HUNTINGTON, WV (WOAY) – Marshall University’s Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) has received a major boost from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to expand efforts to build an entrepreneurial and innovation-focused economy across West Virginia.
The EDA has recognized RCBI as one of 60 University Center recipients across the United States. This recognition and award of more than $500,000 will propel the delivery of direct business and technical assistance, strengthen regional collaborations, improve supply chains connections, and develop new technologies.
RCBI will partner with institutions of higher education and economic development organizations across the state as well as Marshall’s iCenter, part of the Lewis College of Business, Brad D. Smith Schools of Business; and the Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia on programs to enhance the regional economy.
The initiative also will target state industries with the greatest growth potential, including aviation, advanced manufacturing, agriculture and food production, medical manufacturing, technology, outdoor recreation and alternative uses for coal.
“RCBI is honored to be one of 60 US EDA University Centers across the country,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI director & CEO. “As the only nationally recognized University Center in West Virginia, RCBI and our partner organizations have consistently exceeded specific goals for boosting economic output and economic diversity. With this latest award, the EDA recognizes that RCBI at Marshall University has a proven track record of generating outcomes that have positive impacts and, many times, life-changing outcomes.”
Derek Scarbro, RCBI deputy director, said that EDA University Center goals for the next five years include creating at least 145 jobs and leveraging more than $1 million in private investment.
The EDA University Center Program spurs economic development by leveraging the infrastructure, technology and research capacity of higher education institutions.
A 2016 EDA award to RCBI resulted in the creation of 22 businesses, $4,771,550 in leveraged private investment, delivery of direct technical assistance for 169 entrepreneurs, skills development training for 10,698 individuals, and the introduction of 231 entrepreneurs to investors.
To learn more about how RCBI’s EDA University Center can assist your entrepreneurial effort or small business, visit www.rcbi.org/universitycenter.