Your One-Stop-Shop for Starting Your Business in Newport News

Congratulations! You are about to embark on an exciting and challenging adventure—starting a new business. We look forward to welcoming you as a member of the Newport News business community, a fun, vibrant, growing group of people and companies representing just about every business sector you can think of.

We are excited for you to get started and hope you are too. So, let's get on with things and get you the information you need to start a business in Newport News!

Knowing you have the power of the EDA and the City beside you the whole way, you’ll want to begin with three basic steps: Plan, Permit, & Launch.


You want the effort of setting up your business to go as smoothly as possible, right? So do we. There are a few decisions that you need to figure out before moving on.

What type of business are you going to be?

A Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC) or something else? Click on the Small Business Administration (SBA) button below for more information on this question. If you aren't sure what the best option is for your business, consider consulting an attorney or an accountant.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

What business name are you going to use?

Are you going to use your company's legal name as your trade name or will you do business under a different name?

A business has an option to use their legal business name or register a trade name. A trade name is a “doing business as” name. All fictitious names (trade names, DBA’s, etc.) must be registered with the State Corporation Commission (SCC). This can be done online at or by calling (804) 371-9967. The fee is $10.

Tip: You may want to have a couple different names in mind, just in case someone else is already using the name you selected.

Are you going to use a different mailing address?
Some individuals want the mail to come straight to their business address, while others prefer to use a post office box or mailing service address. There's no real right or wrong answer to this one. It's just personal preference.


Small Business Counseling/Mentoring


Department of Planning

Department of Codes Compliance

To-do List

To help you take care of important items, we’ve prepared a To-Do List:

  • Select Business Industry Type
  • Business Plan
  • Business Structure
  • Financing
  • Legal Structure (Entity Type)
  • Naming
  • Registering Your Business Name
  • Get Federal & State Tax Identification
  • Finding a Location


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Think of the permitting process as self-defense. Permits assure you and public agencies that everything is on the up and up. That you’re building your business by the book. In doing so, you protect yourself, your employees, and your customers and establish a bulletproof path for your future.

Let’s address the City side of things

The Commissioner of the Revenue’s office is responsible for classifying and issuing business licenses for businesses operating in Newport News. In addition to having a license businesses might have business personal property, business-related taxes, and machinery and tools tax. See the resources below to learn more about each area.

Business Classification Form
Business- Related Taxes
Business Personal Property
Machinery & Tools Tax
Tax Rate Schedules

Visit or call 757-926-8752 for more information.

A word about state and federal registration

The Commonwealth's Business One Stop website has really helped to streamline the process for completing the state and federal requirements for starting a new business.

When you get to the website, click on the "Starting" section. This will open up a page with a bunch of information on getting through the state and federal processes. Read through everything on the site as there is a tremendous amount of information. Click the Business One Stop button below to get STARTED!

Business One Stop

Just one more step

Each new business must receive a Certificate of Use and Occupancy from the Department of Codes Compliance which is a separate office from the Commissioner's Office.

This is done to make sure the business is operating within the proper zoning and that the structure meets all building code requirements for the type of business being done there.

Certificate of Use and Occupancy Verification of Use and Occupancy

In some cases where you are moving into a building that was previously used for the same type of business as yours, you may only need to obtain a Verification of Use and Occupancy.

Whew! That is a lot to think about. Now that you have your critical decisions made and all of the important information in-hand, it's time to start filling out some forms and getting set up to do business.


Tax/Licensing/Codes/Business Regulations

To-do List

Take a look at the next To-Do List to see which permits are right for your business.

  • Planning
  • Finance
  • State Licensing
  • Apply for Licensing & Permits
  • Alcohol Licensing
  • Building & Safety
  • Public Works
  • Water
  • Fire
  • State and Federal Registration


Coming up with a business idea is exciting. Don’t let the hurdles of getting it up and running slow your momentum. With a strong foundation in place, as well as the right connections in the community, you will be positioned for lasting success.

You should put blood, sweat and tears into your business, not the process. We’re here to make it easy on you. To help you through everything from incentives to permits to resources.


Coworking Space


If you have additional questions, feel free to contact the Department of Development:

Department of Development (757) 926-8428

Congratulations! You are now ready to do business in the City of Newport News. We are here to serve you and have many resources in place to help you grow your business.

Again, we are glad you have chosen Newport News as the place for your business and we wish you tremendous success in your endeavors.

Now that you’ve gotten through the proverbial red tape, let’s celebrate! Then let’s launch that business of yours.

To-do List

  • Sign Up for Utility Services
  • Prepare Your Marketing Strategy
  • Plan a Grand Opening

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May 23, 2022
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