First Stop Norfolk, Virginia, Next Stop…The WORLD!

Norfolk, Virginia, home to the Norfolk Tides, The Norva, MacArthur Mall, The Tide, Granby Street, Waterside, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University, HOT 91 and the largest naval base in the United States. To an outsider these are just names of places and things; but to a resident these are just a few of the city’s many landmarks. With a population of about 250,000, Norfolk is Virginia’s second largest city next to Virginia Beach. It is number two out of the seven cities that comprise Hampton Roads.

Norfolk is a melting pot. Its major asset, the military, is accountable for bringing thousands of people all over the world together. Some of the best music, art, education, and food are here. Yet, Norfolk is barely recognized. It continues to fall behind larger cities who take first, second, third and even 50th place on the “Top 50 Cities in the United States by Population and Rank.”

I have lived in Virginia for about twelve years, six of which I have spent in Norfolk, and I am still learning about and getting accustomed to the lifestyle. After completing my Masters Degree in Media Management at Norfolk State University, Norfolk’s only HBCU, I decided to start my own business in event planning. After creating The Event Planner LLC, I quickly started making plans to move. I believed that Norfolk didn’t have what I needed to grow in the industry. It was then that I started researching different markets. As I researched I happened to stumble upon some very eye-opening information.

According to Norfology.com:

“Hampton Roads, in its entirety, is about the 36th largest metropolitan area in the country–it is a huge market that is growing and, in fact, survived the economic downturn with ease (chalk that up to the stabilizing force of the military and government presence). And yet, competition in most areas of industry here is still scarce. Young architects, designers, chefs, tradespeople, retailers and builders are realizing quickly that Norfolk is a place where one can make a name for themselves in short order.”

Norfolk is surprisingly amongst the top cities for young professionals. It is a very lucrative area for young entrepreneurs. Networking is easier in Norfolk than it would be in a larger city because of its size. Not to mention the fact that Norfolk has been growing and developing tremendously over the past few years.

Moving to Norfolk from New York created a culture shock that I will never fully recover from but, nevertheless, Norfolk has become a place that I now call home. Not to say that Norfolk is the last stop on my “To Live” list, but I have grown to accept it as a great start. To all my young professionals looking for places to expand their personal brand, don’t let the size fool you; Norfolk is a small city with a big inconspicuous rep. Many big names have had their start here; Tim Reid, Nate Parker, Timbaland, and Clarence Clemons are just to name a few. Be the next, ‘cause I know I’ll be! In the meantime, support your fellow African American entrepreneurs, including myself, and take a look at my website: www.theeventplannerllc.info

Kevin Benoit

Kevin Benoit is the editor of Parlé Magazine. He founded the magazine while in college and continues to run it today. Follow him on IG: @parlewithme Read more articles by Kevin.

Kevin Benoit has 1776 posts and counting. See all posts by Kevin Benoit

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