Author: Dan Bell

HRIC Launches Corporate Pillars Program with Collaborating Regional Organizations

April 2019

The Hampton Roads Innovation Collaborative (HRIC) has launched Corporate Pillars, a program designed to emulate some of the conditions that contributed to the success of Silicon Valley tech firms.

Dan Bell, president of HRIC stated “The goals of the Corporate Pillar program are twofold: to provide an environment where large regional organization’s IT leaders can become aware of smaller/growth technology firms within the region, and also to provide feedback on their product, services, strategies and more, contributing toward their growth.”

The approach taken by HRIC was to solicit involvement from senior IT personnel in large business, government and academia.  To date, the following organizations have opted to participate: Cox, PRA, City of Virginia Beach, City of Chesapeake, Clark Nexsen, Huntington Ingalls Inc. Technical Solutions Division, Newport News Shipbuilding, ODU Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Port of Virginia, Sentara, Tech Center Research Park and Towne Bank.

Beginning with the first meeting in April of 2019 and continuing every 90 days, HRIC organizes a 3-hour Corporate Pillars meeting, inviting 6 growth firms in to present for 20 minutes each (with Q&A) on their business.  These are private sessions, closed to the public and invitation only from HRIC.  Meeting locations are intended to take place on both the southside and peninsula.

Read More at: Corporate Pillars PR

The Foundry

What is the Bay Innovation Foundry?  Simply put, it is a new way of addressing and perhaps solving the on-going questions:

  1. How does the workforce get experience while in school? Traditional internships can work, but those programs are often loosely managed and disorganized, netting less than favorable results.  Internships are also very limited in scope and scale, so only a small number of student to company placements result.
  1. Students are often challenged to get out in the job market as fast as they can, because they need the experience. However, this translates to less than ideal skills to hire.
  1. Companies in Hampton Roads need to be able to leverage workforce both out of school as well as exiting military so that their growth can remain in Hampton Roads.
  1. Students need to come to companies with state-of-the art knowledge AND experience in its applications.

Learn more from the doc: The Foundry 6-2-17

HRIC Launches Foundation for Innovation!

The Hampton Roads Innovation Collaborative is launching the virtual Foundation for Innovation program to find ways to better connect the assets and people on the Peninsula with the idea of sparking new ideas to eventually fuel a strong Hampton Roads-wide technology corridor, said HRIC President Dan Bell.

The pilot program is running first on the Peninsula with every intention on “Going Regional” with measurable results.

Read More Here: TW Biz and Daily Press article

Foundation for Innovation Launches Feb, 2018

Please review materials from top to bottom here, but at the end, you’ll get the current updates on our activities and most importantly our Bus Env Survey Present v.9-3-18 which is very telling on our way to developing tech business strength in Hampton Roads.

Click here for introduction letter: Foundation Intro 2-15-18

Click here for Why to Join Foundation for Innovation?: Why Join Foundation for Innovation

Click here for information and how to register for our Hampton Roads Tech Expo (with Awards Banquet) event to be held Wed Sept 5, 2018: Tech Hampton Roads 2018 v.8-30-18 and apply on-line for our Technology Awards (given out that night) at:

Click here for presentation: Foundation for Innovation Brief v.2-10-18

Or just read the highlights below:

We have lots of stand alone activity like band musicians practicing before a song.  Alone they sound like separate instruments, together a masterpiece.

We’d like to try something new:

A connected, collaborative tech sector network which ties all assets and activity together for successful growth.

Convening with a purpose.  Tech Sector efforts collaborating to focus on programs that will move the needle and give us success stories to market to the world.

State of Affairs:

1.Several incubators, marginal success…

2.No accelerators (historically) in our area….some changes coming though…

3.Venture Capital exposure limited…Tie this to Accelerator strategy…

4.Various “tech sector” programs running, but kind of like a pinball game…

5.Technology Transfer not fully capitalized…

6.Intellectual Property and Patent levels low…

7.No collaboration and consolidation of results for reporting and improvement…

8.No promotion and advertisement of our efforts to the world…

9.Our regional model typically one of decentralized, disconnected efforts.  Not using the term disparate, because they’re mostly similar models…

10.As such, we have not developed the tech sector as a new pillar of our economy…

And we are experiencing “brain drain” because of a lack of critical mass…

What is Foundation for Innovation?

1.A plan to create a regional collaboration model that actually creates synergy, accountability, results and marketing of tech sector efforts.

2.A plan to engage all contributing sources of pertinent information or activity to forward a cohesive effort.

3.A plan to pilot on the Peninsula to create a business case for the balance of Hampton Roads.

4.A plan to move the needle via:

  • Organized approach to tech sector advancement
  • Organized approach to develop Intellectual Property and Patents.
  • Organized approach to increase Tech Transfer.
  • Organized approach to ramp up Workforce Development to match the market.
  • Organized approach to helping ALL regional tech sector companies (new, existing, clusters).
  • Organized approach to creating success stories for marketing purposes.
  • Creation of collaborative bonding agent to “keep it all connected and cohesive”.

