Chemicals & Advanced Materials Blueprint Implementation Moving Forward
TechConnectWV partnered with the Chemical Alliance Zone (CAZ) in 2012 on implementation of the blueprint for growth in the chemicals and advanced materials sector. With funding from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the partnership will (1) revamp CAZ’s incubator and create a new Incubator-Accelerator at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park and (2) create a Chemicals and Advanced Materials (CAM) Commercialization Fund to spur growth in startup firms.
Those two important steps are underway toward fulfilling the strategies and goals of the blueprint.
The CAM Commercialization Fund offers assistance to researchers, entrepreneurs, start-ups and small-to-medium firms to assist in the commercialization of technology and products related to the chemicals and materials sectors in West Virginia. The first award was made to PolyPlexx, LLC in December 2012 in the amount of $15,000 to help boost the commercialization efforts of the South Charleston-based company.
PolyPlexx, located at the WV Regional Technology Park, offers clear, impact-resistant polymers under the trade name ViziPlexx™. The materials can be used for optical lenses, ballistic armor, and other safety and security applications. Funds will be used to assist in the production of customer samples and the development of technology for large-scale production.
At least five awards will be made from the CAM Commercialization Fund over the next 18 months. The INNOVA Commercialization Group, Mountaineer Capital, West Virginia Angel Investor Network, and West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust are serving as an advisory group to assist CAZ in the administration of the CAM Commercialization Fund. For more information, click here.
Second, work is underway to form a new, revitalized Tech Park Incubator-Accelerator. The Incubator-Accelerator will provide or facilitate access to support services for researchers, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small firms that locate in the Incubator-Accelerator. An advisory group has been formed to develop several strategic partnerships and provide guidance on the most cost effective and efficient way to provide appropriate services to entrepreneurs and small companies. CAZ will work with national economic development firm Fourth Economy Consulting and various partners, including the Charleston Area Alliance, INNOVA Commercialization Group, MATRIC, TechConnect West Virginia, West Virginia Regional Technology Park Corporation, and West Virginia University.