Roanoke Regional Partnership Launches Thrive 2027, a Five-Year Strategy and Campaign

Following 2017-2021 results, the public-private partnership seeks new level of success with Thrive 2027.

ROANOKE, Va. (February 10, 2022) – The Roanoke Regional Partnership launched its new, forward-looking five-year fundraising campaign, Thrive 2027, at a kick-off event held virtually today. The Partnership’s plan focuses on innovation, site development, and workforce issues among other critical elements necessary to enhance our region’s competitiveness.

The 2027 plan builds on the current program of work, adopted in 2017, that took the region to a higher level, creating over the past five years 3,255 direct and indirect jobs, $527 million in new investments, new annual consumer expenditures of $197 million, and an increase in per-capita income by nearly 15 percent. All metrics met and most exceeded the benchmarks established in 2017, despite grappling with a global pandemic.

“Thanks to a decade of success leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Roanoke Region is positioned competitively. We emerge set to attract innovative businesses, supported by world-class talent, and continuing to build upon a growing sense of “place”, fueling economic vitality,” said campaign co-chair Don Halliwill, chief financial officer of Carilion Clinic. “Thrive 2027 will build upon our existing foundation of successful business community support with this strategic plan for growth.”

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Innovation Corridor Leadership Collaborates on Regional Branding

The Roanoke Regional Partnership collaborated with regional innovation leaders including staff from Carilion Clinic, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, and Roanoke Innovates on an opportunity to be featured in Area Development magazine and AreaDevelopment.com. The issue, released in December 2021, is focused on Innovation Corridors around the nation.

You can see a digital copy of the magazine, which is distributed in print nationally to 50,000 C-Suite level executives and consultants, by clicking here.

The target audience for the publication is site selectors, brokers, and development professionals who are the gatekeepers of the economic development world. Marketing staff from the participating organizations developed a regionally branded print ad (see graphic below), a series of digital ads, a custom landing page, and a plan to host an innovation leadership webinar designed to raise awareness of the work being done around life sciences, technology, advanced manufacturing regionwide.  

The webinar will feature Don Halliwill, chief financial officer at Carilion Clinic, Michael Friedlander, Ph.D., executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, and John Hull, the executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership. The webinar is scheduled for January 31, 2022, at 2 pm EST. Topics covered will include the region’s academic research strengths and what that means for developers, regional biotech spin-outs, and ways your company can benefit from Roanoke’s hub for innovation.

You can join the webinar for free by signing up here.

By showcasing our Innovation Corridor opportunities we hope to capitalize upon the interest generated by the campaign among site development consultants. 

One of the Nation’s Fastest-Growing Research Enterprises

Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC

Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, Roanoke, Virginia

Founded in 2010, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC is one of the nation’s fastest-growing academic biomedical research enterprises and a destination for world-class researchers.

In 2021, the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute had $140 million in current, active research grants and contracts – more than four times1 the combined research spending of Roanoke’s 15 peer cities, including Savannah, Asheville, and Erie.

Part of Virginia Tech – which had $560 million in cumulative research spending in 2020 – the institute support 37 faculty-led research teams focused on studying addiction, brain health and disease, heart disease, cancer, children’s health, and neurorehabilitation. Together, their work has led to more than a thousand publications in leading scientific journals and produced nearly one startup per year over the past five years.

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Roanoke Named as a Booming Zoom Town

The Roanoke Region of Virginia made yet another nationally recognized list as one of the 10 Unique Zoom Towns You’ll Want to Move to in 2022 by Rent.com. So what is a Zoom town? In the article, they refer to it as a community experiencing consequential population increases as remote workers and digital nomads move to town.

Most sources specifically reference Zoom towns as a community that has seen a significant population increase in the wake of the pandemic, with the shift occurring largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The notable move toward remote work is expected to have significant economic implications. Pre-pandemic only 10% or less of the population worked remotely full-time, but those statistics are rapidly changing. 

Towns listed in the article were recognized for their livability-related amenities and low cost of living. Remote workers have the luxury of moving anywhere in the country, which gives a clear advantage to outdoor destinations where biking, hiking, skiing, paddling, or other outdoor activities provide an easy escape regardless of COVID status. 

The Roanoke Regional Partnership’s decade-long effort to brand the Roanoke Region as an outdoor wonderland has paid dividends during the pandemic as people flee larger cities for clean air, open spaces, and affordable housing. The article in Rent.com is just one of many national features in the past several months highlighting this phenomenon.

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