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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. Economic Development Administration Invests Nearly $774,000 to Create New Employment Opportunities in West Virginia Coal Community

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) today announced a $773,750 grant to Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, West Virginia to establish an incubator facility that will focus on spurring and supporting rural entrepreneurship. According to grantee estimates, this project will create 180 jobs and generate more than $14 million in private investment over the next nine years.

“EDA understands that a great idea can happen anywhere, and the agency is committed to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in rural communities,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams. “The EDA investment announced today will provide new opportunities for the people of rural West Virginia and support local efforts to diversify the economy to become more competitive in the global economy.”

EDA’s investment will help fund the construction of a business incubator facility on the first floor of the former Broaddus Hospital on the campus of Alderson Broaddus University. The new Center for Rural Entrepreneurship (CenRE) will serve the seven rural counties of Barbour, Braxton, Randolph, Upshur, Lewis, Gilmer, and Tucker. CenRE will be a state-of-the-art facility, providing incubation space to tenants and services to resident companies and other companies across the seven county area. According to the grantee, CenRE will allow the university to provide a "semi-virtual" business incubator facility to provide additional and alternate job opportunities in a region devastated by the loss of coal-related employment. Additional EDA resources are available for communities impacted by changes to the coal industry through the Obama Administration’s Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative.

This is just one among many efforts EDA is undertaking to promote entrepreneurship in rural regions. EDA recently announced its 2015 Regional Innovation Strategies program, which, in an effort to promote and support inclusion, is expected to award up to $2.5 million of a total $8 million to projects that provide services to rural areas, and applicants who create specific outreach plans to populations and communities that are underrepresented in innovation and entrepreneurship.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The Economic Development Administration marks 50 years of public service, leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.