Best Practices

SourceLink Virginia Celebrates Its First Year!

Published Nov 11, 2015 by SourceLink Administrator
by: Conaway Haskins

On October 22, 2014, the SourceLink Virginia business resource portal was officially “hard launched.” After the initial “soft launch” on August 22, 2014, VCEN entered a 60-day period of crowdsourcing the expansion of the project. Starting with a core group of 30 service providers in the resource directory, by October 22, 2014, nearly 100 partner organizations were listed in the database.

Today, SourceLink Virginia has over 210 service providers listed, one of the fasted rollouts among affiliates of US SourceLink ®, America’s largest resource network for entrepreneurs.

Designed to bolster the entrepreneurial ecosystems in the Commonwealth by connecting aspiring, emerging, and established entrepreneurs and to the business assistance providers who can help them grow, new resource partners are being actively recruited. It is provided free of charge to both entrepreneurs and business assistance providers, thus filling a long-identified gap in Virginia economic development. 

Since it went live last year, SourceLink Virginia has generated the following data analytics:

  • 2,600+ unique users - 3,700+ sessions – 11,600+ page-views
  • Average session: 3 minutes with 3 pages/session
  • Traffic: 70% new users, 30% returning users
  • Activity Sources: 34% direct, 40% web referrals, 23% SEO
  • Highest usage areas: Richmond, Roanoke-Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Shenandoah Valley, Northern VA, Hampton Roads
  • Usage: 85% Resource Navigator, 10% Calendar, 5% Other
  • Top 6 searches: Business Planning, Financial Resources, Starting a Business, Economic & Site Development, Office/Incubator Space, Marketing & Sales

One exciting new aspect of SourceLink Virginia – which was highlighted as a promising practice at the 2015 U.S. SourceLink National Conference – is the ability for local and regional entrepreneurship efforts to power their own online resource portals by embedding the Resource Navigator and Events Calendar inside of existing websites. So far, this element of the program is operating in six different regions of Virginia:

Abingdon 

http://growabingdon.com/start-here/entrepreneur-start-up

Charlottesville

http://www.centralvirginia.org/small-business-development-center/resources

http://www.centralvirginia.org/small-business-development-center/workshops

Northern VA

http://www.masonenterprisecenter.org/sourcelink-virginia-2/

Richmond (click “See more”)

http://www.businessfirstrichmond.com/business-resources/

Roanoke

http://rrsbdc.org/SourceLinkVirginia.html 

http://www.grandincolab.com/resource-navigator

Southside VA

http://www.thinkbiggervga.com/resources/sourcelink-virginia

Virginia’s entrepreneurial ecosystems have advanced quite a bit over the past year, but work remains to be done. Any groups who are interested in utilizing this resource – free of charge – should contact Conaway Haskins at conaway.haskins@vtknowledgeworks.com.

As always, any resource provider who is interested in getting listed in SourceLink Virginia should:

  • Check out the available information
  • Get your organization listed in our resource database by completing the online partner survey
  • Invite your partners and colleagues to get listed
  • Post your events by sending the details to contact@vcen.org
  • Put a link to SourceLink Virginia on your own websites
Content contributed by Conaway Haskins, SourceLink Virginia. SourceLink Virginia is a proud affiliate of U.S.SourceLink, America’s largest resource network for entrepreneurs.