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Norfolk Innovation Corridor

A Thriving Technology Zone Supporting Resilience Products, Services and Technologies

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About NIC

The Norfolk Innovation Corridor (NIC) is an area paralleling the Elizabeth River Trail that stretches from Norfolk State University to Old Dominion University, including the Eastern Virginia Medical School/Sentara/Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, Fort Norfolk, Downtown Norfolk, the Neon Arts District and the Harbor Park area. Under state law, it is designated as a “technology zone”, enabling qualifying startup firms and firm expansions to receive certain tax incentives, in addition to enjoying the other advantages of setting up business where physical, networking and economic assets are so densely clustered. The NIC serves to attract and retain technology companies while serving as a magnet for a talented and diverse workforce.

Based on the considerable assets clustered in the NIC, our competitive advantage and business opportunity intersect within the suite of offerings referred to as “resilience products, services and technologies, i.e., products, services and technologies combatting sea level rise, cybersecurity breaches, supply chain disruptions, population health threats, behavioral health crises, civil disturbance and terrorism, and other menaces to the peak performance of people, organizations and communities. The significant maritime assets located along the edge of the Corridor also contribute to our opportunities in the resilience sector.

Purpose:

  • To encourage growth in entrepreneurship and innovation
  • To attract new technology startups
  • To retain a talented workforce
  • To develop a dense community of entrepreneurs and innovators
  • To provide 21st century career opportunities for the residents of Norfolk and our region

Why Norfolk?

We think Norfolk is the greatest and most resilient waterfront city in the world. Learn why!

Multi-billion Dollar R&D Hub

  • Center for Cybersecurity Education & Research
  • Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics
  • Virginia Institute for Spaceflight and Autonomy
  • Institute for Coastal Adaptation & Resilience
  • Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Applied Research Center
  • OpenSeas Technology Innovation Hub
  • Hampton Roads Maritime Industrial Base Ecosystem
  • Virginia Modeling, Analysis & Simulation Center
  • Center of Excellence in Cyber Security

Norfolk’s Talent

  • More than 55,000 students attend Norfolk’s colleges and universities
  • Norfolk is one of the most inclusive and diverse cities in Virginia
  • Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, 757 Angels, innovation centers sponsored by businesses, universities and hospitals

Attractions

Norfolk and the surrounding area abounds in places to go, see and experience. With a wonderful climate year round, one can enjoy so much in our community such as Virginia Zoo, Norfolk Botanical Gardens, restaurants (indoor and outdoor dining), trails and nearby beaches.

Benefits of the NIC

CURRENT TAX INCENTIVES

The NIC, in partnership with the Norfolk Economic Development Department, currently offers the following incentives to qualifying technology companies:

  • Abatement of the Business, Professional, and Occupational License (BPOL) taxes (100% for 2 years; 50% for 3 years)

PROPOSED NEW INCENTIVES (under consideration)

  • Exempt technology equipment from business property tax
  • Support for patents and commercialization
  • Subsidized access to high-speed broadband

LOCATION ADVANTAGES

Entrepreneurs and innovators are coming and will come to the Norfolk Innovation Corridor to get what they need (a good deal of which is already here and some of which we are going to make happen):

  • An enhanced ability to recruit and retain talented, skilled workers from diverse backgrounds who want to live, work and play in a Corridor marked by a vibrant nautical, recreational, cultural and arts scene right outside their door
  • Access to advanced technologies, research and innovation occurring on our anchor academic and health care campuses
  • Help from mentors, researchers and professional advisors based Downtown and on the campuses of our anchor institutions
  • Due to enhanced connectivity and visibility in the Corridor, a better opportunity to raise capital and gain access to grants (which should get bigger and more numerous as our anchor institutions regularly collaborate in the mutual development of the Corridor)
  • A “collision economy,” where cross-fertilization of ideas with nearby entrepreneurial peers happens
  • Proximity to influencers for the promotion and marketing of their resilience products, services and technologies
  • Ultra-high-speed internet service at a competitive price (pending)
  • Incentives and other practical support from an appreciative City government
  • A workforce stimulated by a steady stream of Corridor programming aimed at supplying them with state-of-the-art business information while enveloping them in a buzzing community of innovative friends and colleagues
  • Use of shared labs and other facilities that might otherwise be unavailable to them (pending)
  • A first look at the pipeline of future talent to be generated by coding academies; a cyber defense virtual camp; undergraduate and graduate programs; computer science, computer engineering, and software engineering graduate programs (offerered in-person and/or online) by our participating anchor colleges and universities
  • An opportunity to be a more valued and involved member of the Norfolk community than they could ever hope to be in New York, Boston, Northern Virginia or Silicon Valley

