The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance (the Alliance) and the Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER) today announced an agreement to work together in a joint effort to develop a technology based economic development plan for the region. One of the goals in the LRBA’s 2019 strategic plan is to create and implement an innovation and tech based economic development plan. Research on successful technology clusters points to several elements that are critical to building a technology-based economy. These elements include sources of knowledge creation (R&D), spillovers of knowledge (technology commercialization), physical infrastructure such as broadband, a technically skilled workforce, access to capital and an entrepreneurial culture.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two organizations, the Alliance and the CAER will work together to jointly develop and implement a plan that leads to increased levels of innovation-based activities, an increase in the size and quality of the support network providing technical solutions for science, engineering and technology companies in the region and the state, and improvement in the quality of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce in the region and Virginia.
“This joint effort will combine the technical resources of the CAER with the economic development resources of the Alliance to drive the economic growth of existing and prospective technology-based employers in the region and Virginia” states Megan Lucas, Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance. “This plan supports the Alliance’s business expansion, retention and new job creation initiatives while connecting people and businesses. Growing and sustaining a dynamic regional economy is at our core.” she added.
The Agreement includes a more detailed statement of work that addresses not only the development of the work plan, but also specific projects and programs needed to support this plan, fostering innovative partnerships and relationships in the region and the Commonwealth among public institutions of higher education, private companies, federal laboratories, and not-for-profit organizations, and assisting the Commonwealth’s Economic Development programs to bring science, engineering and technology businesses into the Lynchburg region.
Bill Guzek, President of the CAER board states that “we are excited to team with the Alliance as part of this agreement. We believe together we can enhance the value of both organizations for supporting technology growth in this region.”
“The idea of building out initiatives that lead to increased innovation such as new product development, technology commercialization, technology transfer, technology business start-ups and growth, along with the supporting applied research and development is exciting” added Bob Bailey, Executive Director of the CAER. “The potential for this region has always been high.”