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Virginia Workforce Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center

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Two images with Business Development logo in the middle. Image on the left is five panelist seated at a table taking questions. The image on the right is an audience watching a presentation.


The Business Development Center at ODU is funded in part by the Virginia Workforce Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (VWIEC). The VWIEC will facilitate opportunities for Virginia's current and aspiring entrepreneurs to help grow our recovering economy. Qualified individuals and businesses receiving services through the center may be additionally eligible to receive financial support to offset license, certification, and other costs.


The Virginia Workforce Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (VWIEC) was established in October 2020 through the Department of Education Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant. VWIEC operates on the behalf of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development. We are an Hampton University entity and, therefore, a 501 (3) non-profit institute of higher education.

The mission of VWIEC is to expand the capability and capacity of Virginia's current and aspiring entrepreneurs to aid with economic recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Along with a host of other partners, including Old Dominion University (ODU), another minority-serving public research university in Norfolk, VA, the new center will serve as a statewide nexus of support by synthesizing the resources of two- and four-year institutions of higher education, experts in the public and private business sectors, and workforce agencies. VWIEC will fulfill a critical niche in the small business development arena. Although headquartered in Hampton, VA, we will serve clientele from across the state that have been dismissed, displaced, or replaced due to COVID19. We will serve all while focusing on recruiting those who are unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but want to start a business; those seeking to transition to a new business because COVID-19 has made their current venture inviable; and those seeking to expand or strengthen their existing business.

We strive to serve a minimum of 3,000 participants and provide all services free of charge. Services include mentorship, education, networking, pitch competitions and assistance with financing strategies. We will support the participants by removing barriers that restrict them including childcare, transportation, certification costs and business licensure fees.


Register for Business Assistance



Certification/Licensing Support

The ODU Business Development Center (BDC) offers technical and financial support for certification and licensing for qualified participants. * The BDC can support a total of $1750 per business for licensing and certification fees. These include, but are not limited to, the following programs.

The BDC at ODU is funded in part by the VWIEC. The VWIEC will facilitate opportunities for Virginia's current and aspiring entrepreneurs to help grow our recovering economy.

Qualified individuals and businesses must be registered for services with the BDC to be eligible to receive financial support to offset license, certification, and other costs.

Requirements for participants and VWIEC individuals to qualify:

(1) completed a formal entrepreneurship training program offered by VWIEC at Hampton University and receive a referral from Hampton University to the Business Development Center at ODU; or

(2) completed a formal entrepreneurship training program offered by the ODU Business Development Center, the ODU Women's Business Center, or the ODU Veterans Business Outreach Center; or

(3) be an owner/officer of an existing business and have completed a minimum of two counseling or technical assistance sessions with the ODU Business Development Center.

The Business Development Center Support for Certifications/Licensing:

A total of up to $750 per business may be provided to reimburse business certification and license fees such as Women's Business Enterprise Certification (WBE), Minority Business Enterprise Certification (MBE), State Corporation Commission fees, or municipal business license fees. In addition, a total of up to $1,000 per business may be provided to reimburse professional essential license and certification fees for businesses that have participated in any of (1) - (3) above, and for which the certification is a core component of the business plan that has been informed or developed through VWIEC supported counseling or training.

Certifications and Licensing:

Commonwealth of Virginia Small, Women-owned and Minority-owned Business (SWaM) is a state certification program. The purpose is to enhance procurement opportunities for SWaM businesses participating in state-funded projects.

Women's Business Enterprise Certification (WBE) - The WBE certification is beneficial to businesses looking to work with large corporations and government agencies. This can provide a network of decision makers in supplier diversity and procurement offices across the country. Many corporations require that you be WBE-certified before providing access to their supplier diversity programs. (Up to $750 value). The WBEC also provides a monthly class in How to Get Certified and the BDC can review all documentation before you register.

Minority Business Enterprise Certification (MBE) - The MBE certification is beneficial to businesses looking to work with large corporations and government agencies. The MBE will connect your business to a network of decision makers in supplier diversity and procurement offices across the country. Many corporations require that you be MBE-certified before providing access to their supplier diversity programs. (Up to $750 value)

State Corporation Commission (SCC) and City Business Licensing (typical $100 value)

The BDC can support other business certifications up to $750 and professional licenses/ certifications up to $1000. (Contact BDC for details)

Other Specialized Training:

Business Planning Research - offering access to premier resources and an overview of major business information sources [this session includes a personalized Industry Report (valued at $950)]

Developing A Business Plan - this program offers access to the premier Live Plan software to guide you through the step-by-step plan.

Popular Professional Licenses include:

Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification The Project Management Professional (PMP)® is the world's leading project management certification. Now including predictive, agile and hybrid approaches, the PMP® proves project leadership experience and expertise in any way of working. It supercharges careers for project leaders across industries. https://www.pmi.org/certifications/project-management-pmp

Risk Management (PMI-RMP) Certification The PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® highlights your ability to identify and assess project risks, mitigate threats and capitalize on opportunities. In this capacity, you enhance and protect the needs of your organization.

Cybersecurity for Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) Covered defense information" means unclassified controlled technical information or other information, as described in the Controlled Unclassified Information Registry at https://www.archives.gov/cui/registry/category-list.html, that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls pursuant to and consistent with law, regulations, and Government wide policies. In addition to the BDC support, companies can apply for 80% of certification fees through the GENEDGE Virginia Defend CUI Program grant (DEFENDCUI-VA) https://genedge.org/about-us/programs/virginias-defend-classified-uncontrolled-information-cui-program-defendcui-va Contact BDC for more information.

Virginia License for General Contracting, Electricians and Plumbers Virginia Department of Professional & Occupational Regulation (DPOR) Requirements https://generalcontractorlicenseguide.com/virginia-contractors-license Contact BDC for more information.

Contact the BDC at 757-683-4159 to discuss the specific needs for your business


REGISTER FOR BUSINESS ASSISTANCE

For More Information:

Business Development Center at Old Dominion University
Monique McWhite - Director
mmcwhite@odu.edu
757-683-4159

Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC)
Cherylynn Sagester - Program Director
csageste@odu.edu
757-683-4793

Women's Business Center (WBC)
Erika Small-Sisco - Program Director
esmallsi@odu.edu
757-683-5517