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Meet RAMP director Lisa Garcia – Fall Cohort Applications now open 900 507 RAMP - Regional Accelerator

Meet RAMP director Lisa Garcia – Fall Cohort Applications now open

Meet RAMP’s new director — and Verge VP of Entrepreneurial Development — Lisa Garcia as she invites aspiring technology and biotech entrepreneurs to apply to our Fall Cohort.

Verge Welcomes New Vice President of Entrepreneurial Development and Director of RAMP 1024 791 RAMP - Regional Accelerator

Verge Welcomes New Vice President of Entrepreneurial Development and Director of RAMP

Verge, the parent organization of RAMP and RBTC, is thrilled to announce the hiring of a new Vice President of Entrepreneurial Development and Director of RAMP.

Lisa Garcia is expanding her role with RAMP, beginning July 1, bringing a wealth of educational and entrepreneurial knowledge to the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program. She’s a familiar face to the organization, which just celebrated its fifth anniversary in the region.

“She knows what it takes to help companies begin to commercialize technology and propel their ideas forward,” said Erin Burcham, President of Verge and Executive Director of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. “We can’t wait to see what the next phase of RAMP looks like with Lisa leading the charge.”

RAMP is a 12-week regional business accelerator for STEM startups located in Roanoke, VA.  A non-profit, RAMP’s mission is to propel high-potential startups in the Roanoke-Blacksburg region to expand and create jobs in the STEM-H fields. RAMP is an affiliate of Verge, a collaborative strategic alliance established to grow the region’s innovation economy.

“Lisa has been deeply involved on the entrepreneur programming side of RAMP since our first cohort,” said Verge board member Kevin Bloomfield. “Lisa’s passion for entrepreneurs is obvious. She brings a deep understanding of the I-Corps and Lean Launch programs, she has important connections throughout our region, including Virginia Tech, and she has long-coached many start-up founders. The future of RAMP is bright, and we are excited to have Lisa lead us to even greater heights.”

Garcia is an educator, business and executive coach, and passionate technology advocate. She has served as the instructor for the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program, where the mission is to commercialize technology developed inside universities. She is also an Instructor at Virginia Tech, where she works to empower the university’s entrepreneurial ecosystem in its role as a partner of the Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Hubs program.

Additionally, she serves as an adjunct instructor in the Pamplin College of Business, teaching members of the Innovate LLC, where she also serves as a board member. She has also taught in the Mechanical Engineering Department of the College of Engineering for students focused on product development, leadership and research focus, and ideation.

Focused on the fuzzy front end of innovation and business and sometimes professional development, Garcia has worked with the founders of startups and small and medium-sized enterprises to expand client companies’ social and financial capital, business development, and business intelligence.

Current RAMP Director Mary Miller is set to retire at the end of June.


Verge is a collaborative strategic alliance established to grow the region’s innovation economy, technology and life sciences sectors, and the supporting professional communities. It aligns the strengths and programming efforts of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC) and the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP). Verge serves GO Virginia Region 2 and works to form collaborations with government, business, academia, and other organizations to advance the region and grow a thriving innovation economy.

DEMO DAY is June 16 1024 575 RAMP - Regional Accelerator

DEMO DAY is June 16

Please join us June 16, 5:00-8:00 pm, for DEMO DAY when the two companies in our Spring 2022 Health & Life Sciences Cohort pitch their business ideas! We are thrilled to bring back a few RAMP Alumni who will also be sharing their exciting updates with us!

The event will be followed by a reception where you will have the opportunity to speak with each company.

RAMP alumnus awarded NIH Grant 800 597 RAMP - Regional Accelerator

RAMP alumnus awarded NIH Grant

Congratulations to RAMP alumnus Dr. Robert Gourdie who has received a prestigious National Institute of Health NHLBI R35 Outstanding Investigator grant award!

The grant will provide up to seven years of continuous support and up to $700,000 a year for Dr. Gourdie and his lab at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC. From this lab, Dr. Gourdie and Spencer Marsh spun out Tiny Cargo, which extracts exosomes from milk to serve as drug-delivery devices for people with heart disease. Tiny Cargo participated in RAMP’s Health & Life Sciences Cohort in Spring 2021.

The intent of the R35 program is to free up NHLBI-funded scientists to pursue their research interests without being encumbered with continuous grant writing and narrow project-based goals, Gourdie writes.

“I feel very fortunate to receive this award. I wish to offer my thanks to my wife and family, my lab, my colleagues at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech Carilion, my scientific collaborators and NHBLI program staff for their support and help. I also wish to express my profound gratitude to U.S. taxpayers for their support of the NIH and its important mission to improve the health and well being of Americans.”

Mentor Month Appreciation 1024 768 RAMP - Regional Accelerator

Mentor Month Appreciation

In honor of January being “Mentor Month,” please join us in thanking all of RAMP’s dedicated mentors who selflessly give of their time and talents to help the next generation of tech entrepreneurs.

They include: Mark Lucas, Russ Ellis, Victor Iannello , Doug Juanarena, Cynthia Rancourt, Greg Feldmann, Geoff McCarty, Chris Moore, Bart Wilner, Cynthia and Mark Lawrence, Kelly Woolwine, Jim McAden, John Schott, Dan Sable, Troy Keiser, Cathie Brown, Tom Piccariello, Kevin Bloomfield, Leon Harris, William Fralin, NextUp Solutions, Allan Tsang (88 Owls), Dan Summerlin and Fourd Kemper (Woods Rogers PLC), Danielle Hart (VA Career Works), James Ramey (VTC Seed Fund), Member One Federal Credit Union, Carilion Clinic, Brad Denardo and Harvey Brookins (National Bank of Blacksburg), Lisa Garcia, Mike Abbott, Kody Cobb, Tom England, Cheryl Giggetts, Jill Loope, Scott Pleasants, and Tom Rowley.