By Aila Boyd

Botetourt County’s Department of Economic Development is set to hold its first session of its County launches Entrepreneur Express Express program this Thursday.

The program was announced during the Small Business Summit that the county held last month. The goal of the program is to equip current or aspiring entrepreneurs with the necessary knowledge that they will need in order to make their ventures a success. “So many people just think that they’ll go ahead and start a business, but there’s a longer process involved,” Heather Fay, assistant director of economic development for Botetourt County, said. Fay went on to explain that similar programs have worked well in other areas, which is why her department decided to bring it to Botetourt County.

The first three sessions will be presented by Sandy Ratliff, an assistant vice president and community impact advisor at Virginia Community Capital. Her work allows her to support the region’s small business community with technical workshops and one-on-one support. Her expertise is rooted in economic development regionally and statewide.

The first session, Business Concept and Research, will take place this Thursday.

The second session, Finance and Legal, will take place on January 16.

The third session, Marketing, will take place on January 23.

The fourth and final session, Opening and Sustaining, will take place on January 30. Amanda Forrester, the director of the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center, will serve as the presenter for this session. “Small businesses are the heart of our community and lead to strong economic impacts for our region,” she said.

All four sessions will be held at the Greenfield Education and Training Center in Daleville from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The cost is $20 for all four sessions or $6 per session. Those interested in attending the Entrepreneur Express should register on