Lydia Gilmer Becomes First Small Business Solutions Manager to Support Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship after County Acquires NRV Business Center
Pulaski County is pleased to announce that Lydia Gilmer has been hired to serve as the County’s first Small Business Solutions Manager and officially started providing small business support on March 17, 2021. The County’s small business development focus will come at a valuable time when our local businesses are finding themselves in both a challenging yet opportunistic time due to the novel COVID-19 pandemic. The department will be funded by the Economic Development Authority (EDA) through revenues generated from the EDA’s acquirement of the New River Valley Business Center which has now been renamed the Pulaski County Innovation Center.
The County’s small business development program is a partnership between the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors and the EDA, and will focus on providing support to the County’s small businesses and local entrepreneurs looking for assistance to grow or start their business here. The rollout of the program coincided with the acquirement of the NRV Business Center, a mixed-use business incubator in Fairlawn, VA. The development and implementation of the new program is a strategic objective identified within the County’s Comprehensive Plan and will be a catalyst toward achieving the County’s 40-by-30 goal of having 40,000 people call Pulaski County home by the year 2030.
“The success of our small business development efforts depends largely upon putting the right person in place to lead this department and provide the support services, conductivity and creative solutions our growing small business community needs to survive and thrive in this unusually challenging yet opportunity rich environment” stated Jonathan D. Sweet, County Administrator. “We are thrilled to bring Ms. Gilmer on board and share her talents with our business community and help stabilize and grow our local economy. This has been a missing ingredient in our recipe of making Pulaski County a next-level community, and I am pleased we have finally added small business solutions to our economic development repatoire.”
“I’m honored to be the first person to serve Pulaski County in this new position and look forward to supporting small businesses through all steps of the business journey” stated Lydia Gilmer. “I am also eager to work with the many distinct and promising businesses located within the Innovation Center and am eager to help advance that facility to its fullest potential.”
Lydia Gilmer has a B.A. in Public and Urban Affairs from Virginia Tech and a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech. She has previously served as a Small Business Solutions Specialist, a Graduate Research Assistant in Urban Affairs & Planning, and as an Intern for the Pulaski County EDA, Virginia Department of Social Services – Family Services, and as an Undergraduate Ambassador for Urban Affairs & Planning for Virginia Tech.
The new position will comprehensively assist small businesses and entrepreneurs with their individual and unique business needs and be a one-stop in connecting businesses with assistance or resources they may need. It will also serve to manage the day-to-day operations and needs of the Pulaski County Innovation Center.