LoudounPreneur entrepreneurial newsletter
 Information for the Innovative, Enterprising and Brave
August 2014

Are You Up for the Challenge?

Check out the Loudoun County Challenge, a first-of-its-kind event where innovative companies compete to solve real-world problems.


Loudoun Economic Development is partnering with the Innovative Solutions Consortium, the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, the Center for Innovative Technology, and Loudoun transportation and public safety agencies on this unique pitch event, which will be held at AOL on Wednesday, August 27. The event is free; register online.


The types of challenges that companies are being asked to propose solutions to include:

  • A real-time system that provides information on current road conditions, traffic accidents, and/or congestion;
  • A way to track first responders entering buildings so that a 3D representation of their movements can be observed, along with their vital signs.

"As this is a 'proof-of-concept' exercise, it allows the participants a unique opportunity to demonstrate their vision as well as capabilities - either individually, or in partnership with other companies," explained Loudoun Economic Development's Steve Hargan, noting that the event's judges will include representatives from the federal government and business.


On August 27 you can drop in to hear company pitches from 1-5 p.m.; a networking reception begins at 5:30 p.m.


Could You Expand Your Business by Exporting?

Many small businesses don't think they have the ability to export their products. Just figuring out where to get started can seem like a monumental task. The good news is, there are quite a few resources that can help jump-start exporting for your business.


The Small Business Administration offers lots of great resources. One is the Export Business Planner. This downloadable tool allows you to save and customize your work as you progress through the tool. The tool includes:

  • How to determine your export readiness;
  • Training and counseling information;
  • Worksheets for global market research;
  • Financing information and options;
  • Customizable export business plan and marketing plan templates.

Another great resource offered by the SBA is a two-part blog series on exporting that helps

guide small business owners through the initial question of whether or not to export and how to go about it. Part 1 addresses exporting basics that need to be considered: things such as trade agreements, finding business opportunities, export controls and licenses, and how to export technology.


Part 2 goes more in-depth on finding financing for exporting. There are several programs offered by the U.S. government to assist in exporting, and details about each program are given.


If you're more of a hands-on learner, the SBA also offers an online course designed to introduce small business owners to the subject of exporting. The 30-minute course, titled "Take Your Business Global: An Introduction to Exporting," is intended to be a guide to small businesses to determine if exporting makes sense and whether the basic ingredients for export readiness are in place.


If you prefer talking with someone face-to-face, you can do that by finding your local U.S. Export Assistance Center. EACs offer a variety of services such as trade counseling, business matchmaking, and market intelligence. They also provide seminars and workshops on specific exporting topics and issues. You can find out how Virginia's EAC can help you at: www.export.gov/virginia.


After reading the information referenced above, you may want to ask someone questions about your specific business or industry. For example, instead of a product, your business may offer a service, such as consulting. There are export guidelines that apply to service providers. To find out more about them, you can talk with Aaron Miller, the state's international trade specialist at the Virginia Small Business Development Center. He can be reached at 703-277-7715 or amille2@gmu.edu.

Let's say you have a tangible product, and an overseas contact who'd like a sample of your product to see if it's something they'd like to import from you. The problem is, you have an odd-sized product, or one that requires special packaging. Safe Ship Ashburn is a new small business in Loudoun with specialized equipment that can make customized boxes and send your product overseas. Loudoun Economic Development is welcoming Safe Ship to the county on Friday, August 8 at noon. The company will grill hotdogs and hamburgers for this special event, and offer giveaways to guests. You're invited to attend.


Adapted from an article by Aaron Harri of ARKSourceLink, a proud affiliate of U.S.SourceLink, America's largest resource network for entrepreneurs.


Up-Skill: Events and Training

Interviewing Veterans, Understanding Diversity

Presented by VetAdvisor for the Northern Virginia Technology Council as part of their Veteran Hiring webinar series.

Date:     August 12, 2014

Time:     11:30 a.m.

Place:    Webinar

Cost:      Free; register online


1 Million Cups

Join us for six-minute presentations from Loudoun business owners. Engage in peer mentoring by giving the presenter the benefit of your knowledge and experience in resolving business issues and making companies grow.

Date:     August 13, 20 and 27, 2014

Time:     9-10 a.m.        

Place:    Mason Enterprise Center, 202 Church St., Leesburg

Cost:      Free, find out more online


Business Showcase Breakfast

More than 100 Loudoun Chamber of Commerce members will gather for this premier networking event.

Date:     August 14, 2014

Time:     7:30-9 a.m.

Place:    Belmont Country Club

Cost:      $25 members; $35 nonmembers; register online


Start Your Business

Learn the steps for starting a business and the potential sources for funding.

Date:     August 14, 2014

Time:     11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Place:    Loudoun Small Business Development Center, 202 Church St. SE, Leesburg

Cost:      $10 online; $15 at the door


After Hours/Healthy Business Mixer

Loudoun Chamber of Commerce

Date:     August 21, 2014

Time:     5-7:30 p.m.

Place:    Bluemont Vineyards

Cost:      $20 suggested donation; register online


Loudoun County Challenge

Check out this first-of-its-kind event where innovative companies compete to solve real-world problems. The Innovative Solutions Consortium, the Center for Innovative Technology, Loudoun Economic Development, and the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce are partnering on this event where companies will discuss and demonstrate solutions to Loudoun transportation and public safety challenges.

Date:     August 27, 2014

Time:     1-6 p.m.

Place:    AOL Seriff Auditorium, Dulles, VA

Cost:      Free; register online

Read It and Reap

The 80/20 Manager: The Secret to Working Less and Achieving More by Richard Koch

Who wouldn't want to get more done while actually working less? This book shows how the principle that 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of the effort can be applied to management.  Koch shows that by focusing on the activities that produce the greatest results, and avoiding the distractions that drain valuable time and energy, managers can get the most out of themselves and their employees.  This book has lots of useful tips on both time and personnel management.  Check it out for free at the Loudoun County Public Library.

Be a Winner

Win a bottle of delicious whiskey-barrel-aged maple syrup (it's non-alcoholic) from Catoctin Creek Distillery by sending in an infographic that has valuable business tips. For example, here's one titled "How Startups Get Started and Succeed." The winner will be picked randomly from entries received by midnight August 5. The winner's website will be featured in our next issue. Send your response to LoudounBiz@loudoun.gov.

Gut Check From a Guru

"If you don't value your time, neither will others. Stop giving away your time and talents. Value what you know and start charging for it." -- Kim Garst

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Loudoun Economic Development DC's Technology Corridor 
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