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Over $300K Awarded to Local Entrepreneurs at 9th Annual GAUNTLET Ceremony

On Thursday, May 25th, The GAUNTLET Business Program & Competition™ held the 9th Annual GAUNTLET Graduation & Awards Ceremony.  The GAUNTLET class of 2023 attracted entrepreneurs from communities across the Roanoke Valley, Shenandoah Valley, New River Valley, Southside, and Southwest Virginia.

After 10 weeks of classes, 45 businesses moved on to compete for their piece of over $300,000 in cash, grants, and in-kind prizes/services.

The GAUNTLET Business Program and Competition™ is powered by the Advancement Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 2007. The GAUNTLET program serves as a catalyst to attract our region’s most talented entrepreneurs.  The support and commitment of partnering agencies, economic developers, sponsors, donors, grantors, GAUNTLET alumni, mentors, and regional innovators make the program possible.

Based on a combination of their business plan and pitch competition scores and specific needs identified, the 2023 GAUNTLET competitors received over $300,000.00 in cash and in-kind awards which were generously provided by numerous local sponsors and many other regional sponsors and partners.

The first place winners of the 2023 GAUNTLET program were Mandi and Travis Hundley, owners of The Wellness Bar: Uptown in Martinsville, Virginia.

The Wellness Bar: Uptown is Southwest Virginia’s premier IV hydration and vitamin lounge. They aim to improve the health and wellness of the community, focusing on each individual and their unique wellness goals.

Visit to watch the “Facebook Live” of the 2023 Ceremony and pre-ceremony Business Showcase.

For more information about The GAUNTLET visit

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