Virginia Tourism Corporation Grant Programs
good afternoon my name is Sheila lamb and I'm with the Virginia sbdc Network for those of you that are not familiar with our organization the Virginia Small Business Development Center is a partnership program between the U.S small business administration George Mason University and Local Host institutions throughout Virginia with 26 locations across the Commonwealth we provide training and technical assistance to small businesses and their local communities our one-on-one consulting services are available at no charge today's webinar Virginia tourism Corporation Grant programs is presented by the Virginia sbdc Network in collaboration with the Virginia tourism corporations grants team we are recording today's presentation and it will be posted on our website Virginia sbdc.org due to the large number of participants everyone's microphone is muted but if you have questions during the presentation you can type those into the Q a box we have also enabled the live transcript function which you can show or hide via your own meeting controls and now it is my pleasure to introduce our speaker for today's session Stacy Martin Stacy is the Virginia tourism corporation's grants director and has been with BTC for nine years she has over 20 years of experience in state government having previously worked at Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Capital Area Workforce investment board Stacy is also adjunct faculty at Old Dominion University teaching in both the English Department and in parks recreation and tourism studies assisting Stacy today are Noah and Caleb Noah is the grant specialist for VTC he manages the reimbursement processes for all grants Caleb is a grants coordinator for BTC he manages final reporting structures both of them look forward to answering your questions in this webinar and further questions via email after the webinar thank you Caleb and Noah now please join me in welcoming our speaker for today Stacy Martin thank you so much we're so excited to have so many folks online learning about this new program the way it'll work today is I'll go over all of our VTC programs and then um for the second two thirds we'll really focus on the micro business program this is the second year we're offering the micro business program so we're happy to take questions in Q a or to have you email us after the presentation with any questions specific to your business see if I can get this to advance here okay so for all of VTC programs we're Virginia tourism Corporation our goal is to drive overnight visitation to generate that meals tax occupancy tax and sales tax we also really want to focus on out-of-state visitation getting people to come from Pennsylvania North Carolina Ohio California even Texas Atlanta um to come in and spend some money in Virginia all of our programs take a look at economic impact we want you to set some goals for yourself in your application we do have some Regional limits in some of our programs that's based on the nine go Virginia regions the other thing to remember for small businesses in particular is all of our programs are reimbursement programs you have to spend the money pay for the marketing invoice send us the invoice proof of payment and proof of the advertising and then we're going to pay you back so really think about your class your cash flow for small businesses our Awards vary anywhere from five thousand dollars to ten thousand dollars to twenty thousand dollars in different programs but you don't have to apply for the maximum you can apply for what you can manage with cash flow and then the other piece of our programming is we are designed to support tourism jobs um create new jobs if at all possible and to support entrepreneurs as well one of the things we like to see um are events by Chambers or festivals in in music concerts that have an artisan Market or a small business Market we really like to see this incubator piece of Tourism where home-based business get an opportunity to get in front of others and then go from home base to Brick and Mortar so we kind of tackle things in terms of jobs and employment and Entrepreneurship in different ways and you'll see different questions in our applications related to those things so this is the grant you're all here to learn about that it closes on September 28th that is our micro business grant it's five thousand dollars to small businesses you can use a social security number or EIN number we only allow one application per EIN number um this is one-to-one in-kind match so if you're applying for five thousand dollars in marketing funds from Virginia tourism you need to put five thousand dollars worth of marketing match in your in-kind section and I'll go over what that match would entail uh in just a little bit we really use this program to drive overnight off-season travel so that means that the marketing you're doing should be focused on bringing folks in from September 23 23 there's a look back period if you're already spending money all the way until May of 24. they don't want to do any summer marketing with this program what we want to do is bring folks in for that holiday shopping in November December maybe some creative programming uh like Virginia Beach does this great outdoor winter birding Festival in January that brings a lot of folks in um taking a look at maybe your Valentine's Day week doing some special events I know Chincoteague they do this great death by chocolate event during Valentine's week that brings in a lot of folks so think about how you can boost your off season visitation with some of this These funds and then if you're with an organization Like a downtown Merchant Association Main Street or Chamber of Commerce your award tier is higher because you're marketing multiple businesses with your program so