OED Weekly Roundup: Week of March 7, 2016

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

In an effort to help local entrepreneurs, Virginia Tech’s Catalyst Program landed almost $500,000 in funding from a U.S. Department of Commerce grant. The money will go toward supporting entrepreneur’s from idea to market, focusing in on three specific areas: seeking promising technologies, minimizing risks, and putting entrepreneurs on a path to market, according to Virginia Tech News. See the press release, “Virginia Tech awarded federal grant to benefit entrepreneurial efforts in region,” here.

The Roanoke Times sat in on one of Tech’s newest classes, an applied malting and brewing science lab. The lab utilizes Tech’s newly acquired brewing system, designed to provide educational and business opportunities, among other potential uses. Read the full story, “Food scientists brewing big plans for fermentation at Virginia Tech,” here.

Following the closing of NuSpark, an incubator space that was located in the Collegiate Square shopping center, a local lawyer has launched a new incubator-like space called Studio2.0. The space, located at 318 N. Main St., aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs develop ideas alongside professional legal, accounting and human resources work. Read Roanoke Times’ full story, “Blacksburg lawyer opening incubator space for startups,” here.

The Roanoke Regional Chamber is hosting Nancy Rodrigues, Virginia’s secretary of administration, to talk about small business in Roanoke on March 23 at 1 p.m. Her talk will take place in the Jefferson Center’s Fitzpatrick Hall with the topic of “Is the state buying what you’re selling?” See the Roanoke Times’ full briefing, “Administration secretary to talk business in Roanoke,” here.

In a detailed report, Virginia Business looks into what a Richmond-Hampton Roads mega-region could look like. Tom Frantz, a leader in economic development initiatives, believes the two metros could mean a leap in the area’s lagging economy, as both metros would be able to lean on each other’s capabilities. The goal would be to diversify the region’s assets in order to appeal to markets globally. For the full read, check out “A big league move?” here.

Know of any other economic development news going on in SWVA? Leave a comment below or tweet at us, @VT_EconomicDev.

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