From The Virginian-Pilot By Trevor Metcalfe

A consortium of Hampton Roads startup business programs called 757 ScaleUp Alliance received a $1.2 million federal grant to promote job growth in emerging industries.

The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded the grant as part of $53 million in funding through its Build to Scale program, which aims to provide financial resources to entrepreneurs and startups.

“The Build to Scale program will unlock innovation potential in regions all over the nation, improving our economic competitiveness now and for decades to come,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a news release.

The grant, to be matched by another $1.2 million in local funds, will help 757 Collab in Norfolk fund programming for 30 founders in industries like health care, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, logistics and robotics. 757 Collab won its funding from the program’s Venture Challenge Grants, which support high-growth technology entrepreneurship.

757 Collab plans to work with other startup organizations in the area, including Innovate Hampton Roads, Black Brand and the Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center under the new umbrella organization 757 Scaleup Alliance.

757 Collab is the parent organization of startup investor group 757 Angels, business accelerator 757 Accelerate and incubator 757 Studios.

Paul Nolde, 757 Collab managing director, said the grant will allow the groups to expand existing programs to underrepresented founders.

“If you look at how this grant was written, we kind of leverage where our strong suits were,” Nolde said.

For example, Black Brand, the region’s Black chamber of commerce, will help identify underrepresented founders and Innovate Hampton Roads will act as a communication outlet for the community.

Nolde said the matching funds will come from corporate partners as well as the recipient organizations themselves.

757 Collab has a yearly economic impact of $67 million and has raised more than $189 million for startups since 2015, according to its latest annual report.

As the only Virginia organization to receive a grant, Nolde said the award spoke to the power of the Hampton Roads startup ecosystem and its potential.

Trevor Metcalfe, 757-222-5345,