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April 23, 2020

Here’s a look at some of what we’ve been up to.  If We Haven’t Contacted You, Please Contact Us.


Norfolk Economic Development (NED) Takes Major Steps in Business Retention and Expansion Outreach

As one of the leading port cities on the East Coast, there is no denying Norfolk’s position as having a concentration of commerce dependent upon foreign supply chains. Concern for disruption lead the NED department to expedite a grant as the news of a possible pandemic was also spreading. On March 23, 2020, the Norfolk Business Disaster Loan was introduced. This action and the readiness of the Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) team have allowed Norfolk to provide an advanced level of support.

We’re Rallying the Troops

In preparation, the department organized a structure tailored to outreach and report ahead of the curve, utilizing new opensource programming, a dedicated COVID-19 webpage, daily organizational updates, and action-oriented engagement with outside partners in government, banking, and industry segments. The fact is, NED has had a formal and dedicated Business Retention and Expansion small business programs for over a year and pivoting it to address business impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic almost became second nature.

We’re Engaging Our Allies

The Top 5 industry segments (with employees of 50 or less) the Outreach Team is engaging and servicing since the introduction of the SBA programs are:
o Manufacturing
o Accommodation & Food Service
o Transportation & Warehousing
o Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services
o Construction

Of course, given the unexpected circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the availability of financial resources to keep businesses open as well as the stability of the workforce we’re focused on now. We started working directly with the SBA on the Disaster Injury Program with our regional office and offering webinars with the state. We have been working with the Alliance, Hampton Roads Chamber, ReInvent Hampton Roads, Hampton Roads Workforce Council, GENEDGE, and others and together with the surrounding cities and counties, have promoted resources on the Hampton Roads Business Resource Guide.

The first 757 COVID-19 Business Leaders survey results are available here. Please sign up for updates to take the upcoming waves of the 757 COVID-19 Business Leaders survey presented and sponsored by our partners, on the webpage. The 2nd Wave results should be available in early May.

Results To Date

Economic Development’s extensive outreach and small business assistance effort remains underway as we attempt to directly contact 1,000 Norfolk businesses by the first week in June. To date, we have directly contacted more than 350 businesses and have provided services and resources to nearly 200 small businesses utilizing tools such as the Norfolk Disaster Assistance Loan, emerging federal business assistance programs, helping make B2B and B2G connections, and helping broker an array of non-financial resources.

Nine Norfolk Economic Disaster Assistance Loans have been approved or are in the process of being approved – injecting over $250,000 to small Norfolk business. These loans will assist businesses in accomplishing a number of goals including keeping Norfolk residents employed and covering critical operating expenses due to unexpected revenue losses as a result of COVID-19. Some of the awarded businesses are planning to utilize the money to retool part of their operations to produce products and services for healthcare workers, businesses, and individuals.

What are ED Agencies doing Internationally? It seems great minds think alike.

On April 17, the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance hosted a webinar with PM & Partner Marketing Consulting GmbH (PM&P), an economic development consulting firm Headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany titled “Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) during the Corona Virus Outbreak.” PM&P identified 8 significant steps to implementing a BRE program.
· Establishment of a dedicated BRE capacity
· Organizational structure and agreement with other service partners
· Definition of joint services will be offered to the local companies
· Development of BRE marketing material and website
· Selection of local companies to be included in the BRE program
· Promotion events within the region presenting the BRE program to the companies
· Systematic approach of local companies
· Monitoring of the program


The NED is listening to our businesses for additional guidance on the next steps. Starting with what we know, companies want to be able to work within localized supply chains. NED and our regional partners are working on brokering this. We want your input, too as well as how we can help with COVID-19 resources. Click here for the business services request.