Bill Woodrum named director of EDA University Center

March 28, 2019

Bill Woodrum, director of entrepreneurship at the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI), is taking on the additional role of director of Accelerate Forward, West Virginia EDA University Center. The mission of the center is to provide research and development tools along with technical assistance to increase business productivity, spur innovation and entrepreneurship, and increase economic diversification.

Housed at RCBI, the center is a partnership between RCBI, Marshall University and Concord University, community and technical colleges, local economic development agencies and chambers of commerce. The center provides a range of business support services to help entrepreneurs and small businesses move ideas from concept to successful commercialization.

“It is an exciting time to be at RCBI,” said Charlotte Weber, director & CEO.  “RCBI’s extensive reach across our country and to every part of West Virginia allows us to be at the forefront of entrepreneurship and start-up activities.”

The statewide EDA University Center has assisted 238 businesses, trained more than 290 individuals, leveraged $10.3 million in private investment, created or retained 94 jobs and increased the number of HUB-certified small businesses by 49 percent. The EDA University Center is funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

“Bill Woodrum’s experience and talent will continue to deliver innovative and collaborative solutions to our growing number of entrepreneurs and small businesses,” Weber said.

RCBI also is home to West Virginia’s Business Accelerator, a member of the nationally and internationally recognized Global Accelerator Network (GAN). Through this partnership, RCBI has provided more than $500,000 in GAN perks to more than 100 business startups. GAN perks include data storage, computer software, web development assistance and e-commerce tools from companies such as IBM, Amazon, Rackspace, Shopify, Swipe and more. In addition, RCBI houses the largest early stage funding program in the region.

“I am pleased to be a part of the RCBI/Marshall University family,” Woodrum said. “This opportunity will allow me to leverage my experience to help a wide variety of entrepreneurs in West Virginia and throughout the region.”

Woodrum has been at RCBI for nearly five years. He has worked in higher education, focusing on the fields of community and economic development for more than 25 years. He is a graduate of Marshall University and The Ohio State University, where he earned a master’s degree in Human and Community Resource Development. Woodrum also will continue to serve as director of Agricultural Innovations at RCBI.