the value of Lynchburg’s “quality of place” for attracting new businesses and spurring further development.
Payne echoed Varah’s message on quality of place, mentioning recent accreditations for the city’s public safety departments and the health of local museums and parks.
“You expect this place be an attractive place for you to live and for you to do business,” Payne said.
While discussing 2012 accomplishments for the schools and plans for continued improvement into 2013, Brabrand said he recognizes the importance of education as workforce development for future economic success.
“A city needs to have a strong K-12 background in order to springboard workforce development,” he said.
Looking forward to 2013, Varah touted the EDA’s upcoming strategic plan, plans to create a defense zone for local businesses working with the Department of Defense and continued efforts to support entrepreneurship.
“We’re going to continue to innovate, focus and get results,” he said.