Qualifying Technology Businesses Eligible for Tax Incentives

  • Cybersecurity, personal security and property security
  • Sea-level rise and recurrent flooding
  • Medical devices, medical diagnostics, pharma, biotech, biochemical
  • engineering and other life sciences and health care technologies
  • Advanced materials and advanced manufacturing
  • Computer hardware and software
  • Electronics and instrumentation
  • Financial technology
  • Aerospace engineering, systems and products/parts manufacturing
  • Photonics and sensors
  • Internet and e-commerce
  • Educational and training technologies in modeling/simulation
  • Bio-informatics and data analytics
  • Logistics and maritime commerce
  • IT, telecommunications, wireless technology
  • Green technologies, renewable energy research and development and energy conservation
  • Advanced transportation technologies
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Current Innovations

Just to whet your appetite, here are examples of how some young Norfolk firms and nonprofit organizations are already rising to the COVID-19 challenge and other societal problems that call out for resilience solutions:

REALTA LIFE SCIENCES

ReAlta Life Sciences has recently closed on a $26 million Series A2 equity financing, enabling this Norfolk-based bio-tech firm spawned by physicians and researchers affiliated with Corridor anchors EVMS and CHKD, to advance a new class of its proprietary therapeutic platform, which initially was earmarked for the treatment of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a severe birth complication affecting newborns suffering from oxygen deprivation to the brain. However, with FDA approval, ReAlta is also exploring the therapeutic efficacy of its bio-tech therapies for other inflammatory disorders, including the acute lung injury that results from a destructive response by the immune system, such as the “cytokine storm” associated with a COVID-19 infection.

NORTHFIELD MANUFACTURING

Northfield Manufacturing has ramped up its capabilities to supply critical personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare institutions locally and beyond. Recently, Northfield was awarded a $27 million contract by the Commonwealth of Virginia to supply PPE to healthcare facilities in Virginia combatting the COVID-19 crisis. As reported by GNC member and Northfield co-owner Carter Smith, he and his colleagues are working around the clock on behalf of the Commonwealth, along with supplying orders from Sentara, UVA Medical and dozens of smaller customers to procure PPE. The challenges these assignments present are not for amateurs: i.e., securing manufacturing orders at a fair price within a reasonable lead time, verifying product quality/certifications, gaining passage through the Chinese export office, air freight shipping direct to U.S. airports, obtaining U.S. Customs approval, arranging truck transit straight from Chicago to Norfolk, and then customer delivery 24 hours later. The supply-chain expertise of Northfield is valuable in commercial resilience applications as well.

EMBODY

Embody, from its laboratory facility on Monarch Way, is pioneering a regenerative collagen-based tissue scaffolding for the repair of tendon and ligament injuries such as tears and ruptures of the Achilles tendon, ACL knee-joint ligament and rotator cuff muscle/tendon, whether suffered by our nation’s warriors, accomplished athletes or weekend wannabees who need a resilience solution to their ailment. Founded in 2014, Embody has attracted financing from 757 Angels, national private equity firms and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

SVT ROBOTICS

SVT Robotics has offered to apply its software robotics technology (currently used primarily by third-party logistics providers and other industrial facilities) to also perform tasks in hospitals and other healthcare settings that are predictable, repetitive and otherwise well-suited for performance by a robot rather than a human, thereby protecting our invaluable human assets in the healthcare workforce by reducing their interactions with patients and colleagues that put them at risk of infection. This not only frees up critical time and capacity to administer care that only humans can deliver, it also conserves scarce PPE. The possibilities created by SVT’s robotics technology in protecting our courageous healthcare talent is an example of how resilience technology being developed right here in Norfolk could be exported nationally and internationally to help communities respond to menaces such as infectious disease. Meanwhile, SVT’s technology will continue to serve a growing need in maintaining the resilience of our industrial supply chain.

