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RAMP project to expand with help of federal grant

After nurturing 24 startup businesses over the past four years, an acceleration program aimed at advancing high-tech innovation in Western Virginia will soon double its annual output.

The expansion of the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program, better known as RAMP, will be funded by a nearly $1 million federal grant and matching resources from a variety of universities, localities and organizations.

“This grant will give us the runway we need to build additional capacity and support the entrepreneurial community at every stage of their development,” RAMP director Mary Miller said in a recent announcement.

Valleys Innovation Council, a nonprofit group devoted to growing the region’s innovation economy, received a $982,422 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The funds, along with local contributions, will be used for a $2 million, three-year program to add a second cohort — focused on health and life sciences — at RAMP’s downtown Roanoke location.

“We’ll effectively double the number of companies coming through per year,” Greg Feldmann, CEO of an alliance that includes Valleys Innovation Council and the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, said in an email.

For this year’s cohort, there were about five times as many applicants as there were slots available, Feldmann said.

To learn more, check out the whole article below.