Resource FAQs

Virginia Beach Economic Development assists the business community by providing management, technical, and other resources. Through our department and our allies, various programs are available for small and startup firms, as well as for women and minority-owned companies of any size.

Some of the services include:

    • Advocacy Services.
    • Business Assistance​/Retention.
    • Business Workshops and Other Networking Opportunities.
    • Fast-Track Project Review​.
    • Financial Guidance.
    • Market Information​.
    • Ribbon-​Cutting Assistance (if appropriate)​.
    • Research Assistance.
    • Site Selection.
    • Small Business Assistance.
    • Workforce Development Services.

The services are free of charge, and the business inquiries remain strictly confidential.

Starting a business is fairly easy and inexpensive, but requires a major commitment of time and resources. If you are an entrepreneur beginning a new business “from scratch” there are many issues to address, including completing a business plan, creating a budget, identifying financing opportunities, conducting market research, and protecting yourself and the company legally. The Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads offers numerous resources to help get your business started.

If yours is an existing business and you’re considering opening a new facility in Virginia Beach, you need to ensure you obtain the proper business license.

Together, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Virginia Beach have one of the fairest tax structures in the United States:

  • Only one local taxing authority (in Virginia, businesses and residents reside in and pay taxes to either a county or a city, not both).
  • State corporate income tax rate of 6% has not changed since 1972.
  • Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation Insurance rates are among the lowest in the US.
  • Local business taxes are limited and include real property tax, business property, and business license fees (gross receipts tax).
  • Sales & Use tax is assessed at the state level only, and manufacturers are exempt from paying tax on purchases used for production; distributors do not pay tax on items purchased for resale.

Additionally, Virginia traditionally has one of the lowest industrial electricity rates on the East Coast as well as low natural gas costs.

​Yes. Home-based businesses require a business license and must provide proof of residency and complete the Restrictions for Home Use form. Some home businesses require a conditional use permit (CUP). Contact the Zoning Office at (757) 385-8074 to find out if a CUP is required. If one is required, it can be obtained through the Planning Department at (757) 385-4621.

​Virginia Beach and its surrounding MSA provide businesses access to a highly-skilled, dynamic workforce that is augmented each year by an average of 14,000 local exiting military members, and 15,000 graduating college students.

There are a variety of options available to companies for establishing their workforce, including the Virginia Talent Accelerator program, Virginia Employment Commission, Hampton Roads Workforce Council, and numerous staffing firms. We will help you determine which resources are best for your needs. Also, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance​​ will assist you with all of your recruitment needs as well as with all aspects of recruiting, training, and ongoing workforce development.

Virginia Beach has nine major business districts, each with a distinct character and industry base, as well as 10 business parks. Some districts are heavily populated, making them ideal for corporate and retail clusters. Others are located where major transportation corridors converge, providing an ideal location for industrial development.

Yes. Virginia Beach has created special service districts (SSD) that include higher real estate tax rates in order to help pay for specific projects and/or programs:

Special Service District (SSD) Tax Rates per $100.00 of assessed value

Sandbridge SSD$1.03
Central Business District South SSD$1.44
Old Donation Creek SSD$1.174
Bayville Creek SSD$1.462
Shadowlawn SSD$1.1494
Chesopeian Colony SSD$1.2813
Harbour Point SSD$1.11
Gills Cove SSD$1.053
Hurds Cove SSD$1.428
Schilling Point SSD$1.394

Source: City of Virginia Beach

​Numerous forms of assistance for new and existing Virginia Beach businesses, depending on their individual needs. For start-ups and small business entrepreneurs, the City has an active Small, Woman- and Minority-Owned Business program that works closely with the US Small Business Administration (SBA), the Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprise, the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), and many local financial and legal resources to provide targeted assistance.

Additionally, the Virginia Beach Development Authority administers its Economic Development Investment Program​ (EDIP), which provides local grants to qualifying businesses that are locating to or expanding in the City of Virginia Beach; this discretionary grant was created to support economic development projects creating new jobs and capital investment in the City.

Businesses locating in an APZ-1 have access to a discretionary EDIP grant program, in addition to several entitled incentives.

The City has also created a business license fee incentive for new companies locating in Virginia Beach with gross receipts exceeding $200,000, it is capped at a $50 per year for each of the first two years a company operates in Virginia Beach (manufacturers are exempt from paying any business license fee).

Certain projects may also be eligible for assistance from the Commonwealth of Virginia​.​

The Virginia Beach Development Authority also has the ability to induce the issuance of industrial revenue bonds to provide financial assistance to private sector entities for the acquisition and construction of industrial and commercial facilities. Since these bonds are tax-exempt, the interest rates offered are significantly lower than traditional forms of financing.

One of every three new companies opening in the entire Virginia Beach MSA is located in the City of Virginia Beach, and for good reason. Companies and entrepreneurs in Virginia Beach have access to a wide variety of programs designed to expand investment and job creation opportunities, starting with the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development, which has a business development manager specifically responsible for assisting small businesses.

Additional free counseling resources include:

  • Service Corps of Retired Executives.
  • SCORE Veteran Fast Launch.
  • Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads.
  • Hampton Roads Workforce Council.
  • Virginia Employment Commission.
  • Virginia Department of Business Assistance.
  • Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprise.
  • University Programs (Old Dominion University Business Gateway, Regent University Center for Entrepreneurship, Norfolk State University RISE Center, Hampton University Center for Entrepreneurial Study, College of William & Mary Technology & Business Center, Tidewater Community College).
  • Entrepreneurs’ Organization Southeast Virginia.

​Visit this page or contact us if you need assistance with research-related information, demographics, business statistics, or market research.

​​In order to increase the department's effectiveness in terms of marketing, business attraction, and existing industry programs, resources are focused on several key business industries: advanced manufacturing, office/retail, defense, biomedical, IT/cyber, maritime/logistics, offshore wind, and small business.

  • The Commonwealth of Virginia Green Job Creation Tax Credit awards an annual tax credit of $500 for each salary that is $50,000 or more for up to 350 “green jobs”. The credit is allowed in the first taxable year after the job has been filled for at least one year and in each of the four succeeding years. Green jobs are related to the field of renewable, alternative energy.
  • The Commonwealth also has a Recycling Equipment Tax Credit incentive available to manufacturers for the purchase of certified machinery and equipment used for processing recyclable materials in taxable years before January 1, 2015, equal to 10% of the total original capitalized cost of the equipment.
  • The Virginia Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund provides discretionary strategic grants to businesses adding value to Virginia-grown agricultural and forestall products.
  • The Virginia Clean Energy Manufacturing Incentive Grant program offers discretionary grants to eligible companies engaged in the manufacture of equipment, systems or products used to produce clean energy, or for products used for energy conservation, storage, or grid efficiency purposes.
  • The City of Virginia Beach has established a real estate tax rate for certified energy-efficient buildings of $0.84 per $100 of assessed value, which is $0.15 lower than the City’s normal real estate tax rate.

​Foreign Trade Zones are areas that are geographically inside the U.S. but are legally considered outside its customs territory. Companies that locate in FTZs can benefit by using special procedures to encourage U.S. activity by reducing, eliminating, or delaying duties.