November 2021

River District Association celebrates the holidays and community at annual Christmas on the Plaza Event. 

The River District Association is happy to invite the Danville Community to its annual holiday tree lighting event, Christmas on the Plaza on December 3rd from 5-9 pm. 

River District Association encourages holiday cheer and shopping local with Holiday Gift Guide, Shop Small Saturday, and Window Decorating Contest.

The River District Association (RDA) is proud to announce they have once again been selected for the American Express® Neighborhood Champion Program.  Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 and celebrates the impact small businesses have on communities across the country while reminding us all to Shop Local this holiday season.



RDA opens registrations for the 2022 Dream Launch Bootcamp

River District Association announces RDA 2022 Dream Launch Bootcamp and Pitch Competition now open for registration.


Over $250K available to local entrepreneurs that complete the Dream Launch Bootcamp.

DANVILLE VA – The River District Association (RDA) is excited to announce that registration has opened for the fourth cohort of the River District Association Dream Launch Bootcamp. This will be the fourth iteration of the RDA Dream Launch Bootcamp; since the start of the program in 2019, over 200 individuals have participated in some or all of the Bootcamp classes.


The RDA Dream Launch Bootcamp is for entrepreneurs who wish to learn more about opening, owning, and operating a business in the Dan River Region; the Bootcamp is also open to current businesses that would like to expand as well as those that would like to audit the courses to prepare for potentially opening a business in the future. There is no cost to participate in the Bootcamp.


Entrepreneurs or existing businesses who complete all six Bootcamp sessions and plan to open brick and mortar locations in the River District may apply to compete in the Dream Launch Pitch Competition for awards and incentives totaling more than $200,000.  Dream Launch Bootcamp participants that wish to open a business outside of the district are eligible to compete in the Danville Pittsylvania Rev-Up Pitch competition through the Danville Pittsylvania Chamber of Commerce and access more than $100,000 in awards and incentives.


RDA is also excited to announce two new partnerships with traditional lending institutions to provide additional access to capital to pitch participants.  Movement Bank is offering the opportunity for 2 grantees to potentially be awarded a line of credit up to $25,000 each, and 2 additional cash awards of $2,000 per grantee.  American National Bank will also continue their work with the program by offering the opportunity for 2 local grantees to potentially access lines of credit up to $25,000 each. (Lines of credit from both institutions are subject to credit underwriting and approval).


This year, RDA will offer an additional educational resource for food related businesses in the region.  The Food and Beverage Workshop will be optional for all Dream Launch participants but required for those wishing to pitch specifically to open a food and beverage business.  Panelists from Virginia ABC, Health Dept, and Planning and Zoning Department will be on-hand to provide information needed for business owners in this industry.  Local entrepreneurs with an interest in learning more about opening a food and beverage business are also welcome to attend; this workshop is free but requires separate registration.


“The support of Dream Launch on both the local and state level really speaks to the quality of the program and all the partners involved” says Diana Schwartz, Executive Director of the River District Association, “without collaboration with our many partners, the program would not be successful.  We are particularly thankful to our two local lending institutions that have chosen to partner with us; access to capital is the number-one hurdle for most start-ups, and the possibility of accessing an additional $100,000 for local entrepreneurs will go a long way to get our new businesses the assistance they need to be successful.”


In addition to the two new partnerships, support for the program has expanded in other ways.  RDA was recently awarded $90,000 Community Business Launch grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The program is also made possible by the financial support of the City of Danville, Danville Regional Foundation, and The Dan River Entrepreneur Ecosystem (also funded by the Danville Regional Foundation).


Registration for the RDA Dream Launch program is now open at or can also be found at or on the RDA social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn)


The River District Association was organized in 1999 as the Downtown Danville Association. In May 2015, the organization was renamed the River District Association to complement the city’s River District brand and is an accredited Virginia and National Main Street Community. The office is currently located at 208 N Union Street, Danville VA.