Student Entrepreneur Competition to Revitalize Downtown

By: Elizabeth Lamb Email
By: Elizabeth Lamb Email

WAYNESBORO, Va --- Restaurant owner Chris Hollinger started the Green Leaf Grill a year and a half ago in downtown Waynesboro after weighing his options.

“It's very scary. Coming into Waynesboro was a big risk,” said Hollinger.

Waynesboro's Economic Development Director Greg Hitchin hopes students will also take that risk. That was why he and his team started a student entrepreneur competition. They are asking for college student's ideas for a business plan.

“Getting students involved, getting the next generation of entrepreneurs is just a great way to get that started,” said Hitchin.

The competition will choose three winners and give them grant money to start their business.

“I think with the right mix of businesses, coming downtown, it would give more and more people a reason to be here,” said Hollinger.

Economic developers in the area hope to turn some of these for lease signs into businesses. It is all an effort to revitalize downtown Waynesboro.

Hitchin hopes the businesses will stay in Waynesboro a long time as part of the city's long-term plan.

“Obviously, it's the next generation, and they've got great ideas. We'd just like to capitalize on some of those great ideas as it fits into our Main St plan,” said Hitchin.

That could mean more people spend money downtown. It could also mean more growth and stronger bonds for downtown businesses.

“We need each other to make it in order to get more people downtown. Good business for anyone is good business for everyone,” said Hollinger.

Contest winners will be chosen around January. Applications are due in November.

You can visit for a link to the application and to submit your idea. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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