U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) announced today that the Marshall University Research Corporation has received a $1.5 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to launch a business incubator.
The incubator, known as Appalachian Hatchery, aims to help existing businesses that are part of the coal supply chain. They will help them adopt new technologies to improve their manufacturing, including 3D printing. They will also provide continuing education, training programs, and other connections among small and large businesses.
The project is expected to help create 40 new businesses and 125 new jobs while retaining 250 existing jobs.
“West Virginia’s brightest days are ahead, and this grant will help our state diversify our economy and put new technologies to work for us. This funding will help support businesses as they focus on advanced manufacturing technologies and the jobs of the future. Marshall University is leading the way by using existing infrastructure to help create jobs and support small businesses, and I congratulate them on receiving this important grant,” Rep. Jenkins said.
Marshall President Jerome Gilbert said this program will diversify the state’s economy.
“The Appalachian Hatchery, a program of the Robert C. Byrd Institute, will serve manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and other individuals in West Virginia’s 20 southernmost counties. This program will allow us to bring our extensive service capacity to bear on those directly and indirectly impacted by the decline in the coal economy. The Appalachian Hatchery is an integrated network of partners, including Advantage Valley, Southern Community and Technical College, the McDowell County Career and Technology Center, AST2, the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, and local economic development organizations. We thank the ARC, the Economic Development Authority and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation for their support of our economic development capacities and look forward to working with them to promote a stronger, more diversified West Virginia,” President Gilbert said.
“These investments capitalize on the growing momentum for a diverse economy in Appalachia,” ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl said. “They are strategic, collaborative and impactful plans to make West Virginia and the entire Appalachian region more competitive in technology, manufacturing, entrepreneurship, broadband, health and a variety of other sectors.”