Innovation is Our Future

RAMP + RBTC + Verge

Individual and corporate support of the Verge alliance will help create a stronger technology funding pipeline, jobs and talent investment, enhanced visibility for partners, and lead conversations in the industry.

Verge Capital Campaign

What is the Verge Alliance?

Verge is a strategic coalition of organizations that lead and drive public and private collaboration on innovative projects in the Roanoke-Blacksburg region of Virginia that expand to the state level and beyond. The Verge alliance, including the Regional Accelerator & Mentoring Program (RAMP) and Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC), provides programming, coaching, talent attraction/development, and connectivity to elevate the greater technology and biotechnology sectors in Region 2.

Goals and Objectives

  1. Generate a 3-year funding pipeline of $1 million annually to support the connectivity of innovative organizations in the Verge alliance – from inception of entrepreneurial ambitions to a matured business model to long-term ecosystem development, and everything in between.
  2. Attract 3,000 employees to the technology and life science innovation industry in Verge’s operating region over the next three years.
  3. Enhance visibility for regional partners of the Verge alliance in the biotech and technology sectors.
  4. Continue to position Verge as a leader in market intelligence in the areas of technology and innovation opportunities as a statewide partner to organizations such as VIPC and GO Virginia.

Campaign Strategies

1. Lead regional projects to increase the funding pipeline for innovation investment leveraging partnerships with regional partners.
  • Connect all Verge affiliates as a network to show connectivity from entrepreneurship (RAMP) to business engagement (RBTC) to long-term innovation investment (Verge)
  • Serve as a connector between the technology ecosystem and opportunity to commercialize technology and ideas.
  • Lead collaborative regional projects to support innovation economy, infrastructure and commercialization, such as labs in Blacksburg and Roanoke
  • Create visibility for regional partners in technology
  • Annual report showing progress and results, adjustments to goals, and key leadership
2. Create pathways from startup to enterprise for companies in the innovation economy, technology and life sciences sectors, and supporting the overall ecosystem.
  • Expand programming to include more entrepreneurial, business, and professional development in all of Region 2
  • Expand cluster-based cohort model of RAMP to other technologies
  • Develop the Innovation Studio to propel startups to the next level
3. Recruit talent and grow professional development.
  • Design robust tech talent attraction/retention program to include a talent portal/member resources on the RBTC website with a revised job board, and attraction-focused content that companies can use in recruiting
  • Hire talent director within RBTC to help members with talent attraction/recruiting
  • Develop web presence for sector-specific talent campaigns that members of the Verge coalition can use, such as biotech and technology
  • Develop out-of-market search marketing campaigns to showcase central Virginia region as a destination to live and work
  • Grow technology employment by 1,000 jobs annually
  • Work to retain more regional graduates with talent-based program in biotechnology

Why it Matters: Technology Industry by the Numbers

  • 781,648 total population in GO Virginia Region 2 footprint
  • 362,604 total employment in GO Virginia Region 2 priority industry clusters: Food and Beverage Manufacturing, Information and Emerging Technologies, Life Sciences and Healthcare, and Manufacturing
  • $41,152 median income level (GO Virginia Region 2)
  • 3.1% unemployment rate (GO Virginia Region 2)
  • $8 billion annual life sciences (biotechnology) contribution to Virginia economy (Virginia Bio)
  • 26,545 total employment in life sciences sector (Virginia Bio)
  • $77,848 average annual wage of a life sciences worker (Virginia Bio)
  • 1,451 life sciences companies in Virginia (Virginia Bio)
  • $90 million investment by the Commonwealth for Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC
  • $1.5 million combined investment by the Commonwealth and partners for RAMP
  • $155,000 project with GO Virginia and VTCRC to design labs and provide capacity study
  • $30 million VTC Innovation Fund, VTC Seed Fund, Carilion Clinic Innovation, and VT/Carilion Clinic POC

You can support the regional innovation ecosystem

With over 45 tech and biotech start-ups supported so far, we want to expand our resources to support and connect pre-seed entrepreneurs, as well as those exiting the RAMP in residency programming. The Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP), now supports startup companies in the health and life sciences space as they prepare for post-RAMP programs like Johnson & Johnson’s JLABS.

Partnerships with programs like SBDC’s ICAP assist Virginia-based technology and innovation-driven startups with pre-RAMP mentorship and services. The Verge alliance is also working with JLABS to better understand their needs in building out a health and life sciences pre-acceleration program. Exit RAMP support includes on-going programming, mentorship, connection to mentors, annual memberships to include RBTC and Virginia Bio, and network building events.

The acceleration resources and connections we offer are free or low cost to our entrepreneurs and we never take equity, so our organization relies on grant funding and private donations to support our work. Thank you for helping us grow our innovation economy here in the Roanoke-Blacksburg region!

Other Involvement Opportunities Available