A new program called Website Jump Start is seeking applicants in order to create websites for 24 local businesses through the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center. 

Albemarle County’s economic development project manager, Jennifer Schmack, noted how many businesses have quickly pivoted to an online presence during the pandemic and how the program hopes to help them. 

“We hope this program will enable local businesses to make a more permanent transition to digital points of sale and marketing that will set them for long-term success in an increasingly virtual marketplace,” Schmack said.

The websites will allow businesses to bolster their online presence and operations. Completed sites will be built using WordPress to include a home page, contact page, product page, and contact form. Other features can include a video, eCommerce or shopping cart setups as needed along with connection to a payment system. 

Applicants can apply from within Charlottesville along with Albemarle, Culpeper, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, Orange, and Rappahannock counties.  

Of the 24 selected businesses, about a third of the selected businesses will be veteran, minority, or women-owned.  

The website construction process also entails a personalized training session to instruct the client on access and updates to their site. 

As of this week, Schmack said that there have already been over 10 applications. With 24 grants available, applications will close once the 24 businesses are chosen. 

Meanwhile, CVSBDC Director Rebecca Haydock explained that as the applications are starting to “come in fast,” there is no concrete deadline as the program could potentially expand.

“The program may receive more slots so we aren’t specifying,” she said. 

Haydock says that more information will be available soon. 

The Website Jump Start program is sponsored by GO Virginia along with the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. 

Interested applicants can apply here.