​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Small Business/SWaM

Virginia Beach is where startups get a head start. ​

New: Contractors and Suppliers: Sign up Now for the City's New Online Supplier Portal

The City's online Supplier Portal will soon become your main gateway to procurement and contract opportunities. Our new portal will offer a simple, secure way to:

  • View and respond to bids
  • Access purchase orders and invoices
  • Track payment status
  • Update company information

If your company has provided goods and services to the City or would like to do so in the future, we encourage you to complete the contact form by June 1, 2020.

Small businesses are big business for the City of Virginia Beach and a key component to creating a vibrant, successful, and global community.​​ As one of America’s largest cities, Virginia Beach understands the greatness obtained from embracing a diversity of people and business. ​By creating a dynamic framework where new ideas blend with the existing environment, we can ensure a sustainable and successful future. Part of that framework includes having a business community that represents all of the community.​

​Program Objectives​

  • Promote entrepreneurial activity by educating entrepreneurs about resources available to help start or expand their businesses
  • Promote opportunities for small business growth
  • Promote Virginia Beach as the preferred location for small,  women-led and minority businesses of all sizes

Targ​eted Assistance 

  • Small Business Forum

  • Workshops and networking opportunities

  •  Business m​entoring

  • Outreach events

  • Procurement trainings

  • 1 Million Cups entrepreneurial engagement program

  • Resource identification and connections

  • Site selection assistance

  •  Market information

  • Business license assistance

Considering or Starting a Business​

​Starting a business is fairly easy and inexpensive, but requires a major commitment of time and resources. ​For entrepreneurs and leaders interested in starting or growing a business in Virginia Beach, the Virginia Beach Economic Development can assist by providing management, technical, and other resources. Also, through our department and our allies, various programs are available for small and startup firms, as well as women-and minority-owned companies of any size. Together with our local, regional, and state partners, the City of Virginia Beach's Busi​ness Portal​  can help your company find the best solution for its long term growth needs.​ 

 Service Corps of Retired Executives​​​

The Service Corps of Retired Executives​ (SCORE) offers free business counseling if you are considering starting a business.  To make an appointment to consult with a SCORE counselor on Thursday mornings in Virginia Beach, call (757) 455-9338.

​Additional small business resources are available from the Virginia Beach Defense Business Center.

​1 Million Cups E​ntrepreneurial Engagement Program​

1 Million Cups is a global initiative of the Kauffman Foundation (www.kauffman.org) to support, educate and promote local entrepreneurs.  ​​​

The Virginia Beach chapter (known locally as "Shark Tank….Without the Bite") was launched in 2015 by the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development and the local entrepreneur community. During the year, more than 1400 entrepreneurs and small business owners have attended the meetings, held every Wednesday at 9 a.m. at Stratford University Virginia Beach Campus.  Over 70 entrepreneurs have presented. 

For more information, contact Ray White, Business Development Manager, Virginia Beach Economic Development at (757) 385-6459.

Entrepreneur-in-Residence ​Program​​​​​​​

Virginia Beach Economic Development has created a partnership with 1701, Virginia Beach's first collaborative coworking space located in the ViBe Creative District. With this sponsorship, the department will create synergy with 1701 and encourage more entrepreneurial growth in the city through the launch of a new Entrepreneur-in-Residence program at 1701.​

1701, located at 1701 Baltic Avenue, is home to entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, artists and remote employees from Fortune 100 companies. Many previously worked from home, coffee shops, libraries and parking lots. 1701 is equipped to support members of its business community with office space, networking and social events, educational programs and mentoring services.

Information about the Entrepreneur-in-Residence program can be found on this​ website.​

 Financing Resources

Virginia Small B​usiness Financing Authority (VSBFA)

VSBFA “Small Business” Definition

  1. Must be operating in Virginia, and licensed/good standing with SCC, local, or other licensing authority
  2. Meet ONE of the following:  Under $10M annual revenues or under $2 million tangible net worth or have less than 250 Virginia employees (some programs also require less than 750 total employees), or be a 501c3. ​

All real estate loans are “owner occupied commercial real estate.” No investment or residential.

