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.
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 a 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.