On Tuesday, our partners in Roanoke-Blacksburg (VA) officially rolled out the Roanoke-Blacksburg Innovation Blueprint–the result of 18 months of thinking and strategizing about how to best capitalize on the many innovation assets in the Roanoke and the New River Valleys. This effort was unique in many ways–it was one of the first times that the two primary communities (Roanoke and Blacksburg) came together to jointly plan around how to build a stronger technology economy. Similarly, the Blueprint effort was unique in that it is funded, managed, and implemented by local business leaders. It has received no public money and the Steering Council is led by leading local business owners and entrepreneurs.
There are many exciting things happening in the region. The Innovation Blueprint rollout was hosted by one of the more exciting local institutions: The Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. VTCRI, which has been operating since September 2010, is bringing world class researchers and new ideas to Roanoke and beyond. Our event unveiled another exciting new initative as well—a new $15-20 million venture fund for investments in fast growing local firms and for firms seeking to relocate to the Roanoke-Blacksburg region. You can learn more about the fund and the Innovation Blueprint here.