On August 1, 2011, the U.S. Commerce Department’s
Economic Development Administration (EDA) invested $5.25 million in the West
Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission of Charleston, W. Va., to upgrade a
key research lab building in South Charleston’s West Virginia Regional Technology
to help attract rural small businesses. The effort is expected to create an
initial 96 jobs and an additional 9,000 jobs over the long term.
The facility will provide leased incubator space to high-tech start-up companies in the chemical, energy, and advanced materials industries. The renovations will result in significant energy savings for the State and businesses working in the facility, reducing operating costs by nearly 50 percent annually. Start-up companies and entrepreneurs in the park will conduct innovative product and process research, testing and business development, and will also have manufacturing capacity. The building will also include research and teaching facilities for Marshall University, West Virginia University, and four community colleges.
This rural investment enjoys wide Congressional
and State support.
In announcing the grant, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation said, “There is new life in the Tech Park, and new hope that it will be an ongoing source of pride and economic progress not only for the Kanawha Valley, but also for the entire state. With this grant, we will see one of the park’s landmark lab buildings turn into a modern facility ripe for additional research jobs, innovations and discoveries. And we’ll be one significant stride closer to greater technology-based economic development in West Virginia.”
Added U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, “In these challenging times, it is critical that we prioritize our spending on smart investments that will help create the jobs of tomorrow in West Virginia and the nation, and this is a smart investment that will do that. I am so proud of initiatives like the West Virginia Education, Research and Technology Park, which is a model of public-private partnership and fosters critically needed economic development for the Mountain State. This EDA grant will help transform the West Virginia Education, Research and Technology Park into a world-class lab facility and a small technology business incubator, creating an essential technology and research hub for Kanawha County and all of West Virginia.”
Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito said, “Entrepreneurs and innovation will lead us out of these tough economic times. This generous Economic Development Administration grant will accelerate job creation by awarding local businesses and start-ups must needed resources to grow their business. The advances made over the next few years at the South Charleston “Tech park” will have a positive ripple effect throughout the greater West Virginia and regional economies.”
In November 2010, the state acquired the West Virginia Regional Technology Park from the Dow Chemical Company, adding significant capacity to the state’s academic and economic development efforts. EDA funded a study in 2009 that provided strategic, long-term planning assistance for the park’s development.