Norfolk's Business Cafés are a new NorfolkFirst initiative that provide new and existing businesses with the information, guidance, and resources needed to move forward and achieve success. They offer financial, marketing, management and technical assistance to new and existing small businesses. Services are offered at no charge to Norfolk residents interested in starting a new business or expanding an existing firm. Business Cafés are held in three locations: Ocean View, Park Place, and Southside. Learn more about Norfolk's business cafés in the March 2016 issue of Virginia Town and City magazine.
Ocean View Business Café
The Ocean View Business Cafés focus on Veterans and Small Businesses. An information sheet for the Ocean View Business Café series is available here. To learn more contact Ihsane Mouak at (757) 664-4338 or email .
Park Place Business Café
Business Cafés have been held in Park Place since July 2015. Topics have included small business financing options, how to write a business plan, small business loans, market segmentation, and how to market to the Federal government. An information sheet is available here. To learn more contact Ihsane Mouak at (757) 664-4338 or email .
Southside Business Café
The Southside Business Café, representing Berkley, Campostella, and Campostella Heights, will launch in October 2016. It will focus on Young Adult Business Education and Small Businesses. To learn more contact Ihsane Mouak at (757) 664-4338 or email .
Resources for Entrepreneurs
In 2013, Norfolk was named by Entrepreneur Magazine as a Top 5 City for Entrepreneurs. In 2014, USA Today named Norfolk a Millennial Magnet based upon the population of 20-29 year olds being greater than the teen population. We were 3rd in Virginia. There are a host of other accolades including the designation of downtown zip code 23510 as the third best Hipster neighborhood in the nation by RealtyTrac.
ODU Innovation Center - Norfolk ODU's Center for Enterprise Innovation has partnered with the City of Norfolk to open the new ODU Innovation Center - Norfolk at 501B Boush Street. The new center is both a collaboration space and a program designed to build and grow a community of scalable entrepreneurial businesses. The center delivers professionally managed incubation and acceleration assistance along with co-working space for freelancers, creatives, telecommuters, and anyone seeking to join and contribute to the downtown startup community. For more information visit their website or contact them at (757) 683-7600, or .
The Strome Entrepreneur Center opened with much fanfare at ODU in the fall of 2014. The Strome Entrepreneurial Center hosts an aggressive regimen of events and workshops as it creates an entrepreneurial culture, including social entrepreneurship.
The ODU Business Gateway is a unique resource which includes several tentacles reaching out to various resources for businesses, industry and entrepreneurs. Fields include the Technology Applications Center, Launch Hampton Roads, The Veteran’s Business Outreach Center, Women’s Business center and the Hampton Roads Procurement Assistance Center.
Hatch, Norfolk's accelerator, is a mentor-based startup accelerator program for technology and design entrepreneurs who are ready to build a product and launch a company.
Start Norfolk is an annual weekend long event that matches brains and creativity, bringing together individuals of different mind and skill sets - entrepreneurs, engineers, developers, designers, and business people - with the goal of building a viable startup over a weekend.
Launch Hampton Roads is provided by Opportunity Inc. through a grant to provide entrepreneurship training under the U.S. Department of Labor's Workforce Innovation Fund, part of a three region Virginia consortium that includes organizations in Northern Virginia and Richmond. In Hampton Roads, the program will provide 250 adult and dislocated workers eligible for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) services with comprehensive entrepreneurship training and technical assistance. All clients will receive customized training in a core curriculum that includes: business planning, accounding, finance and credit, and sales and marketing. The educational component will be enriched with services that include entrepreneurship mentoring, networking and special events, and specialized training in areas like federal contracting.
Helpful Links and Downloads for Starting a Business
SBA Startup Guide This small business guide is intended to serve as a roadmap for starting a business. It is both comprehensive and easy to use. It also includes numerous electronic links for additional information. Use this powerful interactive tool, with many supporting resources to help you start a successful business.
Business Plan Template This template is designed to help you build a business plan. Review and complete each section of the template. At the end of the program you will be able to generate and save a formatted business plan which can later be further modified or presented as a final product. Completing this plan is a first step to building a successful business.
Business Plan Samples Get inspired with a gallery of 500+ business plans.
Norfolk Commissioner of the Revenue This site provides you with important tax information. Here you will find many links to information that is important to starting a business.
Zoning Information The Zoning Services Bureau is responsible for administering and enforcing the zoning ordinance of the City of Norfolk.
- ODU Innovation Center Norfolk
- Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center
- Virginia Economic Development Partnership
- Virginia Guide to Establishing a Business 2015-2016
- Small Business Administration
- State Corporation Commission
- Virginia Department of Business Assistance
- Virginia Department of Minority Business Assistance
- US Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency