Surrounded by water on three sides, Norfolk has a long history as a strategic military and transportation point.
That bodes well for startups tied to science and technology, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution. So much so that Norfolk was named by Entrepreneur Magazine as a Top 5 City for Entrepreneurs in 2013.
The city at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay is home to the world’s largest Navy base, Naval Station Norfolk.
With a total of nine military installations in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News Metropolitan Statistical Area, the region plays a huge role in defense contracting, shipbuilding and the ship repair business. Roughly 35 percent of the region’s gross product comes from defense spending.
Norfolk is also the sixth busiest port in the country and the headquarters for Maersk Line, Limited, which manages the world’s largest fleet of U.S. flag shipping vessels.
Norfolk Business Assets
- Jefferson Lab: One of 17 U.S. Department of Energy research centers for scientists and college students to study nuclear matter and its industrial applications.
- Virginia Velocity Tour: $125,000 in equity-free grants for early stage startups in biotechnology, health, energy, agriculture and security.
- Old Dominion University‘s Center for Enterprise Innovation: Provides development services, including a program that helps government and defense contractors expand into commercial markets, a procurement center to help businesses bid on government contracts, and engineering support for performance and organizational management.
- Norfolk Southern Corporation
- Dollar Tree (Chesapeake)
- BAE Systems Electronic Systems
Business Information Links
- Norfolk First: norfolkdevelopment.com
- Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance: hreda.com
- The Port of Virginia Economic Development: portofvirginia.com
- 757 Creative Space: sharedesk.net
- Percolator: percolatorspace.com
Startup Incubators and Accelerators
- Hatch: startwithhatch.com
- Hampton Roads Small Business Web Portal: hrsbdc.org
- Innovate! Hampton Roads: innovatehamptonroads.com
Major Norfolk Attractions
- Chrysler Museum of Art: One of the country’s best art museums, it offers free admission, too.
- Nauticus: A waterfront maritime center that includes the Hampton Roads Naval Museum with its 220 years of naval history and the USS Wisconsin, which served in the Pacific Theater of World War II.
- Norfolk Botanical Garden: The 175-acre garden has an arboretum, butterfly garden, Japanese garden and one of the country’s largest collections of azaleas, camellias, roses and rhododendrons.
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This post is by Caren Burmeister. Caren is a retired newspaper reporter turned freelance writer who enjoys yoga and caring for her two fat cats.