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TechConnect Awarded $500,000 U.S. EDA Grant to Facilitate Innovation and Entrepreneurship In West Virginia

With the goal of spurring entrepreneurship and creating jobs in West Virginia, the U.S. Economic Development Administration recently awarded $500,000 in grant funding to TechConnect West Virginia for their TechWrx West Virginia program.

“We are grateful to the U.S. Economic Development Administration for supporting this important program, as well as to U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin for their efforts in helping us secure this award,” said Anne Barth, Executive Director of TechConnect West Virginia.  “The goal of TechWrxWV is to help facilitate successful startup companies in West Virginia, who will contribute both to job and wealth creation in the project region.”

Barth said The Chemical Alliance Zone, the INNOVA Commercialization Group, and the Center for Applied Research & Technology are partnering with TechConnect on the program.

TechWrxWV will address gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem by offering an expanded suite of programs designed to 1) encourage more entrepreneurs to launch companies, 2) build a more robust entrepreneurial culture, 3) increase capacity and expertise to assist entrepreneurs upon engagement with our centers of excellence, and, 4) raise awareness of investment advantages in Opportunity Zones.

The program builds on three game-changing, EDA-funded projects led by TechConnect beginning in 2011, including StartUp WV, ScaleUp WV and NextUp WV. These initiatives enabled TechConnect to build greater capacity within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, develop a model leveraging in-state “Centers of Excellence” to assist entrepreneurs and prepare entrepreneurs to seek funding through the regional angel capital network.

To date, these programs have served more than 200 entrepreneurs, early-stage and existing businesses, launched 51 new ventures, created 106 jobs, retained 170 jobs and attracted nearly $8 million in follow-on investment.

The programs offered through TechWrxWV will be available across 40 of West Virginia’s 55 counties, including Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monongalia, Nicholas, Ohio, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Roane, Taylor, Tyler, Tucker, Upshur, Wayne, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt and Wyoming.

For additional information, contact Anne Barth at anne@techconnectwv.org or call (304) 444.2918.