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CIC Microloan Program Surpasses $4M Since Inception


Charlottesville, VA – Community Investment Collaborative (CIC) infused $1M in capital into the local economy in 2023 through microloans to the small business community, doubling its 2022 total. With a continued focus on under-resourced entrepreneurs, its loan funds span central Virginia and beyond, including making its first loans in Martinsville, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg and Hampton Roads, and include partnerships with local governments, funding from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund, among other sources. 


“As a small business owner, funding is hard to find. Working with CIC for over 3 years has helped me be able to expand my business. The CIC team is friendly, helpful and awesome to work with,” says Cheryl Council, Owner, Relax Cville, Charlottesville’s first boutique medical spa.


Graduates of CIC’s signature program, a 16-week Entrepreneur Workshop, and owners of existing businesses are able to apply for a Contract-based Loan, a Start-up/Growth Loan or an Accelerator Loan, which caps at $10,000 or 2.5 months worth of current revenues, whichever comes first, and is designed to help local businesses optimize operations, purchase equipment or inventory, improve building conditions or support short-term working capital. CIC increased its microloan limit to $50,000 in 2022, shortly after ten years of operations. 


“CIC is excited to continue to accomplish our goal of expanding access to capital to local entrepreneurs, particularly those who have traditionally faced barriers and restrictions because of their credit history, credit scores, time in business, availability of collateral, or the lack thereof.  Hitting the $1M mark in 2023 proves the continued need for the services we provide.  Being a flexible financing source and a certified CDFI positions us to create an entrepreneur ecosystem in our local community that business owners can learn from and build with,” says Stephen Davis, President, CIC.  


Terms across loan products range from three (3) months to five (5) years based on the history of the business, the size and purpose of the loan, with decisions typically offered in 10-14 days for the Accelerator Loan and 4-6 weeks for the Start-up Loan.  Interest rates cap at 9.75% with a lower rate offered to CIC Graduates and long-term clients of the Central VA Small Business Development Center (CV SBDC), an in-house team of professionals, offering free, 1:1 business advising, research assistance and business-centered workshops and events.  Interested applicants should have been operating for at least six (6) months.  


To determine eligibility, apply or learn more information regarding loan types and the application process, please visit or contact Carolina Medina at (434) 218-3481.




Community Investment Collaborative (CIC) is a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) with a mission to strengthen the community and contribute to economic development by fueling the success of under-resourced entrepreneurs through education, mentoring, financing, and networking. CIC celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2022, has over 550 graduates from its 16-week Entrepreneur Workshop and has issued more than $4 million to over 205 entrepreneurs through its microloan program. Learn more about CIC at

REC Names Director–Facilities Management

Fredericksburg, Va. — Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) has named Karen Mills as Director–Facilities Management.


In this role, Mills will oversee the acquisition, construction, maintenance and operations of the Cooperative's facilities and grounds. In addition, she will develop and maintain the Cooperative's facilities management policies and procedures. 


“Mills has more than 15 years of experience leading facilities services teams and executing real estate strategy,” said Tosh Bowe, REC’s Managing Director–Administrative Services/Controller. “Her extensive knowledge and experience will ensure efficient operations and effective resource utilization at the Cooperative.”    


Prior to joining REC, Mills served as Senior Manager of Facilities Services for Washington Gas.


Before working in utilities, Mills supported several growing technology companies, including, where she led commercial space acquisition, lease negotiation, design development, and construction management.


Mills graduated from George Mason University’s School of Management with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. She has also earned the assessment-based credential Facility Management Professional. 

A Virginia native, Mills lives in the Fredericksburg area with her husband, Chris, and their black lab, Brady. In her free time, Mills volunteers at Lab Rescue LRCP, where she transports dogs rescued from overcrowded shelters to the DC-metro area for veterinary care and, ultimately, adoption.


REC provides electric service to over 176,000 connections in parts of 22 Virginia counties. With its general office in Fredericksburg, Va., the Cooperative operates and maintains more than 18,000 miles of power lines through its service area, which ranges from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay. For more information about REC, please visit Follow REC on Facebook, X, Instagram, and YouTube.


ORANGE COUNTY, Va. – According to the most recent statistics released by the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), visitor spending for Orange County reached $52.8 Million in 2022, a 4.5% increase over 2021. Tourism supported 485 jobs in Orange County while local tourism-related taxes were $2.2 Million. 

At the state level, Virginia enjoyed $30.3 billion in visitor spending in 2022, an increase of 20.3% from 2021, exceeding 2019 levels by 4.4%. The tourism industry in Virginia directly supported 210,721 jobs in 2022, an increase of more than 25,000 jobs relative to 2021, but still down about 30,000 jobs relative to 2019. All data is from Tourism Economics and is based on visitor spending from trips taken at least 50 miles away from home. The leading tourism sectors in Virginia are recreation and food and beverage, which have exceeded 2019 levels by 10%. 

The local food and beverage industry in Orange County had a particularly impressive year of growth with overall revenues of $15.1 million in 2022 compared to $13.8 million in 2021. Julie Perry, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Tourism, said “Total tourism expenditures in Orange County exceeded pre-pandemic levels in 2021, so this extra growth in 2022 is especially exciting. 

It’s a tribute to the local attractions, small businesses and lodging facilities that make Orange County such a great place to visit!” For more information, contact Julie Perry, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Tourism, at

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