VT KnowledgeWorks, a technology business incubator, today celebrated the opening of its new 45,000-square-foot building in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center with a dedication ceremony that included remarks by U.S. Sen. George Allen, Rep. Rick Boucher and university officials.

The $6 million state-of-the-art facility will house the incubator’s diverse member companies -- from firms employing unique applications of nanotechnology to producers of emergency water purification systems.

“The key components in technology commercialization and the economic development that results are vision and passion,” said Jim Flowers, the incubator’s director. “This building provides tangible evidence that we have both in the Roanoke and New River valleys: The vision to provide the infrastructure to support technology development and the passion to do what’s required to make it a reality.”

Already, eight of the 18 companies in the VT KnowledgeWorks program are housed in the new facility. Another two are slated to move in soon. The rest are engaged in early planning, including acquiring the funding needed to launch their companies.

The new building, which can accommodate up to 36 member firms, features “bull-pen” space for pre-launch operations, flexible office and lab space to accommodate growth, shared conference rooms and a secure server facility.

Funding for the construction was provided by the Virginia Tech Foundation with the aid of a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

Co-located with VT KnowledgeWorks in its new home at 2200 Kraft Drive is Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties (VTIP), the university affiliate that handles, protects and licenses technologies developed by Virginia Tech faculty, staff and students. Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties’ offices were previously in another building in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.

“We work closely with VTIP and expect their move will allow us to realize even greater synergies as their licensees seek to market their inventions,” said Flowers.

In anticipation of future growth, construction already has begun on VT KnowledgeWorks’ planned second phase, which will add 40,000 square feet of office, lab and meeting space. The addition initially will be occupied by Virginia Tech’s Department of Computer Science.

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and supports inventors, researchers, entrepreneurs and investors as they conceive, design, launch and grow companies to financial independence.

Members receive discounted rent and support services, including management expertise, accounting and legal assistance, shared communications and technological equipment. The incubator and its members also benefit from the assistance of VT KnowledgeWorks’ business sponsors: FNB Corp., Harris Office Furniture, LeClair Ryan Flippin Densmore and Linda Staley Public Relations.

In addition to assisting member companies, VT KnowledgeWorks works closely with potential investors, who receive early exposure to promising enterprises and the opportunity to participate at all levels of risk and valuation.

VT KnowledgeWorks is a division of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a for-profit subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Foundation, which receives a small equity stake in each of the incubator’s portfolio companies. The corporate research center is located near the intersection of U.S. 460 and South Main Street in Blacksburg.

For more information, visit http://www.vtknowledgeworks.com.

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