this opened August 22nd you've got plenty of time to still do the research you need and build up your marketing plan they are due at five o'clock on September 28th we usually get the majority of our applications that last week if not the last day you cannot mail us your application it can only be um done through our web portal and then we also want you to take a look at vtc's tourism research we've done a lot of research based on regions you know who's coming to Southwest Virginia who's coming to Coastal Virginia where are they coming from what do they like to do how long are they staying how much are they spending we also have that broken down by activity who's coming to do Outdoor Rec who's coming for wine and craft beverages who's coming for shopping who's coming for history so we want you to reference some of that research as well as some of your own data maybe take a look at your ZIP code data who's coming to your business and tell us why you're selecting certain Target markets based on that data that you see that we have or that you have in your own um you know website or other systems we really want you to select one in-state target market and one out of state target market we prefer that you do your marketing at least 50 miles away from where you are because we want you to get that visitor spending locals probably know who you are it's getting those folks from out of your region to come in for a day trip or a long weekend or a week-long stay we have about five hundred thousand dollars available in this pool so our goal is to a word you know anywhere from 75 to 85 applications so there's always questions about sort of who is eligible um and if you have questions about that please reach out to us before you apply but right now we don't allow any cannabis events or retailers it's not legal recreationally in terms of retail certainly people are allowed to have it in their home and then get a medical card um but we're not going to fund anything related to cannabis and then we often get applications from yoga studios and hair salons those kind of personal Wellness you know spin classes those are not considered tourism oriented unless they're part of a large Hotel complex like Omni Homestead or salamander or primland so if you are a massage therapist and your business is inside a tourism attraction then you can apply if you're located next to the Kroger then you cannot um we also don't fund online businesses right this has to drive visitation to Brick and Mortar locations if you're a tour guiding company that's operated out of your home but you're doing walking tours and you're taking folks to the breweries of a historic site so the museums that's okay if you're a food truck that does not have a set brick and mortar location you travel around a locality that's okay too because you're driving visitation to downtown to the brewery and to the winery so you can't apply if you have more than 21 full-time employees 21 full-time if you have 20 full-time and 50 part timers you can still apply if you have 10 full-time and 100 seasonal workers you can still apply it's the full-time number that we're asking for questions can be emailed to our Central Grant mailbox Caleb Noah nimonitive at your email box every day you might get answers from all three of us from one of us but that's our Central mailbox if one of us is out on leave we can still get to your questions and then we do get to decide who is eligible at the end of the day remember that our goal is really to drive that tax revenue for the state and for the locality so as I said before this is in-kind match so what do we mean by in-kind match that means you can use cache match if you want to so if you're paying for Facebook booths and Instagram boost you can count that as match and you could count part of that in your reimbursement plan to be reimbursed but we're also letting you count web links and editorial that you get we're allowing you to count your social media followers your web clicks so look closely at the instructions on how to value that editorial that you've gotten how to value your website clicks how to value your social media followers and again it is reimbursement you do have to fill out a reimbursement packet you can do it that is often as needed so if you've got a five thousand dollar award um and you're really only comfortable with an outlay of 1000 wait to get that reimbursed you can do re reimbursement five times just really think about your cash flow by the time we receive your reimbursement packet it goes through our process Noah and Caleb look them through Noah approved Noah enters them in the system I have to approve them and then they have to go to our accounting office so really allow up to 60 days from the moment you put that in the mailbox to get your check here is the biggest caveat the whole reason why we do this program in addition to generating the tax revenue is we want that Virginia is for Lovers logo on all your marketing materials in a way you kind of act like our marketing agency or our PR agency Ad Agency we need that logo on all your advertising on your brat cards uh LinkedIn your social media pages on your websites and that really helps us layer in what VTC is doing in order to be reimbursed for your marketing that logo must appear on your ads and you must submit a proof of that ad with your reimbursement package we also require a final report we want to know if you met your goals or not we're not going to claw back any money if you didn't meet your goals we just need to see okay you're getting a thousand customers a year and 2022 for 2023 2024 season you want to grow that up to 1200 and we really want to see those performance measures and I'll go over that in a moment so our online portal is there on our grants page vatc.org is sort of our our industry website that's where all things