Reporter: Dhomonique Ricks l Videographer: Parker Slaybaugh
Lynchburg, VA - Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed legislation to encourage more investment in small business. The announcement comes right before his visit to Lynchburg on Thursday to talk about entrepreneurship.
The bill creates the small business investment grant fund, which will give the state's small businesses better access to capital.
Thomas Johnson is the owner Thomas A. Johnson Furniture and has been building and crafting furniture in the Hill City since 1996. An entrepreneur himself, he calls the governor's legislation, positive.
"It is good news. It's a beginning," said Johnson. "We all embrace that."
With this new legislation, Virginia's small businesses could see more money and support.
"Businesses need to be nurtured," Johnson said.
Johnson knows this all too well.
"It is very difficult because, one, the banks today are using formula to determine who has to get funds," Johnson said.
He says sometimes small business entrepreneurs have a harder time staying afloat than larger companies.
"Sometimes Region 2000 will go looking for some big company from outside, and they fund the company. They say, 'We'll give you one million dollars, we'll give you tax breaks.' But the companies who start from scratch here get nothing," Johnson said.
Region 2000 disagrees. They say they are interested in helping people within the region start new businesses and grow existing businesses. They say that is one reason why they started the Higher Education Entrepreneurship. And now the governor's new funding gives businesses even more opportunity to expand.
"So you still have the small businesses holding the fort," Johnson said.
The governor has designated 2012 the "Year of the Entrepreneur." Thursday, he will be in Lynchburg for the regional roundtable at Central Virginia Community College to talk more about entrepreneurship in the Hill City at 1:15 p.m.