Economic Strategy Penned for Roanoke, VA Region

With several of the right elements already in place but scattered across a wide area, the two planning districts comprising the 13-county region
surrounding Roanoke, Virginia combined efforts to develop a strategic economic development strategy that focuses heavily on science and
technology-based initiatives.

The Alliance Group and its Planning Leadership Group, a team of public, private and academic stakeholder organizations, have outlined six
strategic themes that entail regional economic development activities for the larger region: visibility, connectivity, quality-of-life amenities,
knowledge work force, innovation and entrepreneurship, and economic transformation. The next steps, the group asserts, are to communicate
the goals of the Strategy throughout the region and manage the necessary resources for enacting the goals.

Regional Economic Strategy offers some insight on the region’s transition between the Knowledge Economy and the New Economy as it
stresses the importance of a knowledge work force, those workers whose knowledge is critical to a company’s intellectual assets.

Several specific tactics and potential participating organizations are identified for each of the themes. For instance, to address the challenge
of perceived and real perceptions of geographic isolation that plague many rural areas, connectivity will be encouraged and developed
through broadband/multimedia access in addition to further development of traditional transportation systems.

Other tactics include creating a regional venture capital fund, strengthening the intellectual property and technology transfer activities at
Virginia Tech, and creating industry custer associations to encourage cluster-based economic development.

The report suggests Roanoke, being situated in the 5th Planning District, the 4th Planning District, and Franklin County — three areas that,
combined, comprise the "larger region" — have two key economic assets that are valuable to high growth firms: (1) a large urban locus and
related metro offerings and (2) several colleges and universities. The combined region boasts 477,000 people and 246,000 workers.

Copies of Regional Economic Strategy are available for downloading at:

Copyright State Science & Technology Institute 2002. Information in this issue of SSTI Weekly Digest was prepared under a cooperative agreement with the U.S.
Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. Redistribution to all others interested in tech-based economic development is strongly encouraged —
please cite the State Science & Technology Institute whenever portions are reproduced or redirected. Any opinions expressed in the Digest do not necessarily reflect the
official position of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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