related to the tourism industry are listed and posted virginia.org that's our visitor facing page that's where people in Pennsylvania they're pulling up the state tourism page seeing what there is to do see where there is to go shopping you're going to want to have to be you're going to need to be listed on that page um in order to qualify for reimbursement but you don't have to be listed before you apply so it's really really critical that you don't just sit down open the online application and start applying read the instructions there's a lot of really good information in there a lot of really good links remember this is a legal contract you're agreeing to the terms and conditions when you submit your application so be sure to read through those as well we've got a really great FAQs page questions that have come in that people have asked and then this year we added in the School District calendars across the state and the State University football schedules and we'll also be updating with the State University basketball schedules because those things are off season potential off-season travels teacher work days long weekend holidays during a school year a football game tailgating uh March Madness so take a look at those calendars so for instance if you're in Roanoke maybe you want to take a look at the Virginia Beach School calendar and see where we've got some long weekends see when their winter holiday um break starts see when the Thanksgiving break starts see when their spring break is and maybe build some marketing around those potential markets and those potential breaks during the school year so those are all Linked In the instructions as well so again I'm going to reiterate 5 PM September 28th at 501 you can't click submit you have to click submit before five o'clock so like I said there is a look back period we want the visitation we want this marketing to drive visitation September to may but we know some of you might already have spent some money in this summer promoting a fall event you can submit that for reimbursement as long as it's not dated before July 1.
it will take us about six weeks to go through all these applications award notifications will be made in late October sometimes we get a lot of really high quality applications we may reduce the award some folks may get half an award some folks might get 75 percent of an award um your final reimbursements are due within 60 days and final reports are also due within a certain time frame so we only allow one application per Ein or social security number please know that all your information is proprietary we will black out your social security number when we file your applications we have a hub and spoke model in our system um you'll have to fill that out treat that like an itinerary your business is the lure and then all the folks you're going to partner with are the spokes so for instance if I own a brewery my breweries The Lure the food truck I work with is a partner spoke uh the b b down the street is a partner spoke the boutique retail shops on Main Street are Partners folks so build that out and really think about how you can work with other small businesses in your community maybe you're each going to apply for this grant say five of you apply that's 25 000 maybe the brewery's gonna handle Facebook posts to get folks down to Main Street maybe the boutique BNB is going to do all the Instagram posts maybe um some of the retail shops are going to do some print ads you can all kind of work together and create an umbrella campaign but you've applied separately and so in the application portal um it'll look similar to what is here on the screen you'll enter in some basic information about your business I will say this this application round is the last time we will be doing using this system we're switching to a new Grant Software System called found it but we'll go ahead and crosswalk your data over that system later this winter and so we want you to select what type of business you are um so choose the one that kind of best fits who you are whether you're craft beverage or retail whether you're a chamber or whether you're the locality applying we also need you need to count on how many full-time employees you have and how many part-time employees you have we like to see how many jobs these dollars are supporting you'll fill out your contact info we do ask for two points of contact in case you have any employment turnover um we need your phone number we will not speak to anybody else other than the person listed in this grant because this has proprietary information we won't email this grant to anybody else because it has your proprietary information in it if you need to update a contact you can email us and we'll update it in our system so then you're going to put in how much money are you asking from VTC the maximum award if you're a small business is five thousand if you're an organization like a chamber it's ten thousand you'll list that here you'll list your virginia.org url if you have it built out already it's okay if you don't you can finish that up after you've submitted your application put in all your social media handles we'll share that with our content team they might like or follow your pages they might re-share some of your content no guarantees but we like to grab that information while you're on our system and then really think through what are you focused on this is only five thousand dollars not a huge amount of money so maybe you want to focus on a particular weekend or a particular month to spring break or the holiday shopping season maybe you want to use these funds to promote your restaurant during your localities restaurant week now really think about how you can focus that five thousand dollars in a very specific you know theme or period of time you'll provide a detailed