RESILIENT ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS

Resilient Enterprise Solutions has announced its first Home Raising Academy to educate local contractors and allied trades on the methods and skills required to elevate coastal structures as a precaution against sea level rise. With offices in Pittsburgh and Norfolk, RES has received significant support from the Corridor-based RISE accelerator headed by Paul Robinson. RES has developed particular expertise in home elevation and flood proofing, which are resilience products, services and technologies that will require a skilled workforce to implement (a core area of expertise for our region to excel in).

3DXTREMES

3DXtremes is an “end-to-end” product design, prototyping and manufacturing services firm in downtown Norfolk that helps innovators produce and launch their new product ideas. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, 3DXtremes is working to enhance our resilience by developing a prototype re‑usable protective face mask, utilizing filters made from readily available materials such as silicone that can be manufactured at scale using 3D printing, both in-house and outsourced. With 40 3D printers of its own in its 2000-square foot space located in Percolator’s co-working facility on Granby Street, 3DXtremes aims to produce 50-60 of these easily disinfected and reusable masks daily.

RISE

RISE, a non-profit with a mission to accelerate innovation and business growth by identifying and scaling solutions to coastal communities’ resilience challenges, has recently announced five winners of the 2020 RISE Coastal Community Resilience Challenges. The winners are small businesses that will each receive up to $250,000 to advance and demonstrate cutting-edge solutions to make coastal communities more resilient. RISE plans to work with these five companies to pilot their approaches in a “living laboratory” environment across the Hampton Roads region, with the goal of building economically scalable businesses. This cohort of five winners joins six winners from prior-year challenges (including RES). In addition to funding, these 11 companies benefit from the substantial resources offered by the RISE Resilience Innovation Hub and Testbed.

ELIZABETH RIVER PROJECT

The Elizabeth River Project has announced its plan to construct a $4.5 million headquarters facility and waterfront learning park as “a monument to resilience” and a “prototypical coastal structure” located on flood-prone Knitting Mill Creek, directly across Colley Avenue from the new Norfolk Innovation Corridor home for ODU’s Institute for Coastal Adaptation & Resilience (ICAR). While furthering its mission to restore the Elizabeth River to health, ERP also aims to demonstrate what is practical and achievable for those who might consider building in the floodplain or re-engineering their current structures at risk due to rising tides. ERP and ICAR hope to launch an “eco-corridor” along the northern stretch of Colley Avenue, helping to frame our Innovation Corridor.

1ODU
2Railyard District
3Railroad District
4Chelsea
5Medical Center & Fort Norfolk
6Downtown & Neon
7Harbor Park & NSU
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  1. ODU
  2. Railyard District
  3. Railroad District
  4. Chelsea
  5. Medical Center & Fort Norfolk
  6. Downtown & Neon
  7. Harbor Park & NSU
Old Dominion University
  • Chartway Arena
  • S.B. Ballard Stadium
  • Goode Theatre
  • Pretlow Planetarium
  • Barry Art Museum
  • Innovation Research Park
  • Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics
  • Center for Cybersecurity Education & Research
  • Embody
  • Virginia Institute for Spaceflight and Autonomy
  • Institute for Coastal Adaptation & Resilience
  • Applied Research Center
  • OpenSeas Technology Innovation Hub
  • Hampton Roads Maritime Industrial Base Ecosystem
  • Virginia Modeling, Analysis & Simulation Center
Railyard District
  • Jeff Roberston Park
  • The Railyard at Lambert’s Point
  • Weyanoke Bird Sanctuary
  • iPConfigure Inc.
  • The Colony at Lambert’s Point
Railroad District
  • Craft Breweries
  • The Monument Companies Residential Developments
  • 757 Makerspace
  • SVT Robotics
Chelsea
  • Little Theatre of Norfolk
  • Craft Breweries
Medical Center & Fort Norfolk
  • Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS)
  • Sentara Norfolk General Hospital
  • Sentara Heart Hospital
  • Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD)
  • CHKD Mental Health Hospital
  • EVMS Strelitz Diabetes Center
  • EVMS-Sentara Healthcare Analytics & Delivery Science Institute
  • Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine
  • American Red Cross
  • Norfolk Public Health Center
  • Sentara Center for Simulation & Immersive Learning at EVMS
  • Plum Point Park
  • Old Fort Norfolk
  • Light Rail Station
Downtown & Neon
  • Chrysler Museum of Art
  • Chrysler Glass Studio
  • Harrison Opera House
  • TCC Perry Center for Visual & Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management
  • Former Virginian-Pilot Building
  • Amplified IT
  • Maxx Potential
  • Cementiscope
  • The Plot
  • Push Comedy Theater
  • Hurrah Players – Hugh Copeland Center
  • Glass Wheel Arts Center
  • Assembly
  • 757 Startup Studios
  • GROW
  • Ario
  • Sway
  • TechArk Solutions
  • xTuple
  • Gather
  • Novel
  • Percolator Coworking Communities
  • Slover Library
  • The Main
  • Glass Light Hotels
  • Tidewater Community College
  • NSU Innovation Center
  • ODU Innovation Center
  • ODU Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • ODU Open Seas Technology Innovation Hub
  • Town Point Park and Festevents
  • Wells Theatre, Roper Performing Arts Center & The NorVa Entertainment Venue
  • Nauticus, The Battleship Wisconsin & Half Moone Cruise Center
  • The Pagoda and Oriental Garden & MacArthur Square Outdoor Pavilion
  • Norfolk-Portsmouth Ferry
  • 4 Light Rail Stations
  • Virginia Arts Festival Headquarters
  • Governor’s School for the Arts
  • ADP
  • RISE Resilience Innovations
  • VIA Design
  • 3,573 Residential Units
Harbor Park & NSU
  • Norfolk State University
  • NSU Center for Materials & Research
  • Harbor Park
  • Amtrak
  • Light Rail Station
  • Pump Track Trailhead on ERT
  • H.B. Hunter Building