VSBFA Direct Loan Progra​ms
VSBFA makes a loan directly to Borrower typically either subordinate to the bank or secured by separate assets. Borrower applies directly to VSBFA which underwrites, closes, and manages the credit. ​

For all VSBFA Loans:

  • Response time once VSBFA has received all required information: 1 week if VSBFA exposure is no more than $500,000 approximately 1 month if VSBFA exposure exceeds $500,000
  • Existing companies must have history of profitable operations and satisfactory debt payment.
  • Startups must have business plans and projections.
  • VSBFA requires guarantees & pledge of all available business and personal collateral.
  • Minimum 10% cash equity expected for startups, more for existing businesses.
  • VSBFA programs cannot be used to compensate for fundamental business weakness.
  • No prepayment fees or closing costs aside from direct transaction costs. 

Loan Types

Economic Development Loan   
Maximum 40% of total project cost not to exceed $500,000
For real estate and improvements, furniture/fixtures/equipment, permanent working capital
$500 application fee, recent fixed rate 4%
Start up or existing business

Focus on acceptable job creation/retention relative to loan amount           ​                                                                                      

Maximum $10,000 -25,000
48 month repayment
$100 fee, 6.25% fixed rate
Any business purpose other than investment real estate
Must have been operational at least 2 years
Owners’ credit scores must be at least 650 each

Child Care Loan
Maximum $150,000 per location for centers, $10,000 for home based providers
60 month repayment
Borrower must be licensed and in good standing with Virginia Department of Social Services.
Funds materials, equipment, supplies,  playground, mini-buses, fencing
$100 application fee, 4% fixed rate

Bank Credit Support Programs
Bank underwrites/commits to loan subject to VSBFA involvement.​

    • ​Cash Collateral
      VSBFA pledges cash collateral to the bank to help back a business loan
      Maximum $500,000 or 40% of the loan amount, whichever is less.
      Maximum involvement—5 years for term loans, 3 years for credit lines
      Cost  $200 application fee
      Loan Guaranty-VSBFA provides an additional guaranty to the bank
      Maximum 75% of the loan amount or $750,000, whichever is less
      Maximum involvement-7 years for term loans, 5 years for credit lines
      Cost $200 application fee, 1.5% of the guaranteed amount due at closing
    • Loan Participation
      VSBFA buys a portion of a bank loan
      Maximum $500,000 or 40% of the loan amount, whichever is less.
      Maximum hold period 10 years
      $500 application fee, VSBFA receives same interest rate as Bank


    Mary Jo Sisson-Vaughan,
    Regional Lending Manager, Virginia Small Business Loan Programs
    Hampton Roads, Southern VA, Central VA Areas
    (804) 371-8184    ​​​​

​​​Small Business Lending from Virginia Community Capital (VCC)

VCC works with small business owners around the Commonwealth to find creative ways to support growth and help them meet their goals.​ They ask for tax returns, business plans when applicable, projections, etc. like a traditional bank.The difference is that VCC Bank has the flexibility to take on slightly more risk than a traditional bank might because of grants we receive from partner organizations to deploy financing out to mission aligned projects. VCC also utilizes government guarantee programs such as SBA, USDA, and VSBFA. 

 Free Business Resources

​Union Stats (unionstats.com/ ​)   

Private and public sector union membership; Estimates by state, industry and occupation.

City Data (city-data.com/)

Profiles of all cities and small towns in U.S. Gives population characteristics, median income, home values, rent, crime rates.

​American FactFinder (factfinder2.census.gov/)

Source for population, housing and economy by geographic location.

FedStats (fedstats.sites.usa.gov​​)

Provides official statistical information produced by the Federal Government

Small Business Profile (www.sba.gov/advocacy​​​)

Small business statistics by state.