description of your marketing program what are you trying to do you're trying to promote restaurants during restaurant week and then drive additional visitation after restaurant week maybe you're trying to do a Buy Local campaign for the holiday season really talk us through what you're trying to do we have multiple folks on our team that score these applications some may have never visited your locality so try to be as detailed as possible describing what you're trying to do with these marketing dollars then you're going to have to choose at least one of these out-of-state Target markets these markets are selected because that is where VTC is spending its Arco recovery dollars to bring back the tourism industry we want you to pick one of these markets and spend at least 25 of your award in these markets the best way to do that for a small business is with social media marketing is hitting these Target markets with Facebook boosts hitting your target demographics within Instagram boosts really think through how you can get to folks in these communities with your online presence now you can't select DC as both in-state and out of state so if you're in Roanoke picking DC as your out-of-state choice is great but if you're in Arlington you shouldn't be picking Washington DC as you're out of state choice because they're right there next to you so if you're going to choose DC as an out of state you cannot choose it as an end state so you're going to choose one of the major Metro markets in state as well you're going to spend up to 75 percent of your money here again we don't like you to see you spending very much money in your locality this is meant to drive visitors from different areas out of state and in state to your locality so then this is the Hub and spoke format we talked about your business or destination would be the lure and then these would be the partners businesses that are nearby you that you're going to work with one of these must be a lodging partner this time so an Airbnb a local bed and breakfast one of the chain hotels is fine you need to have an overnight lodging partner that you're working with because what we really want to do is grow overnight visitation here in Virginia so then you have our in-kind marketing plan this is where you're going to list all the things that you're already doing they're going to be going to be match for the things you're going to ask VTC to reimburse you for like I said in the program instructions there are um specific details on how to Value the number of your social media followers how to value your um Facebook clicks how to value your paid media so you'll select your media type again there are choices for other print and digital so let's say you've got a online story and the Washington Post Travel section you would click other digital that appeared in July of 2023 that is gonna is valued at about five hundred dollars um and then you'll talk about maybe who they targeted in that editorial what they talked about in that editorial so what you want to do if you're applying for five thousand dollars from VTC make sure your in-kind marketing plan equals at least five thousand dollars you can go over but to get the maximum Award of five thousand you need at least five thousand in the in-kind marketing plan if you're an organization going for an award of ten thousand you need at least ten thousand in this in-kind marketing plan so then you'll get to the marketing plan now because this is a smaller program you only have seven line items to allocate that five thousand dollars or ten thousand dollars that you're asking for really think through the media channels that you're going to use for small businesses we find that social media is is really beneficial um but maybe you know a regional radio station is going to cut you a deal with some of this money you could put that as other digital um you might want to create a new rack card for the welcome centers across the state in the safety rest areas you could select that and put that in here um so really think through how you're going to build out this marketing plan in seven lines or fewer maybe you want to spend all five thousand dollars with Instagram that's okay but what we want you to do is be really detailed on who you're going to Target with your marketing what are the demographics the ages the interests where do they live um maybe what is their income a lot of that demographic information is on btc's Research page this is where you might reference some of that research and then I talked about setting those goals that's what we call your performance measures so let's say You're A B and B and you're currently have 220 booking nights in 2023 so for 2024 you want to increase that to 300. that's a little bit of a stretch with five thousand dollars what we like to see are goals that are within three to five percent these are small marketing programs so don't think that we expect you to double your sales with this money that is not true at all this is meant to supplement your current marketing increases of three to five percent with your goals is what we're really looking for so what you would do is kind of list where you are today and then list where you want to be in May of 2024. how is this this money going to help you move the needle a little bit um maybe you're you're going to fund an event maybe a holiday Expo a Christmas bazaar um so you might say okay last year's Christmas bazaar we got 3 000 people this year is Christmas bazaar we want to get 3 200 people um about five percent maybe 30 yeah something like 31.50 um so really think through and be realistic with your performance measures again we don't have a claw back if you don't meet your goal we just really want you to set a goal and set a reasonable goal so we're going to ask you a couple questions about jobs and employment