Hampton Roads, VA – StartWheel Corporation and Hampton Roads Innovation Collaborative (HRIC), two of the region’s most influential players in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, are merging their education programs. The initiative, named “Innovate Hampton Roads,” aims to enhance education, support, and growth within the local innovation ecosystem.

StartWheel Corporation has been a driving force in the region’s entrepreneurial community, providing resources and information to startups and established businesses alike. Its range of services, which includes a website, a weekly newsletter, job posting service, and podcast, has reached and connected tens of thousands of individuals focused on entrepreneurship, both locally and nationwide.

HRIC, also known as Technology Hampton Roads, has been a key player in the regional incubation industry. The organization has consistently produced valuable educational programming, networking events, and has served as the region’s technology council.

Over the past few months, StartWheel and HRIC have been working towards merging their educational programs to unify the entrepreneurial and business landscape across the region. Their collaboration created the region’s largest business directory, featuring more than 8,000 businesses.

The partnership will be officially announced at the HR BIZWHEEL Quarterly Expo on May 18th at the Slover Library in Norfolk, Virginia. While both organizations will maintain their current brands in the initial phase, any future changes will be at the discretion of the StartWheel Board.

Tim Ryan, Executive Director of StartWheel, will helm Innovate Hampton Roads. Paul Hirschbiel, the current Chairman of StartWheel, will become Chairman, and Dan Bell, the current Chairman of HRIC, will serve as Vice Chairman.

Ryan expressed his enthusiasm for the project: “The creation of Innovate Hampton Roads will connect early-stage businesses, growth-stage companies, and companies operating at scale to create a unified voice without duplicating any existing efforts. We all need each other to grow and compete with other regions.”

Bell emphasized the potential of this effort to increase regional visibility: “It is our hope that this effort is a significant step forward making Hampton Roads a more well-known national and perhaps even international entity. The ultimate goal is for us to have a stronger regional economy.”

Hirschbiel acknowledged the progress made in the region over the past decade and the potential for further growth: “Uniting these two organizations with similar missions will decrease duplication of effort and allow the merged organization Innovate Hampton Roads to have a stronger role and voice in supporting entrepreneurs and in the growth of our innovation ecosystem.”

With the formation of Innovate Hampton Roads, the region is poised to make significant strides in fostering innovation, supporting entrepreneurship, and strengthening the local economy.

Here is a link to the official Press Release.