THE WALKER PROGRAM
The goal of THE WALKER PROGRAM is to establish four to six businesses owned and operated by people of color in Lexington, Buena Vista, or Rockbridge County by December 2021, along with an ongoing network of support for further business development.
THE WALKER PROGRAM is a new community initiative, launching in August 2020, that will help jumpstart businesses owned by people of color in Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County, VA.
It combines free business training, grant funding, and ongoing support to committed individuals who want to start or grow a business in our area.
The goal is to lower the barriers to business ownership for entrepreneurs of color in our community.
The Program is named in honor of Harry Lee & Eliza Walker, leading entrepreneurs at the turn of the 20th century in downtown Lexington.
Read more about Harry & Eliza Walker here.
For a graphical overview of the history of Black-owned businesses in Lexington, click here.
THE WALKER PROGRAM is modeled on the successful “Launch Lex” program conducted by Main Street Lexington in 2018. It combines intensive hands-on business training, a business pitch competition, cash grants and in-kind services to the most promising aspiring entrepreneurs, and a network of local advisors to provide ongoing support.
Launch Lex's successes include:
• 24 individuals completed the training program
• 8 business plans were selected for the pitch competition
• 4 were awarded prizes
• 7 businesses were opened or expanded in downtown Lexington
All 7 businesses are still going strong today.
Launch Lex was made possible through a $60,000 state grant, a matching grant of $10,000 from the City of Lexington, and in-kind donations from local organizations and individuals valued at $5,000.
THE WALKER PROGRAM seeks ongoing funding from private donations, institutional and organizational partners, and grants. To offer a donation of funds or in-kind goods or services, contact us.
To donate to the Grant Fund now, click here.
NEW: April 2021 -- The Walker Program Guidebook
An outline of the community-based approach to racial equity through economic prosperity that we are developing.
Created and compiled as a senior capstone project by Courtney Berry, Washington & Lee Class of 2021.