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Statewide report finds region’s technology industry falls short of potential

The Roanoke-Blacksburg region has all the makings of a booming technology ecosystem, with a research university, federal grants, young talent, elected officials set on building a future-proof economy.

However, the only thing missing, a powerful new coalition of industry leaders say, is the booming technology ecosystem.

Things are trending in the right direction with the growth of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, RAMP business accelerator and a handful of startup home runs.

The region has made strides in recent decades, Valleys Innovation Council Interim Executive Director Greg Feldmann said. But it still underperforms on key metrics compared to similar communities elsewhere.

There could be more startups here, and more investors to help them get started, industry leaders say. There could be more patent activity at Virginia Tech, and spinouts licensing that technology. There could be more skilled graduates choosing to stay in the area, and large companies to employ them.

The Valleys Innovation Council, or VIC, launched one year ago with a mission of addressing what it sees as unmet potential for the local high-tech industry.

It’s not the first of its kind, as other regional organizations have started up and fizzled out, most recently the Roanoke-Blacksburg Innovation Network.

But the recently formed group is led by an influential board of directors with representatives from Virginia Tech, Carilion, community colleges, venture capitalists and company executives.

To read much more about the situation and what action is being taken, check out the full article.