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news – june 2010

Imagine West Virginia Supports TechConnect WV Forum to Explore West Virginia’s Technology Economy Potential

Technology-based economic development (TBED) is an economic imperative for the 21st century, vital for creating economic growth, high-paying jobs, and economic diversity across the Mountain State.  TechConnect WV, a former Vision Shared policy work team, is the only group in West Virginia solely devoted to the mission of advancing TBED.  Imagine West Virginia has supported TechConnect WV since inception because it has identified advanced (fossils) energy research as a key strategic technology asset worthy of investment.  (Click here to review the Executive Summary of TechConnect WV’s Blueprint for advancing technology-based economic development platforms.)

TechConnect WV recently sponsored a forum at the Marshall University Foundation Hall in Huntington to bring together policy and opinion leaders, researchers and entrepreneurs, economic developers and others to discuss and develop strategies for growing the state’s technology economy.  Featured guests included Dr. James P. Clements, President of West Virginia University and Dr. Stephen J. Kopp, President of Marshall University; each summarized an impressive array of research activities taking place at their respective institutions.

A special presentation on “Why Research Parks Matter: Development and Planning for a West Virginia Education, Research & Technology Park” was delivered by Stephen Andre, Program Manager of the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, and Dr. Paul Hill, Vice Chancellor for Science and Research at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.  This briefing provided valuable insights for consideration into how the former Dow Technology Park in South Charleston might be repurposed.  (Click here to review the slides associated with this presentation.)

As provided by TechConnect WV, a brief summary of highlights of the forum include:

  • Senator Rockefeller delivered a video message fully supportive of the growth and potential of WV's technology economy;
  • Marshall University and West Virginia University provide at least $20 in return for every public dollar invested in the schools;
  • Both Marshall and West Virginia Universities are fully committed to growing WV's technology economy;
  • One of the biggest obstacles facing the growth of the technology economy across the state is access to capital so that entrepreneurs, researchers and small companies can develop new products and start new companies;
  • Research, development, and commercialization facilities are absolutely essential for growing the state's technology platforms and its overall economy;
  • West Virginia, indeed, has successful technology entrepreneurs and small companies (eg., Protea Biosciences) but we need more entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial leaders and mentors to advance technology platforms.
  

For more information on the work of Techconnect WV, click here