um one of the things that we find and one of the reasons why we created this program is maybe if we can take a little pressure off your marking budget you can keep a seasonal employee into October November or hire them uh in March or April if you normally hire in May maybe with taking a little pressure off your marketing budget you can afford to have staff work until seven o'clock on the weekends instead of closing at five maybe you can stay open a little later on Friday nights when weekend Travelers come in maybe you're going to open on Monday mornings instead of staying closed on Mondays so think through how these funds can kind of help you stay open longer or maybe keep an employee longer and then how it might also help businesses throughout your region um and then you get bonus points so you get up to five bonus points the whole application is scored at 105. you get
bonus points for some of the things you can do in partnership with BTC so we call these activations so maybe you're going to say look I'm going to offer up my retail shop for VTC to come take some photographs of some great holiday gifts maybe you're going to start a merchandise program you're going to open a wholesale account to sell Virginia is for Lovers merchandise you can use up to 10 of your award to start that merchandise program um you get some gimmies you know if you're gonna do rap cards you got to put that logo on on there anyway that's worth one point um we've got a PR leads that you can sign up for on our website this means that reporters will email you story ideas that maybe they want you to submit a picture of your BNB decorated for the holidays maybe they want to know who has great pumpkin spice beer so you can respond directly to those PR leads that come through our portal maybe you're gonna um have a different idea maybe you're going to have your staff wear um Virginia is for Lovers uh t-shirts during the holiday season help get that brand out there for us so really think through how you can be creative to get these bonus points so like I said before this is a legal contract you are agreeing to the terms and conditions you understand this is a reimbursement program you understand that you have to include that Virginia is for Lovers logo um in your marketing and advertising even in radio ads you've got to be sponsored by Virginia is for Lovers um once you click that submit button you can't go back and make changes so before you click submit make sure you've really got everything done that you need to get done like I said September 29 Noah and Caleb and I will get this giant spreadsheet we'll get all these Grant PDFs and we'll assign them to different scores we'll make a decision in late October on the awards then you'll get an email saying congratulations you've gotten an award you'll get a sample press template that will tell you that um please embargo this announcement until we send you a press release that the governor is going to send out once the governor sends out his press release you can send yours to local media and get some editorial stories and some coverage that way um so you'll get an award email asking you to embargo the info and then you'll get an email with a press release template and then you'll get an email with reimbursement information and then I'm gonna kind of do this opposite I didn't realize I'd set up my spreadsheet my presentation this way I'm going to go over our programs that are coming up um later this year and then in early 24. so as many of you know uh 2026 to 2031 is America's 250th a big commemoration um years five years of commemorations there is a VA 250 commission stood up at the state level VTC is managing some grants with them as well as Virginia Department of humanities so our goal right now is we have about a two-year Runway to get this deck of cards in order thinking about are breweries going to make special Blends are wineries going to have special Blends and labels um our restaurant's going to have a certain commemorative menu for July 4 2026 or July 4 all the way through this commemoration you know Virginia's front and center of the Revolutionary War but we also recognize that we want to commemorate all 250 years of America as well as the tribal Nations that were here before the colonists were here so we're really looking at really interpreting a lot of Virginia's history through food through artisanship um so really think through um how you can partner with historic sites and museums how your locality can can kind of hop on this commemoration as a backdrop for additional marketing and additional visitation so the way this works is um tourism offices can apply historic sites historic homes localities have stood up VA 250 committees there are strict rules with this but it's a great way to get involved in your community if you're not eligible see if you can sit on that committee see if there's other things your business Tech can do to piggyback on some of the activities that your locality is going to be doing we're going to have two rounds of this all the way through 2026 we may continue through 2031 as you know the battle Yorktown October 17 1781 that's kind of the final book end of this commemoration in 2031 it might be the day I retire um I don't know so anyway just really think about how you're going to embrace this story of America in the coming years see if you can get on the committee uh see if you can partner with your historic attractions and museums and become part of this story then we have our special events and festivals program this is for establishing events and festivals that want to grow so they have to have been held at least two years since 2017 we know a lot of events were canceled uh due to covid so we're going to keep that 2017 date for for a number of years what we want to do is really get your special events and festivals