Grace Festa is a Business Development Manager for the Greater Richmond Partnership (GRP), the Richmond region’s economic development group. She works with the business attraction team, helping both domestic and international businesses choose the Richmond region as their new home. Grace is also responsible for the coordination of the Business First Greater Richmond program, a collaboration between the GRP’s four local government partners to retain existing businesses and help them grow in the region.
As a value-add to local businesses, Grace recently helped establish the Metro Richmond Exports Initiative (MREI), in partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Urban & Regional Analysis (CURA@VCU) and Virginia’s Gateway Region (VGR). MREI was established to educate central Virginia businesses about the benefits of exporting and drive increased gross domestic product (GDP) in the Richmond MSA.
Grace holds a B.A. in both German and Spanish from the University of Connecticut and spent extensive time in Europe during her studies. After moving from Connecticut to Virginia, she worked briefly in residential real estate appraisal before enrolling at Virginia Commonwealth University to earn a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning with a focus on economic development. She has been with GRP since 2009 and is passionate about fostering economic growth and prosperity in the Richmond region.