Valleys Innovation Council (VIC), Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC), and the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP) today announced they are joining forces in a strategic alliance. The new alliance will drive initiatives that support the region’s innovation economy and technology community.
Greg Feldmann, serving as the CEO of the aligned organizations, said, “This alliance creates a welcoming regional ‘front door’ from all three groups—VIC, RBTC and RAMP. Together, we are better positioned to connect the region’s technology community and support programs to innovators, founders, and funders to drive plans and activities to support growth of technology-based companies. The alliance will also foster partnering opportunities with regional businesses, entrepreneurial support organizations, the education sector, and local, state and federal governments.”
John Phillips will remain President of RBTC and Dr. Mary Miller will remain Director of RAMP. Dr. Meredith Hundley will serve as Director of Research, Planning, and Grants. As CEO, Greg Feldmann will oversee the operations of VIC, RBTC, and RAMP.
All three organizations will work together to unify and coordinate efforts. Together, they will be more efficient, effective, and capable of mobilizing resources, advocating for changes, and tracking progress towards goals and key performance indicators. Sponsors, donors, and grantors may earmark their support to specific projects among the three entities.
Feldmann added, “Working as one team, we will also focus on attracting interest and funding for the region’s existing and budding industry clusters—such as emerging technologies like autonomous systems, cybersecurity, and blockchain, IT, advanced manufacturing, and health and life sciences.”
The alliance’s work covers Region 2 of GO Virginia—bringing opportunities to build the innovation economy and engage in the technology community from Pulaski County to the Alleghany Highlands, through the Roanoke Valley and east to Lynchburg and its surrounding counties.
Commenting on the structure the alliance creates, Doug Juanarena, former VIC Co-Chair New River Valley, and Victor Iannello, former VIC Co-Chair Roanoke Valley, said, “The alliance increases VIC’s ability to be the strategic planner and connection point to resources and support organizations. We expect to see existing technology companies expand and new ones start, grow, and thrive in the region. We also believe this alliance will increase our region’s competitiveness for future funding under the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority and GO Virginia, as well as from federal and private foundation sources.”
Kevin Bloomfield, former RBTC Co-Chair, and John Phillips, President of RBTC said, “RBTC’s role will remain a membership-driven entity and will continue to be the voice and home for the region’s vibrant technology community. This alliance will allow even more options to partner with organizations to deliver professional development opportunities through seminars, webinars, events, and mentorship programs. We’ll work to engage our tech company leaders and their employees and to establish connections to organizations and resources that can help businesses grow and prosper.”
Dr. Mary Miller, Director of RAMP said, “We’re delighted to align with these groups and the result will be enriched programming and mentorship for our cohorts. This partnership will further strengthen the value of RAMP as a business accelerator.”
Virginia Western Community College President, Dr. Robert H. Sandel said, “As one of the founding community partners of RAMP, and a long-time supporter of RBTC and VIC, we continue to believe we can grow companies and keep talent in this region, whether it’s in information technology, advanced manufacturing, biosciences, or other entrepreneurial efforts. The strategic alliance between RBTC, VIC, and RAMP should give RAMP an even greater ability to make an impact on growing our regional economy.”
A unified board of directors and an aligned management team will work to execute the alliance’s coordinated strategies. VIC and RBTC have a strong history of working together on grants and funding for RAMP, as well as other activities. Bloomfield and Juanarena will serve as co-chairs of the strategic alliance’s board.
Feldmann added, “As part of the alignment path, we are also evaluating the current organizations’ websites and names and how best to identify the alliance with a new name that imparts its overall mission, structure, and geography. We expect to start this project before September.”
The alliance will continue to co-locate with an office in the CRC in Blacksburg and at RAMP in Roanoke.