embracing Small Business Development creating those Artisan markets those food truck rodeos those concessions this grant can help pay for tent rentals and fences um doesn't pay for staff doesn't pay for golf carts and stuff like that but really focusing on making an event more accessible or more small business friendly we want those events and festivals to add days so we get more overnight so if you know the festival that's two days already been established they'd be eligible for this program maybe you can get them to go to three days or four days maybe your downtown small businesses can get together and do a special sidewalk sale on the Thursday before a festival um so let your Festival operators know and that these grants are open to help underwrite the cost of Festival expansion of hitting new markets this allows for marketing money and some production money as well and then we have our regular marketing leverage program this is open to micro businesses and larger businesses this one requires cash match it has an award tier of twenty thousand dollars so you've got to spend forty thousand dollars to get twenty thousand back that's a little bit of a big lift for really small businesses which is why we created the micro business program but if you're comfortable with that amount of money you can apply for micro business kind of learn how our programs work and then apply for the marketing leverage program in January we've had a number of businesses last year that got micro business awards are now applying and getting the larger Awards here through the marketing leverage program um so this one's open to all kinds of businesses and organizations localities planning district commissions everyone who's kind of working together to Market um tourism as a whole and then we have a set-aside round um for just tourism offices now they need Partners in their application so you could contact your local tourism office and say you know if you're applying for this DMO marketing Grant we'd like to be a part of that uh we'll give you a letter of support with this with these funds we really like the tourism offices to think about targeting new markets to new creative campaigns um maybe expanding their marketing footprint to new welcome centers maybe between an ad in the travel guide maybe they're going to um put a whole bunch of ads in the Charlotte Market just to really flood that market to get folks to come to Virginia so they would need business partners on their grants for this round so a few things before we wrap up and and answer questions in the Q a is Partnerships are key filling out that Hub and spoke is really important your business is the lure but then who are you going to partner with to Market all together because we know when people go visit a locality they're doing all kinds of things they're coming for several days we want them to stay for more days uh spend more money so how can we all partner together to get folks to spend more money and stay longer you have to have that Virginia is for Lovers logo on all your marketing collateral in the grant instructions is a link to request all of those logos from our graphic design staff they'll send them to you in various formats um you can't email Noah Caleb and I to send you those logos it needs to go through our graphic design office they're really big zip files that you'll get remember set reasonable goals and reference research when you're talking about your target markets when you're talking about what you're trying to do you might say VTC research says craft beverage Travelers spend an average of three days and nine hundred dollars in the locality they're visiting our marketing plan is designed to get them to spend four days in eleven hundred dollars by targeting visitors over 21 who are interested in craft beer in the Charlotte Market through Instagram and Facebook we want to see that kind of detail now remember some of our programs we can only allocate a certain amount of money to each go Virginia region if we do end up having a single region that gets over the total award tier we won't start denying good applications what we'll do is we'll just reduce everyone's award by 500 or a thousand dollars to get under that cap and again it is a legal contract you've got to read those terms and conditions read those instructions and remember it's a reimbursement program you know you need to have cash flow to cover that you've paid the radio station invoice you're waiting for us to pay you back and then some helpful links when we we have this presentation posted for you you can click these links and get to you know some different things that are going on how to set up your virginia.org listing how to get the logo where the research pages are um you can even sign up to get emails about when our grants are opening lots of good information in here again another page all dedicated to the micro business program and the 250 program and then our closing slide here with our email addresses from our staff I'll leave that up for just a moment if you want to write those down and then we can go to questions stop share here I see there's um one question and Noah is typing an answer in there um Samuel asked if a new business that's just getting started we're seeking a location um they're opening a brewery can you apply if you're going to be open by summer fall you would need to be open by September 28th have your Co and your EIN number by September 28th but if you get open after September 28 you can apply for the marketing leverage program as well um so you really need to be open have your certificate of occupancy in hand before the grant closes I'll ask Noah to put in the link for the logo um requests there um there's another question of oh that's the one with the logo I just did yeah right I think Noah will type uh paste the link in there