VIRGINIA BEACH – It’s a cold, rainy Friday afternoon in the ViBe Creative District as Lisa DeNoia stands near the receptionist desk of her ViBe Creative District business, 1701.
She points this way and that way as she ticks off some of the new enterprises in the city that can trace their roots to 1701 – a coworking space at the northeast corner of 17th Street at Baltic Avenue.
She estimates that in the last two years more than 130 “members” have come and gone through 1701, using the building for office or meeting space as they worked to build their own brand and their own clientele.
Likewise, 15 small businesses have used the space for their remote workers before moving on to establish and to lease their own space in Virginia Beach or elsewhere in Hampton Roads.
The program, sponsored by the city and hosted at 1701, will give entrepreneurs, startups, or those who work various types of freelance, a physical location and immediate connections to others who are also navigating their way into and around the world of small business.
“As we launch this Entrepreneur-in-Residence program in partnership with the city, we are aiming to stimulate even more growth and stability in the ViBe Creative District and all of Virginia Beach,” DeNoia said. “We think Virginia Beach is the perfect place to launch a business, and we want to increase the number of scalable companies who start, stay, and grow right here in our city.”
She said the program is open to anyone looking to start or to grow their business in the city. Once accepted, a Virginia Beach business license is required to participate. They’re looking for idea-stage entrepreneurs or business owners who need a little extra help and mentorship getting to the next step in their growth.
Applications are being taken on a rolling basis for acceptance into the three-month program. Entrepreneurs-in-residence will receive free coworking space, mentorship, and other services that will help them not only launch their business, but grow it as well.
Since 1701 offers an existing community of like-minded people who support each other and help each other succeed, the space makes collaboration easy and gives entrepreneurs a place to network and to focus on building their business.
DeNoia estimates that overall, 1701 has provided support and resources to more than 350 entrepreneurs in the region, through co-working, mentorship, and other various events, and that more than 65 new business licenses have been acquired by its members over the last two years.
When innovative entrepreneurs create new products and services, she said, they often stimulate related businesses, which further contributes to economic development in the local community.
“By pooling our resources with Virginia Beach Economic Development, we are looking forward to more than doubling those numbers and providing even more valuable resources for entrepreneurs in the region,” DeNoia said.