Business Scale-up Program Helps Hampton Roads Grow

Sep 10, 2018

Special article to Inside Business, The Hampton Roads Business Journal:

By Steve Holcomb, GENEDGE

The need for creating new, high-paying jobs by boosting diversified growth is increasingly important throughout Virginia.

Two economic development organizations, Reinvent Hampton Roads and GENEDGE Alliance, have partnered together since spring to focus on specific industry clusters in Hampton Roads for scale-up of regional industries and job growth.

Those clusters are cybersecurity, unmanned vehicles and advanced manufacturing and include the suppliers, businesses and distribution systems that form the supply chain networks.

The end goal of the Reinvent/GENEDGE scale-up program is to help companies in the clusters innovate and accelerate their growth.

But to get there, a new method was necessary.

GENEDGE’s single-company focus and Reinvent’s financial investment in industry clusters produced a unique approach to scale-up efforts in Hampton Roads with the goal of growing new high-quality jobs paying salaries in excess of $50,000 per year.

The key to the scale-up is GENEDGE’s Business Growth Accelerator Program.

Through methods proven with over 100 client companies since 2012, GENEDGE has developed this proven approach to provide innovative top- and bottom-line growth. (To view some representative client testimonials, visit our case studies).

The three-phase process is conducted through five to seven half-day strategic growth workshops with the company’s leadership team over a three- to four-month time frame.

Phase 1, called Assess, consists of a half-day workshop to conduct a CoreValue Organizational Assessment which evaluates the financial health of a company. This is done with CoreValue software developed through research at MIT.

GENEDGE advisers engage with company leadership to create a valuation model for the company, uncover gaps limiting current company valuation and financial health. The assessment includes detailed enterprise assessment, gap analysis and onsite discussion with the client’s leadership team.

Phase 2 is Align, in which an assessment of a company’s strengths and weaknesses is conducted for strategic alignment with the company’s opportunities for new or enhanced markets, products, technology or processes. Prioritized strategic opportunities are identified for commercialization, optimization or growth.

Phase 3 of the growth accelerator approach is known as Develop. In this phase, GENEDGE facilitators help the company leadership team fully develop a vision and action plan for achieving a desired future state of innovation, growth, and success.

This third phase often includes helping the company develop a plan for commercialization of new products or services, or enhancement and growth in existing processes and markets. GENEDGE is also including assistance to prepare the companies for capital access where needed.

To date, four Hampton Roads businesses have been engaged in this strategic scale-up process.

Those projects included market growth for a remote sensing company in Norfolk, a new product/service launch for a cyber risk assessment company in Virginia Beach, a new product/service launch for an environmental company in Hampton, and a new product/service launch for an unmanned vehicle company in the Eastern Shore.

Bill Donohue, President and Executive Director of GENEDGE, wants to increase the pace of companies entering the program.

“Currently, strategic growth discussions are under way with over 20 companies throughout Hampton Roads,” Donohue said. “Through the RHR partnership, companies are provided a great value for every dollar and hour of time invested in the program. Traded sectors in the process of committing include augmented reality, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, medical products, printing and communications, with 10 to 150 employees in their operations. We plan to continue to develop relationships not only for the benefit of the companies directly served, but we also intend to promote vertical and horizontal supply chain and partnering relationships, as a force multiplier for value creation in the region.”

GENEDGE and Reinvent Hampton Roads are funded to work with about a dozen more qualified companies by April.

To qualify, each company must have a need and desire to innovate, compete and grow, thereby improving financial health and creating new, high-quality jobs in Hampton Roads.

All interested companies are encouraged to contact Hampton Roads Regional Growth Manager Steve Holcomb at or (276) 732-0440.

GENEDGE is the state’s management consulting enterprise whose mission is to be Virginia’s best public resource to help manufacturing and industry innovate, compete and grow. GENEDGE delivers consulting-based expertise and technology transfer to over 200 companies each year.

Its team helps clients expand, diversify, improve top- and bottom-line results, create jobs and sustain employment.

It is also part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership and is committed to the long-term success of Virginia enterprises through high-quality, affordable consulting services.

Steve Holcomb is the Hampton Roads Regional Growth Manager for GENEDGE. Reach him at (276) 732-0440 or

Inside Business logo*The above is an article that was published online through Inside Business, The Hampton Roads Business Journal on Sept. 10, 2018 and updated Sept. 13, 2018. > Link to the Inside Business version.


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