Part of former Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s GO Virginia Initiative, Project Seed “will connect the community to local and regional resources for business and social entrepreneurship development by establishing an Innovation Hub in Downtown Farmville.” The Hub is envisioned to serve as a community co-working space, a digital maker space, and an educational outreach center.
Since arriving at Hampden-Sydney in 2019, Director of the Flemming Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Andrew King has been transforming the way the College teaches and promotes entrepreneurship both on and off the Hill.
In addition to his work in the classroom teaching students the basics of entrepreneurship and guiding them through the process of creating a prototype and pitching their fledgling businesses to investors, Dr. King is fostering valuable relationships between institutions of higher learning such as Longwood University and Averett University as well as communities like Farmville and South Boston, where entrepreneurship is experiencing a surge of support and investment. Partnering with Longwood Associate Vice President of Community and Economic Development Sheri McGuire and Longwood’s Small Business Development Center, Dr. King and his colleagues were awarded a more than $600,000 grant by former Virginia Governor Ralph Northam for their Project Seed Innovation Hub to be located at Midtown Square in downtown Farmville.
The December 20, 2021 announcement notes that the project will “connect the community to local and regional resources for business and social entrepreneurship development by establishing an Innovation Hub in Downtown Farmville. This hub will include a digital makerspace, a community co-working space, a Small Business Development Center office to accelerate business concepts and an educational outreach center to host youth entrepreneurship courses and educator professional development opportunities to develop entrepreneurial education practice in the classroom.”
Project Seed is a part of Governor Northam’s GO Virginia initiative—a group of “13 projects throughout the Commonwealth aimed at ‘expanding workforce development and talent pipelines in key industries, fostering business, and improving infrastructure,’” according to the announcement. Dr. King also took part as a panelist in the 2021 Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity Agenda hosted at Longwood University November 4-5, 2021, on the Regional Entrepreneurship and Vibrant Communities Panel.
“Project Seed is a springboard for entrepreneurial learning and economic growth in the Farmville region,” King says. “H-SC students will have the chance to experience the art of starting-up alongside new-venture founders from both Longwood and the Town of Farmville within a state-of-the-art innovation center. Governor Northam’s recognition of this initiative is both exciting and validating that our collective efforts will have big impact on the region’s ability to create new businesses and economic prosperity.”