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including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

State Chamber of Commerce honors CRC

By Catherine Doss

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 28 - April 17, 1997

Virginia Tech's Corporate Research Center (CRC) has been cited as a best practice for technology transfer in a national study commissioned by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and a local research company that has strong ties to Tech has been named one of the fastest-growing, private small businesses in the state. Both honors were announced last week at the Virginia Chamber of Commerce's annual Capital Access Summit and Finance Fair.

Last year, the Virginia Chamber Small Business Committee commissioned the National Council for Urban Economic Development (CUED) to assess the climate for small and emerging businesses in Virginia with an added emphasis on firms that are geared toward high technology. The objectives of the study were to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the current environment, how this environment compares to competitor states, and to make recommendations to improve the environment for Virginia's small and emerging businesses.

In its 116-page report, released at last week's chamber event, the CUED cited the CRC as a best practice in technology transfer and research centers. The CRC was the only Virginia program cited among the six examples.

"This is truly an honor," said CRC President Joe Meredith. "Not only does it recognize the beneficial impact the CRC has on the local business climate, but it also uses us as a benchmarking example for other localities."

Specifically, the report described four separate programs that contributed to making the CRC so successful: an on-site branch of First National Bank of Christiansburg, access to venture capital, the Virginia Tech Business/Technology Center, and Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties (VTIP), which helps faculty members, students, and CRC tenants with commercialization and legal protection of their technologies.

The highlight of the two-day chamber event was the release of the names of this year's 50 fastest-growing, small, private companies in Virginia. Two Blacksburg businesses made the list. The first was Fiber and Sensor (F&S) Technologies Inc., a fiberoptics business that had $1.9 million in revenues in 1995 and grew 89 percent between 1992 and 1995.

VTIP assisted F&S with the licensing of its technology. The other Blacksburg business to make the list was Anderson and Associates, a civil-and-environmental-engineering firm.