How – The Eleven Point Plan

1.We want to establish an High Tech Innovation Corridor up through the Peninsula as a starting point, then expand to include the full region.

2.Create a Peninsula Innovation Advisory Committee (the hands-on Team).  This is for the pilot program. When it goes regional, we’ll add south side Advisory Committee.

3.Inventory the assets of the Peninsula.  This is for the pilot program and we’ll do the same thing for the south side when it’s full regional.

4.Create the true connected ecosystem and begin communicating our message to the base of assets we have, asking them to be a part.

  • The whole program is intended to grow our tech sector and create jobs.
  • We want ALL tech companies on-board: start-ups, mid level, large.
  • Existing incubators, new accelerators, members such as VT, ODU, NASA, JLab, NIA, Navy, Army, Air Force (Langley) 757 Angels, ReInvent HR, VMASC VA Center for Innovative Technology, and others TBD.

5.Meet with the assets/members on a periodic basis to ask them what’s working, what improvements are needed.

6.Create Boot Camps to fill the gaps between academia and real world needs.  Feed that knowledge back into the schools to continue raising the bar.

7.Create a Hub of IP, R&D, Product Development and Commercialization.

  • Begin to sponsor New Product Visioning and Development efforts. Leverage the Engineering Schools in our Region, this should be a series of Concept to Commercial program developed by HRIC. Regional assistance in exchange for regional basis of IP and export.

8.Support identified clusters within the Foundation for Innovation framework, but look for others that could leverage the assets in Hampton Roads.

  • High Speed Next Generation Internet an absolute requirement to support.

9.Begin the marketing (for attraction purposes).

  • Tell the story of Foundation for Innovation, describing the business environment for success that companies can leverage.
  • National campaign via social media and other new methods.

10.Monitor, refine toward continuous improvement.

11.Help to expand around the region by replicating this on the south side.


READ THE REPORT which resulted from over 20 interviews with tech companies in the region.  READ THE REPORT which explains the common themes uncovered.  READ THE REPORT which has suggestions on how to move forward.  READ THE REPORT but come back here from time to time to see how we’re progressing on our efforts.


Dan Bell – HRIC Board Member

(757) 373-6517,

Mike Kuhns – HRIC Board Member

(757) 810- 0320,

Regional Resources & Assets

Hampton Roads Regional Technology Ecosystem Member Visual: Ecosystem 10-2-18.

Our region has some tremendous resources for business and innovation. The challenge is to make sure people know about them.

These listings are not all-inclusive but it’s a start. If you see something missing, just let us know and we’ll add it.

Ecosystem Tech Company List

1 Million Cups VA Beach

757 Accelerate

757 Angels

757 Maker Space


Benefits of Supporting Small Business

Business Incubators in VA

Center for Innovative Technology

Chamber of Commerce HR South

Chamber of Commerce HR Peninsula

Chamber Small Business Development Center

Colleges and Universities in Hampton Roads

Concept to Commercial Video Series

Core Value Software

Entrepreneurs Organization SE Virginia
EO Accelerator

Go Virginia

Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance

Hampton Roads Innovation Collaborative

HR Cyber

Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (ICAP)

Jefferson Lab Tech Transfer

Microsoft Small Business Academy

NASA Technology Transfer

National Modeling and Simulation Coalition

NovaEd On-Line Entrepreneurial Training

ODU Center for Enterprise Innovation

ODU CEI Tempo Program

Patent Attorney Pierce McCoy Norfolk

Patent Attorney Keusey & Associates, P.C. Williamsburg 

REaKTOR in Hampton

ReInvent Hampton Roads

SBA – How to Grow Your Business


SCORE Hampton Roads

SCORE Williamsburg

Sea Level Rise

Small Business Loans HR

SourceLink Virginia


Start Up Business Resources Tool

Tech Transfer (not endorsed, just listed)

Transportation Research Institute

VA Aerospace Business Association

VA Community Economic Network

VA Economic Development Partnership

VA Offshore Wind 1

VA Offshore Wind 2

VEDP Growth and Export

VA Resource Guide

VA Space Grant Consortium

Virginia Tech – Hampton Roads Centers

Virginia Unmanned Systems


Also check with your local city Economic Development Department. They have access to and provide great resources as well.

What’s missing from our Ecosystem?

Do we have a mindset for GROWTH?

10 Ways to Grow Your Business

Creative Financing

Startup America 1

Startup America 2

Do we need Accelerators?
The Difference Between a Business Accelerator and a Business Incubator

What to expect with Acceleration
Accelerator Programs 101
Global Accelerator Network

Take a look at our HRIC Programs, many of which of elements of Accelerator activity.
HRIC Programs


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