OED Weekly Roundup: Week of Feb. 15, 2016

This week in economic development news in Southwest Virginia and beyond:

Just how much are colleges worth? The Hechinger Report looked to Virginia Tech to find answers to this multifaceted question. In their report, they find that the worth of a college can go beyond vague generalities and actually have a quantifiable number attached to it, such as the exact price tag of commercially sponsored research taking place at Virginia Tech. Today, with the scrutiny colleges and universities are under due to rising higher education costs, having these hard numbers available can provide reassurance to taxpayers who want to see just where their dollars are going on state campuses. The story, “Facing skepticism, colleges set out to prove their value,” is available here.

Small tech companies in Southwest Virginia, rejoice: the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council decided to wave their membership fees for local tech companies with less than 10 employees. This is good news for the local tech sector, as the Council provides advocacy for high-tech company growth and can now help promote smaller tech companies that otherwise might not have been able to afford it. Among other benefits, this helps keep these companies in SWVA – promoting further economic growth in the area. Check out the Roanoke Times’ story, “Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council nixes membership fees for small tech companies,” here.

Unmanned vehicles are growing ever-popular, and SWVA is looking to capitalize on that. A regional chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International is hoping to launch in March, and with it, more opportunities to work with unmanned vehicles will come to the region. AUVSI can help advocate for unmanned systems and robotics in SWVA and can usher in jobs and opportunities in the development of these technologies, while also promoting them to the region and getting local startups and college communities involved. For more information on this exciting development, see Roanoke Times’ story, “Unmanned vehicle chapter being formed to promote region,” here.

Know of any other economic development news going on in SWVA? Leave a comment below!

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