StartUp WV Manufacturing Program Announces First Class of Entrepreneur Awardees

StartUp WV Manufacturing Program Announces First Class of Entrepreneur Awardees

Charleston, WV (March 5, 2012) – Offering the tools and technical assistance to take an entrepreneur’s idea from concept to prototype with the goal of creating jobs for West Virginians, the StartUp WV Manufacturing program today announced its first class of seven awardees during a press conference at the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI) on Marshall University’s South Charleston campus, organization representatives announced.

West Virginia Department of Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette, along with representatives of RCBI and TechConnect West Virginia – who have partnered to jointly operate the program – made the announcement.

Firms selected in this first class include: Craft-Totes by Bell, Dunbar WV; MarTek, Big Chimney WV; Extreme Endeavors, Philippi WV; Carbon Fibers, Barboursville WV; Wallace Metal Works, Charleston WV; Floor Cam, Charleston WV; and, HCS Technologies, Morgantown WV.

“StartUp West Virginia Manufacturing will aid startup ventures and small manufacturers in the use of high-technology manufacturing tools and processes to create new manufacturing jobs and to commercialize products,” Burdette said. “For those entrepreneurs and start-up firms selected to participate, the program will help them find the expertise they need to turn ideas for new products or processes into reality.”

Charlotte Weber, Director and CEO of RCBI, said, “Under the program, awardees will utilize RCBI’s advanced manufacturing technology center, its experienced staff and wide range of state-of-the-art equipment. Specifically, we will be able to assist awardees in the concept-to-reality portion through our recently announced Design Works labs, which will help jumpstart the idea, turn it into a prototype and then move it forward to the production phase.”

Anne Barth, Executive Director of TechConnect West Virginia, said, “This program was created to assist with product development, the most challenging phase of the business development process. Through StartUp WV Manufacturing, we will help entrepreneurs and start-up firms create their products and through that, jobs and economic opportunity for West Virginia.”

The program is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and funding from the State of West Virginia. The StartUp WV Manufacturing program will continue to consider applications on a rolling basis and businesses or individuals are encouraged to apply. For more information on the program or for an application, visit www.techconnectwv.com or www.rcbi.org, or call 800.469.RCBI (7224).

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