News

Norfolk Innovation Corridor Launches New Technology Zone to Attract Start-up Companies, Skilled Talent & Catalyze Growth
November 19, 2020

The coastal city of Norfolk, Virginia, known globally for its expertise in resilience and strong entrepreneurship ecosystem, is emerging as a tech hub for companies supporting products, technologies and services in the resilience sector.

Today, Daniel Peterson announced the launch of the Norfolk Innovation Corridor (NIC), an area paralleling the Elizabeth River Trail designated as a “technology zone” to attract and retain qualifying start-ups and firm expansions through tax incentives. With more than 55,000 college students graduating from Norfolk colleges and universities every year and access to R&D from anchor academic and health institutions, the zone also serves as a magnet for a high-tech, talented and diverse workforce.

“Civic and business leaders in Norfolk are prepared to do our part in reviving our region’s economy and making it work for everyone,” said Charles V. McPhillips, past president of Greater Norfolk Corporation.

The new Norfolk Innovation Corridor will support tech companies specializing in combatting sea level rise and recurrent flooding, green technologies, cybersecurity, supply chain and maritime logistics, population health threats, behavioral health crisis, bioinformatics, advanced transportation technologies and more.

“Anchor academic, research and health institutions clustered close to tech start-ups give Norfolk a strong competitive edge, as entrepreneurs and researchers collaborate to advance the region’s leadership in innovation and economic development,” said Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander.

One of the first start-ups that established itself along the corridor, 3DXtremes, combines 3D printing with augmented reality to help inventors and organizations turn their napkin-sketch concepts into real products ready for market. The company was founded by Old Dominion University graduate and tech entrepreneur Blade Taylor.

ReAlta Life Sciences, created by physicians and researchers affiliated with corridor anchors EVMS and CHKD, recently closed on a $26 million series A2 equity financing. The firm advances bio-tech therapies for the treatment of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a severe birth complication affecting newborns suffering from oxygen deprivation to the brain. It is also exploring treatments for other inflammatory disorders, such as the “cytokine storm” associated with COVID-19.

According to Peterson, who is chairman of the NIC, these vital collaborations deepen the pools of talent, technology spin-offs and supply chain support that can fuel our version of the innovation districts that have catalyzed economic growth in metropolitan areas ranging from Austin, to Chattanooga, to Philadelphia, to Boston and beyond.

“In the midst of one of the worst global pandemics in history, the launch of the Norfolk Innovation Corridor is a strong example of the resilience shown by anchor institutions and other economic, physical and networking assets concentrated in the Corridor, which today open doors to new opportunities,” he said.

Download Press Release PDF

Contact Us

Have a question about the Norfolk Innovation Corridor? Want to start or grow your business in Norfolk? Get in touch with us today.

Norfolk Innovation Corridor

P.O. Box 3224
Norfolk, Virginia 23514

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