Starting a business is not easy.
Fortunately, there are plenty of experts, resources and programs to help you in the process of taking your dream from idea to reality. In fact, there are SO many options out there that it can get confusing. How do you know where to begin?
You may be clear on your business and where you want it go, but you also have a long list of questions:
Do I need an accelerator or an incubator? And what's the difference?
Should I get funding from a banker, an angel investor or crowdfunding?
Does my business idea have any potential to be a real success?
Figuring out WHAT you need before you start asking for help will save you (and everyone else) lots of time and trouble.
Keep reading and you'll see that there are plenty of ways to give your business a boost, whether you've been building it for years or just had the idea this morning.
Before you go on, here are a few things to keep in mind:
But as different as they all may be, the one thing they have in common is that they exist to help YOU succeed as a small business owner/entrepreneur.
StartWheel's mission is to centralize and mobilize efforts that foster the growth of entrepreneurism in the regional innovation economy. Their goal is to guide and cultivate an entrepreneurial network where talent, resources information and leadership come together. In addition to a growing presence online, Startwheel recently launched the "I|E Series," a collective of events in Hampton Roads celebrating, showcasing, educating, and inspiring innovators and entrepreneurs.
757 Accelerate is a non-profit startup accelerator program. Their mission is to provide startups with the customized resources and capital they need to grow. They boost promising startups towards customer traction and revenue using their network of mentors, investors, support services, working space, and a lean startup education.
For new ventures and companies that want to grow fast and validate their assumptions, including technology-enabled companies founded by veterans, military families, women, and minorities. Primary industries of focus are healthcare, environment, infrastructure/logistics, and education startups. (757) 606-0757
A multi-city competition that starts as entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to judges on Friday night. Individuals with the top ten pitches are given needed resources to refine and develop their ideas over the weekend-long event, culminating in a Sunday pitch for a chance to win three top prizes of cash and continued business incubation.
Provides entrepreneurs and startups with the amenities, counseling, and services necessary to grow a successful business. 4345 New Town Avenue Suite 200 Williamsburg, VA (757) 565-4373
"Our mission is to implement an internationally recognized business pre-acceleration and acceleration program to commercialize scientific and technical research, with a particular emphasis on aerospace and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). As we promote the National Institute of Aerospace as the epicenter for new and expanding aerospace/UAS research and technology companies, RBITC creates an environment full of energy and outcome-centric goals intended to inspire and motivate its members." 1100 Exploration Way, Suite 302, Hampton, VA The National Institute of Aerospace (757) 325-6990
Provides space and nurturing services to new and small businesses during their critical early existence. Office space, advice, technical assistance, counseling and other services on-site. 6 W County Street in Hampton, VA (757) 722-9283
Seven-week business boot camp where participants attend half-day training programs to refresh their business knowledge. Upon completion of the bootcamp, Protégé are introduced to their mentors and a two-year mentoring program begins.Small Business Development Ctr of Hampton Roads 600 Butler Farm Road, Hampton, VA (757) 664-2595
Assists businesses during their first few years of operation and also provides hands-on management assistance, access to equipment and exposure to critical business and technical support services. 601 North Mechanic Street Franklin, VA 23851 757-562-1958
Educates, inspires, and supports William & Mary students in developing the skills and mindset of an entrepreneur. Raymond A. Mason School of Business College of William & Mary Williamsburg, VA
Mentors provide free face-to-face meetings and low-cost workshops and events designed to enable entrepreneurs succeed and thrive in today’s challenging business climate. To start working with a SCORE Hampton Roads mentor, please give us a call at 757-455-9338.
Norfolk Branch - In Norfolk, mentoring sessions are conducted at ODU Innovation Center, 501 Boush Street Suite B, Norfolk, VA 23510
Virginia Beach Branch - We also offer appointments in Virginia Beach at Town Center, located at 4525 Main Street, Virginia Beach, VA 23462.
Provides incubation space for young companies that will eventually move on to seek their own space as they grow their payroll and revenue. 200 High Street, Suite 201 Portsmouth, VA 23704 757-397-8473
A business-friendly entry point to engage the intellectual capital, innovative technologies and world-class infrastructure of Old Dominion University. Includes the programs listed below:
The Strome Entrepreneurial Center helps students, faculty and staff collaborate to develop innovative and creative thinking to launch ideas and businesses.
A hub for entrepreneurial activity. Provides space and programming to startups and service providers within the Hampton Roads ecosystem. Supported by, and in partnership with, Old Dominion University and the City of Norfolk. 501B Boush Street, Norfolk, VA (757) 683-7600
TempO is a program providing Business Creation, Incubation & Acceleration services. Your business idea lives or dies by your ability to get to market.
