By SANDRA J. PENNECKEINSIDE BUSINESS |NOV 03, 2021 AT 8:11 AM
VIRGINIA BEACH — Just like a healthy beehive, the economic vitality of a region thrives when everyone works together.
On Sept. 22, the city of Virginia Beach opened The Hive, a collaborative workspace where entrepreneurs can connect with resources and find support to grow their endeavors. Located at 4636 Columbus St. in Town Center, The Hive is akin to a community center for small businesses and job seekers, according to Taylor Adams, Virginia Beach’s deputy city manager and director of economic development.
“It’s recognizing that small business is really the heart of every community,” Adams said.
Historically, the city’s economic development office — from a funding standpoint in particular — has almost solely focused on the attraction and expansion of established businesses, he said.
“We’ve never really proactively engaged in fostering a startup ecosystem and trying to build resources around growth and acceleration of businesses that were in their infancy in our community,” he said.
Adams said he hopes the facility will serve as an aggregator for the multitude of resources within the region, including access to capital, education, workforce training and development. The center will provide the technical assistance needed for business and job creation and business growth.
“Fostering a startup ecosystem is a lot more than providing space,” he said.
The idea for the facility stemmed from the city’s first disparity study conducted in 2018, Adams said, which suggested a closer connection between the city’s economic development office and the small, women- and minority-owned business procurement office. The 10,000-square-foot Hive includes the city’s SWAM office.
The broader suite of services they are still putting into place at the center came to light during the pandemic, he said.
“To a certain extent, we’re building a plane as we fly it,” Adams said.
To date, roughly $500,000 was spent for the lease and build-out of the space, he said. The Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council, Virginia Wesleyan University and Tidewater Community College will all have a presence at The Hive.
Sandra J. Pennecke, 757-652-5836, [email protected]