The 757 Accelerate Community Pitch event participants: Evans McMillion, executive director, 757 Accelerate; Whit Hunter, co-founder, Betterworld; Daniel Zillante, co-founder, Zilper Trenchless; Nick Hegeman, founder, PaintJet; Mohamed Kamara, founder, Inovcares; Philip Deng, founder, Grantable; Jaynee Sasso, founder, Senior Runs; Kala Fleming, founder, Frontline Gig; Caitlin Iseler, founder, Happyly; Rachel Zayas, founder, AGED Diagnostics; and Ian Frazier, program manager, 757 Accelerate (Courtesy / HANDOUT)

NORFOLK — Nine startups — the largest number so far — pitched at 757 Accelerate’s annual event last month, showing that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Hampton Roads.

Launched in 2018, the Norfolk-based nonprofit accelerator program gives promising startups a boost through a mentor-driven model. To date, 757 Accelerate has 27 companies in its portfolio that have raised more than $48 million in private capital, created more than 240 jobs and generated more than $23 million in revenue.

The startups shared their concepts during a community showcase Nov. 11 at Granby Street Theater in Norfolk.

Doris Gomez, dean of Regent University’s School of Business and Leadership and host of the event, said in a news release that Regent was excited to sponsor the event and highlight efforts to attract and retain entrepreneurs in the region.

“Regent students are already exploring internships and full-time employment with 757 Accelerate’s startups, and we are thrilled to partner with them to continue growing these inclusive, interconnected and impactful resources,” she said.

The following companies began the fourth cohort of the 13-week program on Aug. 30:

  • AGED Diagnostics: The company applied genomic innovation to create a noninvasive test for liver disease.
  • Betterworld: The social impact venture provides nonprofits with free online fundraising tools including auctions, raffles, donations and crowdfunding.
  • FrontlineGig: The Norfolk-based technical services company provides a platform to hire gig workers for environmental jobs within the public sector.
  • Grantable offers a way for organizations to connect with freelance grant writers.
  • Happyly is a corporate wellness program that helps parents and caretakers find healthy outdoor and indoor activities in more than 30 U.S. cities.
  • InovCares: The mobile app connects women, particularly women of color, to trusted practitioners for comprehensive and affordable health care.
  • PaintJet uses a mobile lift attachment via artificial intelligence and robotics to quickly apply paint or industrial coatings to large-scale industrial, commercial and marine-based projects.
  • Senior Runs: The web and mobile platform links aging adults and people with disabilities with caregivers for transportation and companion care.
  • Zilper Trenchless: The boring technology is used for the installation of underground utilities while minimizing surface traffic disruption.

Sandra J. Pennecke, 757-652-5836,