The Gauntlet is an entrepreneurial, business based competition program, which awards local businesses who attend a 10-week program and graduate from it. The Gauntlet competition program is part of The Advancement Foundation, a non-profit organization located in Vinton, Virginia, and has been held every year at The Vinton War Memorial since 2014.

The entrepreneurial business program is now offered in three different counties of Southwest Virginia – Roanoke County, Allegheny County, and Botetourte County. Out of 103 businesses who started the program on February 6, 2018, 41 businesses completed the program and graduated.

On May 17, 2018, Your Life Matters Empowerment Alliance graduated from the 10-week entrepreneurial business program and was awarded the following prizes in The Gauntlet competition by the following companies and individuals who sponsored the competition.


Colleen Burns, C. E. O. & Founder

Photographer: Hannah Rogan


Colleen and Ramain Gohar, Business Services Manager, Virginia Department of Small Business & Supplier Diversity

Photographer: Hannah Rogan











Your Life Matters Empowerment Alliance appreciates and extends their gratefulness and thankfulness to The Advancement Foundation and the work they do every day and year not just for The Gauntlet program but also those neighboring businesses – new and old. Thank you Annette Patterson, Kathleen Carr, Kelly Turner, Becky Freemal, and everyone else we may have missed at The Advancement Foundation and to the Mentors and Sponsors of The Gauntlet Program.