um please put your questions in in the Q a box I'll tell you right now that we have about 11 applications now the majority will call in the last week I would really like to to get about 150 applications for this program um we would award the highest scoring applications um so the more we get the more robust the applicant pool is um like I said we have about 500 000 to Awards we can award about 85 of these grants out to folks any other questions coming in the Q a I think we have a raised hand but I know we've got they need to go through the Q a box yeah and yeah if you could please drop your questions in Q a and know all those links that Stacy shared as she said they're going to be in a follow-up email so don't stress if you didn't get anything written down yeah so I see one here about wholesaling so the way wholesaling works is there's a link in the instructions on how to set up a wholesale account with our merchandise program you are permitted to buy the merchandise at a wholesale price and sell it at whatever retail price you think you can sell it at um you can use up to 10 of your Grant award to start your merchandise program um I will say right now we're in between merchandise contracts so um we can only sell inventory that we have in hand we won't be making anything new until we get the new contract awarded now if you want to co-brand with us let's say you want Virginia's for craft beer lovers on a shirt but your craft beer logo on the sleeve or vice versa you would go through your account manager we would need to approve that um but we do have that option to do some co-branded merchandise now if you want a new Virginia is for something lovers let's say you're a flower farm and you want Virginia is for flower lovers you can request that from our graphic design team no guarantee they would approve it but they might um when you request the logos there'll be a blank space where you can put in any ones that we don't have or that you don't see on the list so we have 10 sub Brands oyster Beach outdoor mountain and then we've already approved a lot of different ones they're just not on the checklist so if you don't see one listed that you want put it in the request form and we'll see if we can get it approved for you I see another question this is all reimbursement and that is correct and in order to get reimbursement you have to send us a copy of the invoice proof of payment and a copy of the ad that you place with the virginias for logo uh Virginia's for lovers logo on it and then Sharon asks I have a bicycle touring business can we get shirts that say Virginia is for bike lovers you probably can I'm not off the top of my head sure if bike levers is approved but we do fund a number of bike races so my guess is it is um but yes you could have Virginia is for bike lovers shirts made you could sell those um or you could give them away as promotional items again 10 of your Grant award can be used to purchase those items and then Stephanie asks if I'm spending money on PR first Google ads and social media posts um those are all eligible for the match uh yes they're eligible for match or they're eligible in the reimbursement program depending on how much you're spending if you're spending ten thousand on on paid media you can put five thousand in your match and five thousand in your reimbursement piece for that total ten thousand um yes so PR firms ad firm fees um that are placing ads for you those invoices count for reimbursement your Facebook Boost Instagram Boost account for reimbursement your Google ads invoices count as for reimbursement and then another question does co-branding cost more and can those fees be added for reimbursement up to 10 of your award can be used for promotional merchandise whether it's Virginia is for Lovers or not we we may tighten that up to just Virginia is for Lovers um co-branding does cost more more in printing fees would be a setup fee um you'd have to work that out with our wholesale contractor VTC doesn't make those shirts we have a contractor that does that um so the maximum you can get for reimbursement is 10 of your reward for anything related to merchandise um there probably are minimums so you'd have to buy any co-branded shirts by the Dozen like a dozen small does a medium dozen large um they want to do like one-offs for that and then John asks I'm thinking of doing a spring break special to bring in more families by offering a discount for kids um that would definitely qualify if you want to do ads on a spring break discount definitely you can do that on social media you can do that print um you could do you know different digital ads ads on Expedia Travelocity um that would definitely definitely definitely count for spring break for sure um would an ad in a Virginia state publication with readership out of state qualify so for instance in that case I might say the Virginia travel guide right because we ship that all around the world um yes an ad in a magazine that's going out of state would qualify and then for adding the Virginia is for Lovers logo do we just have to have that added to advertisements that were asked um so just for the ones you're asking for reimbursement however we prefer that you have it in all your marketing and because all of our grants have a look back period if you have it in all of your marketing when a grant opens you may already have enough match from what you've spent during the look back period but it has to have that logo on it so once you start putting the logo on you on your stuff we really recommend that you go ahead and do that going forward does not have to be on your in-kind match but it does on what you're getting reimbursed for just for this grant now for the Big Marketing leverage Grant because we asked for proof of match it has to be on all of the marketing for the micro business grant you