From INSIDE BUSINESS By TREVOR METCALFE
A new program funded in part by a $200,000 GO Virginia grant is giving Hampton Roads entrepreneurs the chance for months of free rent at area coworking spaces.
The Startup Stability Program — a collaborative effort between Bloom Coworking, Percolator and several business groups — will help participants kick-start their business ventures with a 12-week accelerator program and expert mentoring opportunities.
Any business can apply, but organizers are especially encouraging minority, women and veteran entrepreneurs to take advantage of the program, said Kindra Greene, Bloom Coworking community manager.
“Our main goal is to break down those boundaries for getting a business off the ground,” Greene said. “That’s the impetus behind it.”
Each participant will receive three free months of rent at Bloom in Portsmouth or Percolator in Norfolk. After three months, the coworking spaces will provide progressive rental assistance as the businesses grow, Greene said. Also, entrepreneurs will get to participate in the 12-week-long B-Force Accelerator program, which is organized by Black BRAND, the Hampton Roads Black chamber of commerce. Finally, participants will be able to access workshops and coaching opportunities from industry experts.
Entrepreneurs at any stage of the process, even the idea stage, are allowed to apply for the program, Greene said. However, their annual personal income must be under $75,000. Additionally, their business concept must be in one of nine categories identified as part of the GO Virginia grant process, including:
- Business services
- Tourism and recreation
- Ship repair and shipbuilding
- Water technologies
- Port operations, logistics and warehousing
- Life sciences
- Unmanned systems and aerospace
- Cybersecurity, data analytics, modeling and simulation.
To apply, visit bloomcoworking.org. The final deadline to apply is May 30, and the program will begin June 1.
The program is a partnership between Bloom, Percolator, Black BRAND, the Norfolk State University Innovation Center and Portsmouth Partnership — a volunteer group that promotes economic development in that city.
Trevor Metcalfe, 757-222-5345, firstname.lastname@example.org