RCBI funds innovations of 6 W.Va. entrepreneurs, small businesses

Dec. 15, 2020

The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University is continuing to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses as they innovate and expand markets during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

RCBI has announced $42,000 in early-stage assistance to six additional West Virginia businesses and entrepreneurs. The latest awards support the development of a cross section of new products with commercial potential.

Including this latest round of seed funding, RCBI has awarded more than $765,000 to 189 entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses since 2012.

Early stage assistance helps small businesses and startups design and produce prototypes of new products, expand production and reach new markets, said Charlotte Weber, RCBI Director & CEO.

Early-stage funding initiatives at RCBI have generated more than $114 million in sales for state manufacturers and created at least 403 jobs, according to economic impact analyses by Marshall University.

New award recipients are:

  • Joey Crookshanks of Cabell County – $5,000 for design engineering and multiple prototypes of an environmental soil-testing device
  • Wiltshire Creative of Cabell County – $10,000 to design and prototype a specialized outdoor pizza oven/grill
  • HellBender Lures of Cabell County – $8,000 to produce molds for lures that focus on big-game fishing
  • Iyad Hijazi of Cabell County – $4,000 for design engineering and prototypes of molds for a falafel burger patty press
  • Avie, LLC of Kanawha County – $10,000 to produce prototypes of a soffit cutting device and conduct a lean analysis of the effectiveness of the technique
  • Matthew Price of Raleigh County – $5,000 to develop a mechanical apparatus to improve the efficiency of powerline installation

To learn more about RCBI’s early stage funding initiatives, visit www.rcbi.org/go/esfo.

Early-stage funding initiatives are administered through RCBI’s Appalachian Hatchery and EDA University Center programs and made possible through the financial support of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. Appalachian Hatchery is part of POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization), a multi-agency initiative that delivers federal resources to help communities affected by job losses in coal mining and related industries.

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