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Norfolk State University announced recently that officials from the City of Norfolk, Virginia, have unveiled the Norfolk Corridor Innovation (NIC). The area is designated as a “technology zone” and is expected to attract and retain startups and firm expansions through incentives.

According to NIC Chairman Daniel Peterson, collaborations deepen the pools of talent, technology spin-offs, and supply-chain support that can fuel innovation districts that have catalyzed economic growth in metro areas.

“In the midst of one of the worst global pandemics in history, the launch of the Norfolk Innovation Corridor is a strong example of the resilience shown by anchor institutions and other economic, physical and networking assets concentrated in the corridor, which today open doors to new opportunities,” he said at the launch.

With more than 55,000 college students graduating from Norfolk colleges and universities every year, and access to R&D from anchor academic and health institutions, the zone also serves as a magnet for a high-tech, talented and diverse workforce.

Organizations promoting this effort include Norfolk State University, along with Old Dominion University, Tidewater Community College, ADP payroll company, Sentara, Eastern Virginia Medical School, and the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters.

The new Norfolk Innovation Corridor will support tech companies specializing in combatting sea level rise and recurrent flooding, green technologies, cybersecurity, supply chain, and maritime logistics, population health threats, behavioral health crisis, bioinformatics, advanced transportation technologies, and more.

One of the first start-ups established itself along the corridor, 3DXtremes combines 3D printing with augmented reality to help inventors and organizations turn their napkin-sketch concepts into real products ready for market. The company was founded by Old Dominion University graduate and tech entrepreneur Blade Taylor.

ReAlta Life Sciences, created by physicians and researchers affiliated with corridor anchors EVMS and CHKD, recently closed on a $26 million series A2 equity financing. The firm advances biotech therapies for the treatment of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a severe birth complication affecting newborns suffering from oxygen deprivation to the brain. It is also exploring treatments for other inflammatory disorders, such as the “cytokine storm” associated with COVID-19.

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