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Posted on: February 11, 2020

Norfolk Selected to Participate in Economic Development Pilot Program

Community to receive technical services through Small Scale Manufacturing pilot program

NORFOLK, VA – The City of Norfolk was selected to participate in a Small Scale Manufacturing pilot program provided by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, through the Virginia Main Street program in partnership with the National Main Street Center.

Norfolk seeks to leverage the city’s many assets to promote entrepreneurship and self-employment through small scale, artisan manufacturing.

A total of five communities across Virginia were selected for participation. The purpose of the pilot is to provide technical assistance to communities with potential to have small scale manufacturing as an economic development and revitalization strategy and identify opportunities and resources for scale up and implementation strategies. The pilot will kick off in February and final reports will be complete before July 2020.

“Small scale producers are key to strengthening local and state economies,” said Matthew Wagner, Ph.D., Vice President of Revitalization Programs at the National Main Street Center. “These types of producers create jobs, drive tourism, and foster businesses that spur long-term growth within a community.”

Small scale manufacturing has emerged as a powerful way to tie opportunity to place and can fill a key missing piece in today’s local downtown and community development efforts. Data suggests that this form of manufacturing is rapidly growing in downtowns across the country, expanding and diversifying the employment and retail opportunities found there. Today’s consumers are looking for products with a story, that are locally made, and that appeal to their individualism. As a result, from microbrewers to apparel and bike manufacturers, many more people are beginning to blend retail, manufacturing and wholesaling opportunities at a much smaller scale, leading to growing tourism, diversified employment, and well-paid job opportunities for local communities.

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