Commercializing Homegrown IP
Roanoke’s Innovation Corridor is home to thriving biotech and software start-ups, with an entrepreneurship ecosystem that continues to mature each year. Located in the heart of the Corridor on South Jefferson Street, the Regional Acceleration and Mentorship Program (RAMP) is a business accelerator program that propels high potential startups in the STEM-H fields.
Past RAMP Cohort Companies Include a Variety of Inventive Tech, SaaS, Biomedical, and Engineering Startups
- Acomhal Research, Inc. – Founded by researchers based in the Fralin Biomedical Institute, Acomhal strives to develop and commercialize a drug that targets glioblastoma cells;
- Chorda Pharma – Analgesic pharmaceutical startup that aims to relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis;
- BEAM Diagnostics – Dedicated to creating an easy to use Substance abuse screening app;
- Leone BioVentures, LLC – Bioengineering startup striving to scale up a bio-pesticide product;
- Flewid Capital – Blockchain fintech startup; and
- Skyphos – Micro 3D printing company that offers immediate prototyping applications.
To stimulate investment in the region, Carilion Clinic and the Virginia Tech Foundation have launched two funds intended to boost angel and venture capital support for startups and entrepreneurs. Launched in 2017, the $15 million VTC Innovation Fund invests up to $2 million late seed / series A equity or convertible debt investments in life science and tech companies that demonstrate high growth and high-caliber management. Carilion and the Foundation partnered again in 2018 to launch a $7 million seed fund to help encourage more research spin-outs while boosting the local technology ecosystem.
Local Resources for Entrepreneurs
- Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC): Roanoke’s SBDC provides free professional business counseling to local entrepreneurs.
- Regional Acceleration and Mentorship Program (RAMP): Located downtown, RAMP’s mission is to propel high-potential startups in the Roanoke-Blacksburg region to create jobs in the STEM-H fields.
- Roanoke Regional Partnership: The Roanoke Regional Partnership serves as the point of contact for businesses looking to relocate and expand.
- CoLab Roanoke: Located in Grandin Village, just minutes from the Virginia Tech Carilion campus, the CoLab offers professional co-working and meeting space for entrepreneurs.
- Virginia Enterprise Zone Grants: Downtown Roanoke and land parcels along Jefferson St. fall within the Virginia Enterprise Zone, which means property owners and business owners could qualify for State incentives, including a Real Property Investment Grant or Job Creation Grant.