The City of Norfolk and the Commonwealth of Virginia offer a variety of business incentives to ensure business growth and sustainability. These include incentives that are determined by the business location, and others that are offered citywide. The Economic Development Department is ready to assist you and your business in learning about these incentive programs.
Local, State, and Federal location-based incentives
A HUBZone is a “historically underutilized business zone” located within communities with low incomes and/or high unemployment. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) administers the program and certifies businesses for eligibility. A HUBZone certified business is eligible for set-aside and sole-source contracting opportunities, and receives preferences in full and open competition for contracts. Information about the HUBZone program is available on the SBA website. HUBZone maps were updated in March 2017. Twenty-one of Norfolk's census tracts are classified as either a qualified or redesignated census tract in Norfolk's HUBZone. Use the mapping application set up by the SBA to find out if your property is in Norfolk's HUBZone.
The interactive map below shows HUBZone boundaries. Type an address into the search box to zoom to the property.
Enterprise Zones (download factsheet) Virginia's Enterprise Zone program provides state and local incentives to businesses that invest and create jobs within Virginia's enterprise zones, which are located throughout the state.
The interactive map below shows Enterprise Zone boundaries. Type an address into the search box to zoom to the property.
Technology Zone City Council adopted a technology zone program with an effective date of January 1, 2017, to encourage technology businesses to locate in a specific area (see Technology Zone map). The types of businesses that qualify as technology businesses include:
- Cybersecurity, personal security and property security;
- Sea level rise and recurrent flooding;
- Medical devices, medical diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, biochemical engineering and other life sciences and health care technologies;
- Advanced materials and advanced manufacturing;
- Computer hardware and software;
- Electronics and instrumentation;
- Photonics and sensors;
- Internet and e-commerce;
- Educational and training technologies, including modeling and simulation;
- Bio-informatics and data analytics;
- Logistics and maritime commerce;
- Information technology, telecommunications and wireless technology;
- Green technologies, renewable energy research and development, and energy conservation;
- Advanced transportation technologies; and
The use of computers, telecommunications services, or a web page or internet site shall not, in itself, be sufficient to qualify as a technology business. For more information about this program refer to the ordinance or visit municode.
New Market Tax Credits The New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) program permits taxpayers to receive a credit against Federal income taxes for making qualified equity investments in designated Community Development Entities (CDEs). Substantially all of the qualified equity investment must in turn be used by the CDE to provide investments in low-income communities. Learn more about this program here.
Tax Abatement Program This program, administered by the City of Norfolk Real Estate Assessor’s Office, offers taxpayers an opportunity to improve residential, commercial or industrial structures and not pay full taxes on those improvements for 14 years. Learn more about this program here.
Performance-Based Grants In order to be considered for a performance-based Economic Development Incentive, the program must meet the following criteria:
- The projest must represent a significant capital investment
- The project must be a significant job generator
- The project must be a catalyst for future development
- The project cannot be completed to the City's standards without assistance
Grants are funded annually, based on a predetermined sharing ratio, by the City of Norfolk through the EDA.
Commonwealth of Virginia Incentives
Virginia offers a variety of performance-based incentives, designed to target the needs of businesses and the development plans of localities and the state. The following is a list of incentives offered by the Commonwealth. Learn more about these programs here.
- Tax Incentives
- -Corporate Income Tax Incentives
- -Property Tax Incentives
- -Sales and Use Tax Exemptions
- Enterprise Zones
- Technology Zones
- Port of Virginia Development Zone
- -Virginia Jobs Investment Program
- -Virginia Community Colleges
- -Workforce Investment Act
- Infrastructure Incentives
- -Economic Development Access Program
- -Rail Industrial Access Program
- -Transportation Partnership Opportunity Fund
- -Foreign Trade Zones
- Discretionary Incentives
- -Governor’s Opportunity Fund
- -Virginia Investment Partnership Grant Fund
- -Major Eligible Employer Grant
- -Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant
- -Clean Energy Manufacturing Incentive Grant Program
- Regional Assistance
- -Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund
- -Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority
- Financial Assistance
- -Virginia Small Business Financing Authority
- -Community Development Block Grants
- Management and Technical Support
- -Center for Innovative Technology
- -Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund
- -VSBDC: Virginia’s Small Business Development Center Network
- -International Trade
If you have any further questions, please contact the Economic Development Department at 757-664-4338.
- Real Estate Tax Abatement Program
- Virginia Economic Development Partnership
- U. S. Small Business Administration
- State Corporation Commission
- Virginia Department of Business Assistance
- Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD)
- U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency
- Hampton Roads Procurement Assistance Center
- Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center
- Virginia Business Incentives
- Business USA
- Brownfields Redevelopment