​U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (www.sec.gov/edgar)

Oversees key participants in the securities world. Documents include annual and 10-k reports.

Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance (hreda.com/data-research/​)​

Provides statistics on the Hampton Roads area.

U.S. Economic Census (census.gov/econ/​​)

Industry statistics every five years for U.S., states, metro areas, counties, and cities.

Thomas Register of American Manufacturers (thomasnet.com​)

Identifies over 100,000 U.S. manufacturing & service companies by product category and by company name.

World Airports (azworld​airports.com​)

Includes personnel, traffic figures, airfield data, cargo and passenger facilities.

​​Find the Company (findthecompany.com​)

Listings for over 32 million companies. Search by company name and filter by government contracts and/or suppliers.

​​American Immigration Council (americanimmigrationcouncil.org)

Provides statistics on immigrants in each state. ​

Big Charts Market Watch (bigcharts.marketwatch.com​​)

From Dow Jones gives stock quotes from 2002-present.

Stats America (statsamerica.org)

Provides economic profiles for U.S. cities and towns. Gives demographic, labor force, poverty rate , and occupation information.

Corporate Annual Reports (annualreports.com​)​

Browse by company name, ticker symbol, stock exchange, or industry.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov​)

Contains a wide range of in the fields of labor & economics.

​​American City Business Journals (bizjournals.com)​

Free articles with a local view from 40 metropolitan areas.​

Census Bureau: None​​mployer Statistics (census.gov/econ/nonemployer)

Annual data series covers businesses without paid employees. Most are self-employed individuals operating as sole proprietorships.​

U.S. Inflation Calculator (usinflationcalculator.com/)

Provides $ monetary values and inflation rates from 1913-present.

​​​Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service (coopercenter.org/)

Statistics for the state of Virginia giving local & regional profiles consisting of demographics, industries, economy, and expenditures.

​​PopNet. Population Reference Bureau. (prb.org/)

A database of statistical tables for demographic & socioeconomic data for 227 countries. Historical data is included.​

Interna​tional Energy Agency (iea.org/statistics)

Oil, gas, coal, electricity, & renewable energy statistics.

​​Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (fdic.gov)

Banking statistics for U.S. financial institutions.​

U.S. Geological (usgs.gov/​​)​ 

U.S. Geological Survey provides information on the current use & flow of minerals and materials in the U.S. and foreign countries. Includes historical statistics as well.

 Wold Bank (databank.worldbank.org/data/home​)​​

World Bank gives statistics on economic indicators, population, health, education, wealth, poverty, political participation, and sustainable energy. Data by individual country.

​​​​​​UN Country (un.org/countryprofile​)​​

UN country profiles giving economic, demographic, social, environmental, and trade characteristics.

Data USA (datausa.io/​)​

Provides U.S. data by location, education, industry. Statistics include wage survey by race, gender, and ethnicity; poverty by age and​ gender; occupations most common by location, mo​st specialized and highest paid occupations;

most common college majors & highest number of people in majors; healthcare- clinicians to patient ratios and disease profiles.

​Statistics World (statisticsworldwide.com​)​​

This is a portal to sites with statistical data or sites with topics related to statistical data. Sites include CIA World Fact Book, UNdata (UN), Monthly Bulletin of Statistics online, UNESCO Country Profiles, Doing Business Rankings, and more.

Nation Masters (nationmaster.com​)​

Provides comparisons of 305 countries in 27 categories.


 Other Resources

​Find the Resources Your Small Business Needs to Succeed

Starting a small business can be challenging.  In order to succeed, it is vital that you utilize the considerable resources available to you in Virginia Beach and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The following resources  may be helpful to  entrepreneurs and CEOs of emerging and new businesses.  If you have additional questions about the small business development process, contact Jeff Smith, Business Development Manager, at jsmith@vbgov.com or (757) 385-6464.  ​​