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Region of Innovation

A culture of innovation in a region that created its own renaissance

The New River and Roanoke Valleys provide an environment where innovation-driven businesses can start and thrive. Whether you sketched out your big idea on a napkin at a coffee shop or packed up and moved cross-country, the Valleys offer the place, people, and commitment for success. Check out our 2019 Innovation Ecosystem in Review Report for more details.

The area — which includes Blacksburg and Roanoke — provides:
  • A collaborative, business-friendly culture
  • A motivated, skilled, and educated workforce, fueled by seven colleges and universities
  • A place where careers and companies can start here, grow here, stay here

Roanoke Valley

Once known as a railroad town with a hospital, Roanoke is now home to a highly-competitive medical school and a premier biomedical research institute with a top-notch neuroscience program tackling everything from addiction and substance abuse to regenerative/restorative medicine. Roanoke is also a hotbed of software and engineering innovation, with growing companies across the valley.

We’ve gone from a train city to a brain city.”

—Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea
Politico 2016
Latest Innovation News in the Roanoke Valley

New River Valley

In Blacksburg, Virginia Tech is among the top research institutions in the country, with more than $520 million in annual research expenditures in 2016. The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg is home to 180+ research, technology, and support companies such as Torc and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). VTTI has multiple testing areas for next-generation transportation technologies including its Smart Road (shown above) and a 400-acre FAA-approved aerial testing space for drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Other innovative firms dot the downtown and industrial park areas throughout the New River Valley. Examples include cybersecurity companies like FoxGuard Solutions in Christiansburg and advanced manufacturing companies like Volvo Trucks in Pulaski and NanoSonic, Inc. in Giles County.

The relative abundance of science and high-tech firms makes the Blacksburg area’s job market unique.”

— Sharon Scott
Executive Director
Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce
Roanoke Times 2018
Latest Innovation News in the New River Valley

Higher Education

The New River and Roanoke Valleys benefit from having multiple colleges and universities that help produce the talent that innovative companies need.

That list includes Virginia Tech, Radford University, Roanoke College, Hollins University, Jefferson College of Health Sciences, New River Community College, and Virginia Western Community College.

Research…is the catalyst for economic prosperity in the communities we serve.”

— Timothy Sands
President, Virginia Tech
2018 State of the University Address
Latest Innovation Higher Education News in the Region

Reclaim your commute

The national average commute time is 25 minutes. The valleys’ are shorter: 19.6 minutes in Roanoke, and 20.4 minutes in the New River Valley

We are staking our claim as one of the top innovative corridors. Now’s your time to be a part of it.

VIC, RBTC and RAMP Form Strategic Alliance

Valleys Innovation Council (VIC), Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC), and the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP) announce they are joining forces in a strategic alliance. The new alliance will drive initiatives that support the region’s innovation economy and technology community.

Hope to Walk: Giving the gift of mobility

Tapping his 30 years of experience in orthotics and prosthetics, Phil Johnson developed a prosthetic leg that can be built for about $65. Since the non-profit launched in 2015, Hope to Walk has provided prosthetic legs to more than 300 amputees in Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti and Vietnam.

VPT, Inc.

VPT’s products used in everything from GPS satellites and the International Space Station to submarines, helicopters, and tanks.