you don't have to send us proof of your in-kind match you're attesting to that when you agree to the terms and conditions we try and lift the burden a little bit for small owner operator businesses in terms of paperwork so you don't have to submit proof of inkind and does this grant fund non-profit trade associations um so let's say like the Virginia wine marketing board they could apply for this grant um to Market all the wineries across Virginia um Chambers of Commerce that are 501 c3s and c6s can apply um that one you might want to email us um Nikki so we can kind of learn a little bit more about what your trade Association does and see what we can do with these grants you can use these grants to pay for your um Event Event Exposition space so let's say there's a great bid that the American bus Association Expo in Chicago and your locality wants to promote small businesses through bus tours These funds can help pay for your cost to go to that Expo and have Booth space there and then the question is from Megan do our spokes also need to include the logo in their marketing and advertising do our business newsletters count for advertising marketing so your partners do not um only things that you are submitting for reimbursement need to have the logo your business newsletters that you are generating yourself and you're emailing yourself do not count for advertisement marketing on the reimbursement side the number of emails that you email folks to count at 10 cents each on the in-kind marketing side we really need an invoice in order to reimburse so you can't we can't pay staff you can't send us an invoice for 10 hours of Staff time doing these these emails we can't pay for that um if you hire a firm though or you have um Constant Contact invoice for your email newsletter management you can submit that um that way but we can't pay any staff wages at all I think that was our last question yeah we have about 15 more minutes so if anyone wants to pick Stacy's brain go ahead and drop those questions in while we have her here live there is a the state tourism conference is coming up um November 12th through 14 in Richmond there is a link in the presentation where you can register for that conference um that's a day and a half conference lots of great information from our tourism Partners Noah Caleb and I will be hosting a two-hour Grant workshop on Monday um of that conference that's a great one to attend and learn more not only about our existing Grant programs but our true our transition to this new software as well um and then let me see a few other things I can think about there's a lot of information on vatc.org it can be
overwhelming for small businesses really go slowly like apply for this grant get listed on virginia.org that's kind of your first step have a listing on our tourism visitor facing side apply for the grant and then dig around the pages we've got sample marketing plans we've got uh Co-op advertising plans where we underwrite the cost of certain magazine and online ads so you know take it a step at a time spend 15 minutes a day looking through what we have um and then Megan asked if we need additional info can we have a one-on-one discussion absolutely reach out to our email address we can schedule a zoom or a phone call with you no problem now our schedules do get tighter the closer we get to the 28th so the sooner the better on that but feel free to email us and we'll get something on the calendar oh thank you Megan we appreciate we really want to do a lot of Outreach to our smaller businesses and make sure they get the same type of funding that some of our larger ones do that we can really start marketing Virginia one of our goals is to get to a hundred million dollars per day in visitor spending we're sitting at right around 85 million per day right now so we're looking at an over a 10 increase that we want to get to to remain competitive against North Carolina and Tennessee they are investing so much money in tourism growth that we've got to really do the same and that's why we have these programs so everyone is kind of part of that whole initiative even just five thousand dollars in marketing funds can help move the needle and you're part of the solution for us to stay competitive so we really appreciate appreciate everyone's partnership in tourism and everyone who takes the time to apply for these funds and then spend down these homes any other questions for us so if for sake of everyone's time if you want we can go ahead and wrap up Stacy if you don't have any names that sounds great we appreciate seeing all of you here I saw a few familiar names on the um uh on the list we got one question coming in the website to register um I think what you're looking for is the website for the Grant application that is theatc.org the um tourism Summit uh that link is in the presentation and um that's the va1 tourism Summit um it's hosted by Virginia Recreation lodging and travel Association and now you can use the the central email box to set up a one-on-one or any of us that's fine either way okay well we appreciate your time today um and thank you for being with us yep thank you Stacy Caleb and um Noah for all your time today this was a lot of good information um I do want to thank everyone else for attending today and remind you that you will receive an email with a link to the recording and the presentation slides um and all those very helpful links that were included if you would like to sign up for upcoming webinars or access recorded webinars please visit virginiasbdc.org forward slash training sbdc resources are designed to be used in collaboration with your local sbdc advisors you can sign up for a free and confidential sessions by emailing help Virginia sbdc.org or via our website we hope to
see you at our next session take care everyone thank you bye