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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Old Dominion Signs MOU with Percolator to Support Local Startup Companies 

By Noell Saunders

Old Dominion University and Percolator, a co-working space in downtown Norfolk, are collaborating to offer entrepreneurial resources for startup companies in Hampton Roads.

On June 27, Morris Foster, vice president for Old Dominion University's Office of Research, and Bobby Wright, developer and owner of Percolator, signed an agreement to solidify the partnership between the organizations.

"The University will deliver programs, some of which are federally funded, to a diverse list of startup companies in the Percolator building," Foster said. "It's part of our larger mission to help build the regional economy."

The 35,000-square-foot Percolator is designed to support entrepreneurs in the region through co-working space, networking and unique programming. It has two spaces, one on Granby Street and the other on Monticello Avenue. The company houses about 70 businesses.

"This is our first memorandum of understanding with any higher education institution," Wright said. "Our goal is to try to connect not only to startups, new research and ideas but also to universities, military alliances, cities and states. We are thrilled to work with ODU."

This year, ODU established the Entrepreneurship and Economic Development division, bringing together resources and centers to simplify communication and enhance the ability to connect with and support entrepreneurs from the University and the community.

"We are excited to partner with Percolator since we share a common vision as leaders to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Hampton Roads," said Nancy Grden, executive director of ODU's Strome Entrepreneurial Center. "Innovation thrives when organizations such as ours and others collaborate in support of this larger mission."

Larry Filer, associate vice president of ODU's Economic Development and Entrepreneurship group, said the collaboration is a perfect way to match ready-to-grow companies with programs that can help them thrive.

"What we are able to do that the private sector can't often do is bring these large federally funded grant programs to private co-working space," Filer said. "We can make a much richer ecosystem across the region."

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