The CAER has developed and delivered an updated technology based economic plan to the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance. This plan is the next step in the integration of the work plans of the two regional economic development organizations.
While there is no simple formula to developing a successful technology-based region, research on technology clusters points to at least five elements that are critical to building a technology-based economy.
- Intellectual infrastructure (R&D).
- Spillovers of knowledge (commercialization).
- Technically skilled workforce.
- Access to Capital.
- Entrepreneurial culture.
This plan includes recommendations for all five of these elements and are summarized below
- Establish the position of innovation ecosystem builder for the region.
- Develop and manage a diverse partnership network in support of TBED initiatives and measure the impact of this network on TBED outcomes.
- STEM Workforce – support the leadership of VA Career Works and CVCC and their workforce development plans in the region
- Prioritize and strengthen relationships with regional workforce partners (LU, SBC, RC, UL, STEM Academy, others)
- Leverage industry partnerships to expand capacity for workforce training and development; e.g. capstone and work-based learning (WBL) projects for target sectors
- develop a strong understanding of the science and technologies in the region
- Entrepreneurship – use physical spaces to build community
- Establish a regional entrepreneurial center – EPIC (Empowering People, Innovation, and Commerce) Center
- Explore expanded uses for the Lynchburg Business Development Center (LBDC) facility
- Support for local maker space and co-working space organizations
- Create a technology advisory group (E-TAG) for LRBA
- Develop and maintain mentorship network of subject matter experts (SME’s)
- Access to Capital – focus on education of existing opportunities and connecting to resources
- Promote education and awareness of investment opportunities and process
- Collaborate with potential regional partners on a regional TBED funding network
- Establish a regional revolving loan fund
- Develop and maintain a proactive grants opportunity database
- R&D and Commercialization – build and maintain networks around target technology sectors
- Develop and maintain a database of regional companies in the key target sector clusters
- Identify and support initiatives that build targeted Technology Centers