Small Business/SWaM

Small but Mighty

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.​

In Virginia Beach...
99% of all establishments are small businesses (less than 249 employees) - (2020 VEC data)
7% of business establishments are new startups (2018 Census data)
On average, 432 new startup establishments are developed annually (2020 VEC data)


​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


  • Small Business Forum
  • Workshops and networking opportunities
  • Business mentoring
  • Outreach events
  • Procurement trainings
  • 1 Million Cups entrepreneurial engagement program
  • Resource identification and connections
  • Site selection assistance
  • Market information
  • Business license assistance

While starting a business is fairly easy and inexpensive, it does require major commitments of time and resources. The Virginia Beach Economic Development staff can provide management, technical, and other resources to assist entrepreneurs and leaders interested in starting or growing a business in Virginia Beach. We and our partner agencies also offer various mentoring/training programs for small and startup firms, as well as women-and minority-owned companies of any size. The City of Virginia Beach's business portal​ can help your company find the best solution for its long-term growth needs.​

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.


It's not a sales pitch, and it's not an investor pitch.

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. Over the years, 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 Coordinator, Virginia Beach Economic Development at (757) 385-6459.


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.​

The Hive - Small Business Resource Center

The Hive in Town Center is designed and developed to support an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Hampton Roads through collaboration with the City of Virginia Beach, academic institutions, other cities in Hampton Roads, Small Business Associations, and other entrepreneurial related organizations. Partnerships and collaboration are the core of the center’s approach to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the City of Virginia Beach.

The Hive's immediate purpose will serve as a business incubator to develop business competitiveness, job creation, investment opportunities, infrastructural improvements, global inclusion, workforce development, and participation within the Hampton Roads community. Read more here.

Supplier Portal: A new way to do business with the City of Virginia Beach

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

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

​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. If you have additional questions about the small business development process, contact Jeff Smith, Business Development Coordinator, at jsmith@vbgov.com or (757) 385-6453 or visit the City of Virginia Beach's Business Portal​.

Key Contacts

There are a number of free tools at your disposal that can help your company find the best solution for its long term growth needs.​

​​American City Business Journals (bizjournals.com)

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

​​American Immigration Council (​americanimmigrationcouncil.org)

Provides statistics on immigrants in each state. ​

​American FactFinder (factfinder2.census.gov/)

Source for population, housing and economy by geographic location.

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

From Dow Jones gives stock quotes from 2002-present.

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.

Corporate Annual Reports (annualreports.com​)​

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

Census Bureau: Nonemployer Statistics (census.gov/econ/nonemployer)

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

Census Bureau: Small Business (census.gov/smallbusiness)

Here you will find detailed statistics about U.S. businesses that are essential to help small businesses succeed and grow.

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.

​​Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (fdic.gov)

Banking statistics for U.S. financial institutions.​

FedStats (fedstats.sites.usa.gov​​)

Provides official statistical information produced by the Federal Government

Hampton Roads Alliance (https://hamptonroadsalliance.com)

Provides statistics on the Hampton Roads area.

International Energy Agency (iea.org/statistics)

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

Library Business Resources Center (https://www.vbgov.com/governme...​)

Nation Masters (nationmaster.com​)​

Provides comparisons of 305 countries in 27 categories.

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

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

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

Small business statistics by state

​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.


Stats America (statsamerica.org)

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

Thomas Register of American Manufacturers (thomasnet.com​)

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Union Stats (unionstats.com/ ​)

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

​​​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.

World Airports (azworld​airports.com​)

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

World 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.





The following resources may be helpful to entrepreneurs and CEOs of emerging and new businesses.

Business Development Center at ODU-Licensing/Certifications Support

The Business Development Center (BDC) at Old Dominion University (ODU) offers technical assistance and financial support for certification and licensing for qualified participants of the Virginia Workforce Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (VWIEC) program at Hampton University and ODU. Financial support is offered on a first-come, first-served basis while funding remains available.

Business Information​ Services​​

Virginia Business One Stop is an interactive portal designed to accelerate business formation and provide information for existing businesses. The online registration system will walk a potential business owner through each step needed to establish a new business. In addition, BOS helps existing businesses expand. The tool streamlines business-registration paperwork across seven agencies.

​Center for Innovative Technology(CIT)

The Center for Innovative Technology helps grow Virginia's technology industry. Its CIT Entrepreneur program provides up to $100,000 in funding for promising high-growth technology companies and helps owners identify potential equity investors.

Contac​t

Center for Innovative Technology
2214 Rock Hill Road, Suite 600
Herndon, VA 20170-4228
(703) 689-3000
www.cit.org

The following resources may be helpful to entrepreneurs and CEOs of emerging and new businesses.

​Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSBFA)

The Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSBFA) is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s business and economic development financing arm.

VSBFA “Small Business” Definition

  • Must be operating in Virginia, and licensed/good standing with SCC, local, or other licensing authority
  • 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 Programs

    VSBFA makes a loan directly to Borrower typically either subordinate to the bank or secured by separate assets. The 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 a 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 weaknesses.
    • No prepayment fees or closing costs aside from direct transaction costs.

    Loan Types

    VSBFA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT LOAN (STARTUPS AND EXISTING BUSINESSES)
    • Maximum 40% of the 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 the loan amount. For more information, contact VSBFA.

    VSBFA SWAM BUSINESS MICRO-LOAN (EXISTING BUSINESSES ONLY)
    • 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

    For more information, contact VSBFA.

    CHILD CARE LOAN (EXISTING BUSINESSES ONLY)
        • 60-month repayment
        • Maximum $150,000 per location for centers, $10,000 for home-based providersBorrower must be licensed and in good standing with the Virginia Department of Social Services.
        • Funds materials, equipment, supplies, playground, mini-buses, fencing
        • $100 application fee, 4% fixed rate

        For more information, contact VSBFA.

        Bank Credit Support Programs (Startups and Existing Businesses)

        Bank underwrites/commits to the 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
        LOAN PARTICIPATION

          Cost $200 application fee, 1.5% of the guaranteed amount due at closing

          • VSBFA buys a portion of a bank loan
          • Maximum $500,000 or 40% of the loan amount, whichever is less.
          • Maximum hold period of 10 years
          • $500 application fee, VSBFA receives the same interest rate as the bank

          For more information, visit the VSBFA website.

          Contact Information

          Karen White

          Regional Lending Manager​
          Virginia Small Business Loan Programs Hampton Roads, Southern VA, Central VA Areas
          (804) 371-8197

          ​​​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.