Entrepreneur hopes for business ignitions

svaughan@vagazette.com

Lance Zaal is an entrepreneur who wants to help other entrepreneurs.

Zaal, an alumnus of the College of William and Mary and the Mason School of Business, has been involved with startups featuring way-finding and tour apps for Williamsburg, the college and other cities.

"I'm involved in some things, and I know some people who are interested in startups, and I thought this is something we can do to help other entrepreneurs," he said of his latest project, which opens this month: Ignition, a nonprofit business incubator.

"The mission of helping to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit in people. When a person can take their idea, develop it into a business, and bring that idea to market, it creates a fulfilling moment that will change their life. This process, culminating in the first sale, is what I call the point of ignition," Zaal said.

The project is a nonprofit located at 1006 Richmond Road, Suite 300. It has three main goals, Zaal said, acceleration, incubation and education.

He'd also like to create after-school programs for public school children.

"Not only do many teenagers and children possess creative and inquisitive minds, but this stage in their life is critical for both introducing them to and nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit," he said.

He said plans are to do a local version of "Shark Tank" eventually.

"We have Williamsburg Dancing with the Stars. This would be like that for entrepreneurs," he said.

He hopes to have the first "Shark Tank" program Sept. 30 or Oct. 1.

He envisions the program being live-streamed on the Internet, with the major benefit being exposure rather than a cash prize.

"If there's a cash prize — I write you a check for $7,000 — there's no follow-up," he said. "What would be more helpful is people to invest in the business and have a real stake in how it goes."

Among the things Zaal thinks Ignition can help aspiring entrepreneurs with are development of business models, design services like web and logo design, web development — including e-commerce, mobile app development, free web hosting services and marketing strategy.

He said the team already has a track record.

"The most important aspect of Ignition is that its leadership knows how to get results. In the first four months of operation, without a physical space from which to work, Ignition has helped six businesses generate $238K in revenue, without taking any public funds," Zaal said. " Because Ignition gets results because it is operated by entrepreneurs, supported by a talented team, and privately financed."

Zaal said he and friends have been working on the project as volunteers even before lining up office space.

"I've been into several businesses, and I know people who are into small, start-up businesses and it's a question of using what we've learned to help others," he said in a phone interview Friday.

Ignition's website is ignitioncenter.com.

Business Notes

Silver Hand Meadery will be celebrating the arrival of its latest mead variety at 224 Monticello Ave., just west of the Monticello Shopping Center, during the weekend of July 8. The meadery had previously released its first five original meads, called "Virginia Moon", "Dream By The Fire", "All Blues", "Scarborough Fair" and "Terres Brulees" - each name an homage to a song that inspired the mead's composition. According to meadery co-owner Glenn Lavender, the new mead - called "Soak Up The Sun" - is about the joy of being content with the rhythm and beauty of life. "We hope our fresh new mead will inspire our customers to savor what is good."

CENTURY 21 Nachman Realty recognized Pam Pherson for being the Top Sales Agent in June and Courtney Martinez for being June's Top Listing Agent.

Lars Farnham has joined Old Point National Bank as Vice President and Retail Lending Manager. He was previously Vice President of Indirect Lending for Greenwood Credit Union in Warwick, R.I. Farnham brings with him over 20 years of lending and management experience and a bachelors of arts in finance from Marquette University.

MP&A Digital & Advertising, a Williamsburg integrated marketing agency, has been recognized by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts with four Communicator Awards and by the Interactive Media Council with two Interactive Media Awards. MP&A Digital received four Communicator Awards for exceptional marketing creative: Gold Award of Excellence - The Somerset on Grace Bay – Brochure; Silver Award of Distinction - Jamaica Inn: Website - Structure and Navigation; Silver Award of Distinction - Nisbet Plantation: Website - Hotels and Lodging; Silver Award of Distinction - Two Rivers County Club: Video - Branded Content Promotional/Branding. The two Interactive Media Awards awarded to MP&A Digital were for website development that surpassed the standards of excellence on the Jamaica Inn website project.

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