Start Up for Success

The 2022 Start Up for Success cohort has graduated! Click here to learn more about these five aspiring entrepreneurs.

The path to finding a job is not always straightforward or easy. The path to starting your own business is even harder. In communities where many have barriers to employment and starting a new business, people with promising ambition and great business ideas can be left struggling to get that business off the ground.  

Start Up for Success is a new United Way program that provides aspiring entrepreneurs with social capital, training, coaching and start-up funding needed to bring their ideas to life and lead economic development in their community.

The past two years have been a particularly challenging time to operate a small business. Still, as many in-person jobs disappeared in the wake of COVID-19, thousands of people in our area were left searching for new and alternative income sources. Many of these neighbors want to start their own businesses but are unable to do so because they lack the training or start-up money.  

Creating opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs in a post-pandemic world is a critical step on the road to recovery. Start Up for Success will help people and communities rebuild.

Starting a business lets people take on risks with the goal of making a profit or solving a community challenge. Successful new business ventures can improve standards of living, create wealth and jobs and contribute to a growing economy. 

Simply put: Entrepreneurs spark economic growth. That growth should not be limited to people or communities that have the wherewithal to cover start-up costs. Start Up for Success directs that growth at the people and communities who need it most, helping move the needle on all of our Steps to Success

Each year, we have a new cohort of enthusiastic participants, eager to gain tools and knowledge for launching or growing their businesses. Their aspirations range from business consulting and holistic medicine to food services and clothing and apparel. Read more about current and past participants!

About the Training Process

Start Up for Success’s training empowers participants to start and grow a business. This is done through a combination of workshops and one-on-one consulting to support their journey into the world of business ownership. Our training helps participants develop or obtain important business items, including:

  • Business name
  • Business license
  • Working strategy plan that incorporates marketing
  • Pricing model
  • Opportunity to apply for startup funds
  • Community of entrepreneurs with which to continue the journey

Get Involved

  • Apply to Participate. For those who are interested in participating, email Anna Danese ( to be one of the first to know when applications for the 2023 cohort open.
  • Donate. Make a gift to United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg to help us continue this program. Your gift will support the program and start up investments in graduate entrepreneurs.

Program Sponsors

Start up for Success is generously supported by The Luck Foundation and the Bob & Anna Lou Schaberg Foundation.


For questions about Start Up for Success, contact:

Anna Danese
Director, Workforce Partnerships
United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg