Braxton County Development Authority and WVHTC Foundation announce opening of central West Virginia business incubator

The Braxton County Development Authority (BCDA) and the West Virginia High Technology Consortium (WVHTC) Foundation have announced the opening of the Central West Virginia Innovator, a small technology business incubator designed to support the growth and development of the technology sector in central West Virginia. The facility will also link rural technology-related entrepreneurs with the resources of the North Central West Virginia Innovator, an incubator facility managed by the WVHTC Foundation in the I-79 Technology Park in Fairmont.

The BCDA has entered into a unique partnership with the WVHTC Foundation to operate the incubator, which will house up to seven companies. These companies are eligible to receive a broad array of services that will be provided on a continuing basis including assistance with business planning, market analysis, marketing, management, raising capital, product development, intellectual property, operations, human resources, regulatory issues, accounting and finance, legal, information management systems, administrative and strategic alliances. In addition, tenants at the Central West Virginia Innovator will only pay $150 per month for office space, a deeply discounted rate for a facility of this type, and will have access to a conference room, computers, copier and other types of business support systems.

“This project is part of our continuing efforts to diversify the economy here in Braxton County,” said BCDA President John Jordan. “With our designation by the state as a research and technology zone, we can now offer technology companies many reasons to locate here including tax incentives, management assistance and financial support.”

In August 2006, the BCDA completed construction of the 30,000-square-foot Braxton Technology Center in Flatwoods, a facility intended to house technology-related companies. The BCDA and WVHTC Foundation acknowledged that the partnership emphasizes the need to diversify the state’s economic base by working toward the growth of 21st century jobs — those that are technology-based and rooted in communities that provide an excellent quality of life.

“Strengthening the economy with a diverse market is a mandatory component for any economic development initiative,” said James L. Estep, president and CEO, WVHTC Foundation. “The WVHTC Foundation is very pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the BCDA in pursuit of this important economic development goal. I believe the establishment of the Flatwoods incubator demonstrates an insightful and proactive move on the part of the BCDA. While it is only a piece of the economic development puzzle and will take time to produce results, it is nonetheless a key component and investment.” The project was recently awarded a $175,000 grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation for both operations and capital improvements. The Benedum Foundation supports the use of technology to assist in the community and economic development of West Virginia communities. In addition, USDA awarded the project $95,000 through its Rural Business Enterprise grant program to assist in the build-out of the space in order keep rents affordable for the tenants.

Other tenants in the facility include the Triune Group, a software development firm, and the Rural Emergency Trauma Institute, which will operate a statewide trauma coordination communications center.

For additional information about the incubator and the Braxton Technology Center, contact the BCDA at 1-866-832-3535 or at info@braxtoncountywv.org.

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