West Virginia University’s LaunchLab Network has been awarded nearly $750,000 from the United States Economic Development Administration to provide the resources to stimulate business ventures and help transform the state’s economy.
The three-year grant will help expand services at the LaunchLab on the Morgantown campus and increase staffing and service capabilities at the LaunchLab at West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Beckley.
“We are absolutely thrilled and energized by the grant from the EDA,” said Mindy Walls, assistant vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation. “Every student who walks through our doors with a vision, a brilliant idea, or a business plan in hand is a potential business owner bringing revenue into West Virginia. This grant will allow us to help more of those young people bring their visions to fruition.”
The LaunchLab Network supports entrepreneurs and innovators on every step of their journey, offering everything from one-on-one mentorship to prototype development facilities, resources and connections to investors.
Walls noted that Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) was instrumental in helping WVU secure the EDA grant. “She sees the value of what we are doing in our LaunchLabs,” Walls said. “Her commitment to expanding our capacity to help entrepreneurs in West Virginia has been invaluable.”
Affirming her support of the LaunchLab network, Capito said, “Entrepreneurs are the future of West Virginia’s economy. The WVU LaunchLab Network will give them the tools to be successful and help instill an entrepreneurial spirit in our communities. I will continue to encourage investment in West Virginia and advocate for policies that promote growth and innovation.”
The LaunchLab Network of applied innovation centers for students is part of the WVU Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Applied Ecosystem, a university-wide web of centers, offices and programs that fosters and supports innovation and entrepreneurship among WVU students, faculty and staff while engaging the statewide community.
Other areas include IDEA Faculty Fellows, WVU Women’s Business Center, Davis Young Innovators program, WVU Extension Service, Brickstreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Patent and Trademark Resource Center, Health Sciences Innovation Center, Legal Clinics, Media Innovation Center, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the MakerLab and Technology Transfer.