Bedford tops area in business start-ups

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By John Barnhart

    The Bedford area leads Region 2000 in new business start-ups, according to Traci Blido, Bedford County’s director of economic development.

    Region 2000 consists of the counties of Appomattox, Amherst, Bedford and Campbell as well as the cities of Bedford and Lynchburg. Lynchburg had the second largest number in 2010 with 81. Bedford County had 86 and, with the city’s new start ups thrown in, totals 92.
    Blido only has complete figures for 2010 and the first two quarters of 2011, but that year is looking good too. Bedford County had a total of 44 for that time period; Lynchburg had 34.
    This data comes from Virginia Workforce Connection. Bedford County does not require a business license and, therefore, doesn’t have a precise, current account of new businesses.
    “We are still outpacing the city of Lynchburg,” she said. “That is a positive sign that we are growing new startups and entrepreneurs.”
    Blido notes that Forest is a growing area and business growth is moving along US 221 in the direction of Bedford.
    She believes that the Bedford area’s business environment is helping. Bedford County has low taxes and offers a low cost of doing business. The county does not require a business license and eliminated its merchant’s capital tax last year. Blido said that 46 of Virginia’s 95 counties still have it and, to her knowledge, Bedford County is the only one, locally, to have eliminated it.
    “We,   in   our   region,  are