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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 tech 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.

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 grow without ever moving away

Roanoke Valley

Once known as a railroad town with a hospital, Roanoke is now home to a highly-competitive medical school and a $77 million 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

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.

there are companies here that are just as amazing.”

— Sharon Scott
Executive Director
Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce
Roanoke Times 2018

Higher education

The Roanoke and New River 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.

Many of the best things happening at Virginia Tech start with research… it is the catalyst for economic prosperity in the communities we serve.”

— Timothy Sands
President
Virginia Tech University

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.

Techlab: Formulating technology

TECHLAB now produces rapid, non-invasive diagnostics for intestinal inflammation, bacterial infection, and parasitology. The company’s in vitro diagnostics for enteric diseases help determine whether patients have C. diff, E. coli, protozoan parasites, inflammatory bowel disease, or irritable bowel syndrome.

Torc Robotics: Creating technology to make driving safer

For more than a decade, Torc’s research and development, engineering and consulting services have helped leaders in a wide range of industries put advanced robotics and on- and off-road self-driving automobile technologies to work.

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.