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The Alliance: Your Guide to the Hampton Roads Economy

Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance (The Alliance) assists international and domestic companies with investment projects, expansion and relocation. The Alliance team can help with a wide range of important tasks:

  • Establish a business in the United States: Through the Alliance’s network of local legal professionals who specialize in corporate law, the Alliance will connect you with an experienced professional who can advise you about the best form of incorporation. The lawyer of your choice will then file all the required paperwork on your behalf. Generally, a new business can be established within less than 10 business days.
  • Obtain an employer ID number: In most cases, businesses need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number. This number is a unique identifier for a business entity. The Alliance, with the assistance of a legal professional, will help obtain an EIN for your new business.
  • Business and personal banking: After incorporating and obtaining the EIN, the new business can open a banking relationship. The Alliance project manager can arrange and introduce you to a variety of national and international banks with local branch offices. The services include online banking, wire transfers, bill payment, check processing, debit and credit cards for business and personal purposes.
  • Bookkeeping, accounting and audit: Understanding the best tax structure and its implications is of particular interest to many business owners and executives. The services offered range from small business support (invoice processing and bill paying), accounting work, to audit of international transactions. THis ensures all Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filing requirements and deadlines are met.
  • Finding office, warehouse and manufacturing or flex space: The Alliance has access to a regional database of available commercial real estate. New businesses can select from a variety of different building options. We will arrange tours of all buildings you would like to visit during your time in Hampton Roads. Buildings can be single tenant (one company) or multitenant (several companies). Some buildings are for rent (‘lease’) while others might also be for purchase. Typically, commercial real estate is categorized ‘A’ (newest, in perfect condition, high quality), ‘B’ (a few years old, in good condition) or ‘C’ (oldest, need repairs).
  • Obtaining proper permits: The Alliance staff will work with the economic development department in each of the 11 communities of the area to ensure your new business operates in the appropriate zone (mixed use for office, light and heavy industrial for manufacturing/assembly/warehouse).
  • Obtaining a Visa for the United States: The Alliance staff will gladly introduce you to experienced legal professionals who can advise you on obtaining the most suitable visa for you or your employees. The filing fees for a visa are set, while the cost to prepare the paperwork depends on the complexity of the visa application.
  • Staffing needs: The Alliance works with several temporary hire agencies that specialize in referring qualified applicants. Many companies view these services as advantageous because the new hire is not yet a permanent employee of the new company with all its implications.
  • Corporate insurance: The Alliance is supported by insurance brokers focusing on the insurance needs of businesses. Discussing insurance policies is paramount to be legally compliant, and to protect the company..
  • Place of residence: Finding a private residence (house or apartment) for rent can be done within a short amount of time. Renters usually have to give only 30 days’ notice before moving out. Rental agreements for houses or apartments are typically signed for a period of 12 months. Some landlords offer short term rental agreements for a premium.
  • Establishing credit history: While building credit takes time, newly established companies can employ a few strategies such as exemplary financial management, to accelerate the establishment of credit history in the United States. This is also true for establishing personal credit history.
  • Purchasing a car: Purchasing a car and acquiring financing for a newly established company is a challenging process. While such a company can apply for financing, these transactions ultimately require backing from an individual with established credit history.
  • Schooling of children: In the United States, there are public and private schools for children. Private schools require parents to pay a fee for their children to attend. Public schools are free of charge for parents. If a child attends public school, the neighborhood in which the family lives determines the school. Attending private school is not confined to a specific area/section.
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