Launch Hampton Roads is Opportunity Inc.’s grant to provide entrepreneurship training under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovation Fund as part of a three region Virginia consortium that includes organizations in Northern Virginia and Richmond. In Hampton Roads, the program will provide 250 adult and dislocated workers eligible for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) services with comprehensive entrepreneurship training and technical assistance through our program partner Old Dominion University. All clients will receive customized training in a core curriculum that includes: business planning; accounting; finance and credit; and sales and marketing. The educational component will be further enriched with services that include entrepreneurship mentoring; networking and special events; and specialized training in areas like federal contracting.
Eligibility and Enrollment
Basic Eligibility Guidelines:
YOU MUST BE:
• At least 18 years old
• U.S. Citizen or eligible to work in the U.S.
• Registered for Selective Service (Males born on or after January 1, 1960)
• Be in need of more intensive services based on initial assessment
AND fall into one of the following three categories:
– Employed with Family Income below the Self-Sufficiency Guideline
– Dislocated Worker – unemployed worker who left previous employment through no fault of their ownAND EITHER:
• Qualifies for Unemployment Insurance (UI) and is unlikely to return to previous occupation, OR
• Worked at a facility that permanently closed or had a substantial lay-off, OR
• Is a Displaced Homemaker, OR
• Was self-employed and became unemployed as a result of economic conditions in the community
OppInc is responsible for determining client eligibility and enrollment into the program. Detailed eligibility guidelines can be found in the WIA Dislocated Worker and Adult Eligibility Criteria documentation.
Training and Enrichment Services will be provided by the Old Dominion University Business Gateway. Program services include:
Core Training – All clients will complete a core training program that includes the following courses and concludes with creating a business plan.
Simple Steps for Starting a Business – Helps clients through the basic step-by-step process of how to start a business and provides them with the tools and templates to turn their business idea into reality. Areas of focus include: Creating a Business Concept Outline; How to Write an Effective Business Plan; Creating a Successful Marketing and Sales Strategy, including Website Design and Market Research; and Financial Projections and Funding Sources, including Business Loans.
Business Planning – This is in-depth training provided through a combination of classroom training and individual consultation to create an operational Business Plan, including selecting a legal structure, tax obligations, cash flow planning, and operational planning.
Accounting – Training covers basic accounting and finance principles for responsible money management, including record keeping, tax issues, financial statement analysis, cash budgeting, investments and financial management tools such as QuickBooks.
Finance and Credit – Training covers financing options available to entrepreneurs and helps them to understand how a positive credit score and building credit can impact financing necessary to start a business.
Sales and Marketing – Through a combination of classroom training and monthly group workshops, participants learn to creatively sell their goods or services, effectively market their business, and develop a marketing plan. Interactive group workshops will help participants to master their marketing message and create a brief elevator speech that can be tested on one another that captures the essence of what their business does.
Website Development/Social Media – Through a combination of classroom training and individualized consultation, participants will learn how to build a website, understand how to communicate effectively through it, and how to create and market through social media. All successful participants will have a published website for their business upon completion.
Entrepreneurship Mentoring Program – Clients will be matched with a successful small business owner who will serve as a mentor and business advisor. Mentors will also facilitate peer support group activities.
Specialized Training – Training Providers will conduct or facilitate access to specialized training for clients who need specific instruction not provided in the core program (above). Specialized training may be provided through individual instruction, classes or special workshops and cover topics such as federal procurement, government contracts or subcontracting, exporting and specialized trade businesses. Lastly, participants will meet regularly with program staff to assist them with any individual issues and provide one-on-one technical assistance.
Networking/Special Events – The program will host special events to help clients effectively network and provide tips and techniques that can be used in other business settings. Monthly peer networking and support groups will provide an opportunity for program participants to utilize their networking skills, interact with one another and discuss any difficulties or challenges. Outside speakers will provide guidance and talk about their own experiences starting a business. Clients will also be connected to other events and workshops in the community such as those held by Chambers of Commerce and other business organizations.
If you are interested in learning more, send us a message and we will add you to our contact list. Please include your full name, telephone number and email address.
(Please include your phone number, as well as telling us how you heard about the program)
The Virginia Employment Through Entrepreneurship Consortium is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovations Fund to support collaborative entrepreneurial efforts in Northern Virginia, Richmond and Norfolk/Virginia Beach. Preparation of this item was funded by the United States Department of Labor under Grant No. IF-23413-12-60-A-51. This documentation does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.