An inkling of an idea can become big business with the right resources. That’s why the EDA has put thoughtful processes in place to help fuel all stages of entrepreneurs in our City. Let’s start with startups! This year, Start Peninsula had yet another successful “Shark Tank”-style competition and workshop series to promote and grow new businesses.
The EDA also continued its support of 757 Accelerate, a selective, mentor-driven acceleration program that connects promising startup founders with vetted mentors, investors, resources and education to help startups do more faster. The overall impact on the region? Five Cohort groups, 32 companies, 450+ jobs created and $53 million in capital raised.
Starting up is one thing, and building business is another. 2022 marked the fifth year of our free “Lunch & Learn” sessions for home-based businesses on the Peninsula. Each year, we collaborate with Gloucester County, Hampton, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg and York County to host monthly virtual events with keynote speakers, tackling everything from branding to bookkeeping.
Thoughtful business support like Start Peninsula and home-based business initiatives aren’t the only way resources integrate into the community through the Newport News EDA. Our Offices @ Two Five & J turned 1 year old in May. The community-driven co-working space has been operating at full capacity, with wait lists. This stellar response from residents who are often self-employed, working in small groups or individuals who virtually operate their businesses from this location, has shown the true lift the EDA can provide businesses on a micro-level, with a huge impact on individual lives and collective good in our communities.
Our unique partnership with SCORE gives people direct mentorship and support, especially key in post-COVID economic recovery. We know that disasters, economic downturns and catastrophic events can bring unprecedented challenges to business. We emphasize, what if the obstacle is a chance to grow stronger, more agile and more successful than ever? The Small Business Resilience Hub at SCORE is a critical asset we link our businesses with for these recovery resources.
It’s one thing to support small business, which we make a priority, it’s another equally important priority for our team to dedicate resources to supporting disadvantaged businesses. We want to lift, reach, grow and help sustain small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses. Through continued collaboration with Virginia’s Small Business & Supplier Diversity Department, we innovate around sourcing and compliance with these organizations and bring SBSD programming directly to the City.