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9th Annual GAUNTLET Graduation and Awards Ceremony To Be Held Thursday, May 25th 

The Advancement Foundation (TAF), through its three prong approach of Programming, Resources, and Placemaking continues to work with local community leaders to identify and foster business development goals that are in alignment with local, regional, and state priorities including: technology, agriculture, main street manufacturing, outdoor recreation/ tourism, and complimentary businesses that promote economic drivers in agriculture, main street manufacturing, and outdoor recreation/tourism.

Through its primary program, The GAUNTLET, Virginia’s Largest Business Program and Competition, TAF continues to focus on fostering catalytic change in small and rural communities across Virginia. TAF worked with over 50 communities to create opportunities to assist entrepreneurs to help create the vibrant, economically thriving communities where people want to visit, work, live, and play. To date, The Gauntlet program has distributed over $3 million dollars in cash and in-kind awards directly to entrepreneurs representing over 800 businesses, created a network of over 300 mentors/industry experts, and distributed over $3 million dollars in cash and in-kind awards.

TAF is excited to be preparing for its 9th Annual 2023 GAUNTLET Graduation and Award Ceremony which will take place at the Vinton War Memorial in Vinton, Virginia, on Thursday, May 25th from 5:30-8:00 PM.

The Entrepreneur Showcase begins at 5:30 with the 2023 entrepreneurs displaying tables set up to show off their products/services. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet innovators from all across the state.

The Graduation and Awards Ceremony will begin at 6:00 PM and will celebrate the hard work of over 100 entrepreneurs from communities across Virginia including the Roanoke Valley, New River Valley, Shenandoah Valley, Southside, and Southwest.

Following 10 weeks of business training, 45 businesses submitted business plans which moved them forward to the pitch competition and made them eligible for over $300,000 in cash and in-kind awards which will be announced during the ceremony.  The many people who make TAF’s work possible will also be recognized during the program including community leaders from around the region, program faculty, mentors/industry experts, and sponsors.

To RSVP use this link:

 For more information about The GAUNTLET visit

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