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 incubator 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
- Fralin Biomedical researchers’ startup that strives to develop and commercialize a drug that targets glioblastoma cells (Acomhal Research Inc.)
- Analgesic pharmaceutical startup that aims to relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis (Chorda Pharma)
- Substance abuse screening app (BEAM Diagnostics)
- Bioengineering startup striving to scale up a bio-pesticide product (Leone BioVentures, LLC)
- Blockchain fintech startup (Flewid Capital)
- Micro 3D printing company that offers immediate prototyping applications (Skyphos).
To stimulate investment in local startups, Carilion Clinic and the Virginia Tech Foundation have launched two funds. 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.
- 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 Street fall within the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, which means property owners and business owners could qualify for state and local incentives, including the Real Property Investment Grant and/or the Job Creation Grant.
Development Opportunities in Roanoke’s Innovation Corridor
Four key incentive programs are offered to developers and business owners in the Innovation Corridor. Roanoke’s Innovation Corridor is in an Opportunity Zone, a program designed to encourage long-term private investments.
In addition, Downtown Roanoke and land parcels along Jefferson Street fall within the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, which means property owners and business owners could qualify for state and local incentives, including the Real Property Investment Grant and/or the Job Creation Grant. Certain rehabilitation projects may be eligible for State and/or Federal Historic Tax Credits to help reduce development costs. Lastly, property owners who rescue, repair, or rehabilitate qualified older buildings in the City may be eligible for substantial relief estate tax relief through the City’s Real Estate Tax Exemption program.