Venture Richmond awards 10 grants to Broad Street businesses

Holly Rodriguez | 9/22/2022, 6 p.m.
When the Department of Housing and Community Development awarded Venture Richmond a $100,000 grant, the agency suggested the grantee focus ...

When the Department of Housing and Community Development awarded Venture Richmond a $100,000 grant, the agency suggested the grantee focus on resurgence grants, with a focus on neighborhood revitalization.

The group decided to award 10 grants worth $10,000 each to small businesses willing to relocate to Broad Street. Venture Richmond conducted an outreach marketing effort to attract businesses to Broad, and directly worked with property owners who would have locations ready to move in between Jan. 1 and May 15, 2022.

“This is the first time we’ve done anything like this,” said Lucy Meade, director of economic development and community relations for Venture Richmond.

“Grants were given on a first-come, first-served basis,” Ms. Meade said. “Applicants had to have a business license, certificate of occupancy and a signed lease.”

As a part of the marketing effort, Venture Richmond partnered with the Metropolitan Business League for a tenant recruitment fair.

Ticeses Teasley, founder of Nurturing Minds and Therapy Undefeated, is one of the grant recipients and among the new tenants, located at 420 W. Broad St. Her organization provides parenting, peer, and trauma-healing groups with a focus on services to heal families. A certified mental health professional, one of her programs is a student-run cafe for social and emotional learning.

Ms. Teasley said she was attracted to the Broad Street location to better serve her clients.

“It is on the bus line, so it is a great central location to better serve the community,” Ms. Teasley said. While the organization is currently located at the storefront part of the building, she has plans to stay awhile and grow.

“I want to eventually take over the entire building, expanding to provide youth lodging upstairs so the kids can have temporary housing there and work downstairs in the cafe,” she said.

Easier access to her clients also prompted Kenda Sutton-El, owner of Birth in Color, to relocate her business from

Richmond’s South Side to 115 E. Broad St. Her business focuses on raising awareness about maternal health and reproductive justice for Black women.

“It has been a better fit because it is a larger space,” said Ms. Sutton-El. “We can host all classes here without having to pay a fee; more people are showing up because we are more accessible; and overall, this meets our goal of being more accessible to underserved people in the community so they can enjoy what we offer,” she said.

Success and growth are what Venture Richmond envisions for the new tenants, Ms. Meade said. “We want businesses, particularly small business, to grow and hope the grants help them do something they wouldn’t have been able to do without it,” she said. “We want them to be successful.”

The other eight recipients of the $10,000 grants are:

• Charged Up

• Jolene

• Lavender Social Club

• Myselfierva

• Rushing Blooms

• RVA Hair Warehouse

• Sarah’s Den

• Taylor’s Barbershop