StartUp WV Manufacturing program announces first class of entrepreneur awardees

Monday, March 5, 2012

Photo of Cabinet Secretary Keith BurdetteSOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Offering the tools and technical assistance to take an entrepreneur’s idea from concept to prototype with the goal of creating jobs for West Virginians, the StartUp WV Manufacturing program today announced its first class of seven awardees during an event at Marshall University's Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI) on the university’s South Charleston campus.

West Virginia Department of Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette, along with representatives of RCBI and TechConnect West Virginia—who have partnered to jointly operate the program—made the announcement.

Firms selected in this first class include Craft-Totes by Bell in Dunbar; MarTek in Big Chimney; Extreme Endeavors in Philippi; Carbon Fibers in Barboursville; HCS Technologies in Morgantown; and Wallace Metal Works and Floor Cam, both in Charleston.

“StartUp West Virginia Manufacturing will aid startup ventures and small manufacturers in the use of high-technology manufacturing tools and processes to create new manufacturing jobs and to commercialize products,” Burdette said. “For those entrepreneurs and startup firms selected to participate, the program will help them find the expertise they need to turn ideas for new products or processes into reality.”

Photo of StartUp WV Manufacturing presentationsCharlotte Weber, director and CEO of RCBI, said, “Under the program, awardees will utilize RCBI’s advanced manufacturing technology center, its experienced staff and wide range of state-of-the-art equipment. Specifically, we will be able to assist awardees in the concept-to-reality portion through our recently announced Design Works labs, which will help jumpstart the idea, turn it into a prototype and then move it forward to the production phase.”

Anne Barth, executive director of TechConnect West Virginia, said, “This program was created to assist with product development, the most challenging phase of the business development process. Through StartUp WV Manufacturing, we will help entrepreneurs and startup firms create their products and through that, jobs and economic opportunity for West Virginia.”

The program is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and funding from the State of West Virginia.

The StartUp WV Manufacturing program will continue to consider applications on a rolling basis, and both businesses and individual entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply. For more information about the program or for an application, visit or, or call 800-469-RCBI (7224).

Contact:  Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation, 304.746.1964