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Hampton University Unveils $18 Million Entrepreneur Program

HAMPTON—Hampton University established the Virginia Workforce Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (VWIEC) in October 2020 thanks to a Department of Education Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant. The grant provides VWIEC with the funding needed to expand the capability and capacity of Virginia’s current and aspiring entrepreneurs with economic recovery opportunities in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic.

“The concept of workforce development can be traced back to the very conception of this world-class institution,” said Dr. William R. Harvey, Hampton University President. “Our founder, General Armstrong, said that his institution is built upon two concepts. One is a first-rate academic program. Today that is called workforce development. Two is the development of character. He said that of the two, the development of character is more important. I want everyone to know that as the twelfth president of Hampton University, I feel the exact same way.”

Along with a host of other partners, including Old Dominion University, the new VWIEC serves 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. Headquartered in Hampton, the program serves clientele from across the state who have been dismissed, displaced or replaced due to covid-19 and want to start a business, transition to a new business or expand/strengthen their existing business.

The center strives 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. The program will support the participants by removing barriers that restrict them, including childcare, transportation, certification costs, and business licensure fees.

Interested parties can contact the Virginia Workforce Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center by calling 757-997-4066, or emailing VWIEC@hamptonu.edu.

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