Roanoke regional accelerator receives nearly $1M federal grant
RAMP helps grow startup companies in Roanoke, New River Valley
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced Monday it has awarded nearly $1 million in grant funding to the Valleys Innovation Council (VIC) for its Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP), which is targeted at helping to grow startup companies in the Roanoke and New River Valley region.
“This grant will give us the runway we need to build additional capacity and support the entrepreneurial community at every stage of their development,” RAMP Director Mary Guy Miller said in a statement. “This is an exciting win and it is my honor to work with everyone who has been involved to continue to build this region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
VIC will receive $982,442 in funding as one of 52 national grant recipients of the Commerce Department’s $35 million Build to Scale grant program. The grant will be used for programming aimed to support tech, health and life science startups in the GO Virginia Region 2 footprint, which includes the New River Valley, Roanoke Valley, Alleghany Highlands and Greater Lynchburg regions.
Funding will be directed in the following areas:
- Startup Pathways: provide mentor connections, support the health science and technology commercialization fellowship with Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and support translational research from Virginia Tech
- Scaling the Accelerator-in-Residence Program: provide support for six in-residence cohorts during the three-year period, add a program coordinator to support expansion, increase access to domain expert mentors and provide hybrid in-person and virtual courses
- Enhanced Support for Later-Stage Startups: provide alumni support through mentoring, PitchPlus programming to help post-acceleration companies to access capital and shared workspace
- Resource Development and Research: make connections to regional innovation ecosystem resources and research connected to tracking regional innovation economy development
“These standout projects will now have the resources to expand their success,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
VIC, the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC) , GO Virginia, the Center for Innovative Technology, Virginia Tech, the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, the city of Roanoke, the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation, Woods Rogers PLC, Virginia BIO and the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center will also provide resources and support for the programming.
In July, VIC, RBTC and RAMP announced their alliance to grow the region’s innovation economy and tech community.
“Winning the EDA Build to Scale grant in such a national competitive process validates the importance of having an organization like the RBTC/VIC Strategic Alliance focused on strengthening and growing our region’s innovation economy by leveraging this type of federal EDA grant support,” Greg Feldmann, CEO of the alliance, said in a statement. “The combination of VIC’s research, planning and grant writing abilities, coupled with the execution capabilities of RBTC and RAMP, is helping to create transformational programming that will help grow our region’s innovation economy.”