The Hampton Roads Procurement Assistance Center (HRPAC) assists area businesses in establishing themselves to bid competitively on federal, state, and local government contracts
The Technology Applications Center (TAC) provides engineering and technical expertise to local businesses and organizations who seek to innovate, grow, and achieve performance excellence.
The Hampton Roads Veterans Business Outreach Center (HRVBOC) is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and mentoring, and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business.
Helps elevate women to business success through education, counseling, networking resources and entrepreneurial training.
Old Dominion University
106 Innovation Research Park I 4111 Monarch Way
Norfolk, VA (757) 683-3729
Community workshop and prototyping center that serves entrepreneurs and creators in need of 3D printing, laser cutters/engravers/cutters, CNC’s, welding and related equipment & services. 421 W. 22nd Street, Norfolk, VA
1000 Four is a community first platform developed with the modern entrepreneurial experience in mind. The combination of real interactions with other entrepreneurs and an on-demand ready-to-use educational library gives entrepreneurs actionable solutions to their growth problems.
Helps organize a regional entrepreneurial and innovation-based support ecosystem. Delivers mentoring, experience learning sessions, growth modeling and access to capital. (757) 373-6517
Business accelerator by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. Our goal is to actively help serious clients, and to encourage the curious. 1006 Richmond Rd, Williamsburg, VA
Supports the development of micro, small and medium-size enterprises in rural North Carolina. North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center 4021 Carya Drive in Raleigh, NC (919) 250-4314
The business and technology extension service of The University of North Carolina. Offers entrepreneur-focused programs and online training resources. Elizabeth City State University HL Trigg Bldg, Rm 102, 1704 Weeksville Rd Elizabeth City, NC
Identifies, enables and promotes high-growth, high-impact companies to accelerate the entrepreneurial culture of the Research Triangle and North Carolina.334 Blackwell Street, Suite B012, Durham, NC (919) 549-7500
EntreDot was established to help entrepreneurs create, launch and operate their businesses by providing professional mentoring and business education programs that maximize the opportunity for success, resulting in incremental economic growth in revenue and jobs. 800 Park Offices Dr, 3rd Fl Research Triangle Park NC (919) 522-0722
1 Million Cups is a free, weekly program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation.
Most Wednesday mornings at 9am Stratford University’s Virginia Beach campus 555 S. Independence Blvd
Norfolk's Business Cafés 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 Ocean View, Park Place, Southside, and Huntersville. For additional information about the business cafés contact Aleea Slappy at (757) 664-4338 or email.
A free quarterly breakfast meeting and discussion focused on a topic of importance to the business community and featuring a panel of experts on the chosen topic. Happens March, June, September and December.
Dedicated to helping small businesses grow, increase presence in the community and build revenue by offering the resources and tools necessary to succeed. Offers regular free networking opportunities for everyone and even more BizConnect “member only” events.
The Global Shapers Community is a network of hubs developed and led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, their achievements and their drive to make a contribution to their communities. Supported by the World Economic Forum, there are now Global Shapers Hubs in over 400 cities around the world.
Marketers Anonymous is a monthly meet-up run by marketers for marketers. Hear success stories first-hand, learn cutting-edge marketing tactics, discover the latest industry research and insights, and get to know others in the local marketing community.
Southside Event: Third Friday of each month at the Blue Moon TapHouse at Waterside in Norfolk.
Peninsula Event: 2nd Friday of each month at Smoke BBQ on Warwick Blvd in Newport News.
Full calendar of regular and special events
Calendar of events from CoVaBiz magazine
Updated weekly with a list of networking and professional development events. Includes a form for submitting events
Nice collection of local business and startup events
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Offers open workspaces, two conference rooms, video conferencing capabilities and a 1,500-square-foot multi-purpose space.
A productive haven for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and independent workers.
Fully furnished, modern, turnkey offices, with flexible lease terms and office solutions. Executive private suites, virtual offices, day offices, conference rooms, and modern co-working space.
Fully equipped workspace that includes facilities, furniture, high-speed internet and a staffed reception.
A collaborative, creative community for entrepreneurs, startups, and innovators in the heart of downtown Norfolk, Virginia. Four dynamic locations, all centrally located in the heart of downtown Norfolk, Virginia.
Offers networking events, business tools workshops, and private office space rental as well as shared space, drop-in desks and meeting space.
Co-working space, private offices and a conference room available.