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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.6 Million to Establish Business Incubator in Charleston, West Virginia

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.6 million grant to the University of Charleston, Charleston, West Virginia, to establish the Downtown Innovation Hub, a local business incubator.

This project will assist small businesses to create new jobs and economic opportunities. This EDA grant will be matched with $397,500 in local funds, and is expected to help create 95 jobs, retain 195 jobs and generate $6.3 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“President Biden is committed to ensuring that our communities are provided with the resources they need to diversify and grow their economies,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “The new Downtown Innovation Hub will provide a place for entrepreneurs to develop new industries and create new jobs for the people of West Virginia.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting locally-developed strategies designed to stimulate entrepreneurial activity,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This project will bolster the diversification of Charleston’s economy, leading to new, good-paying jobs.”

“The EDA continues to be a strong partner for West Virginia, and today’s announcement is great news for the University of Charleston and the entire Kanawha County community. The new Downtown Innovation Hub will support sustainable economic growth throughout the region that will create good-paying jobs and spur economic opportunity,” said Senator Joe Manchin. “I look forward to seeing the positive impacts of this funding for the Charleston community, our small businesses and the entire Mountain State.”

“West Virginia’s small businesses are truly the backbone of our local economies,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito. “Our small businesses deserve to operate in an environment that fosters and encourages growth, and the creation of the Downtown Innovation Hub in Charleston will help do just that. Through my leadership role on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, I have worked to increase EDA’s involvement in our communities, bringing critical funding into our state that creates and retains jobs by attracting private investment. Today’s announcement is welcome news, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have in Kanawha County.”

“The Downtown Innovation Hub will contribute to job creation and provide support to West Virginia small businesses,” said Congressman Alex X. Mooney (WV-02). “This will provide a great opportunity for Charleston’s business community to enhance their skills and strengthen the local economy.”

This project is funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) initiative, through which EDA awards funds on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal. ACC projects support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead 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 invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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