The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) is located in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON — Fourteen additional West Virginia companies and entrepreneurs will receive assistance from the Robert C. Byrd Institute at Marshall University in moving concepts to reality.

The institute offers manufacturing expertise through technologies such as 3D printers, computer-controlled machines and laser cutters.

“Prototypes, building skillsets, marketing assistance and commercialization viability are vital for taking ideas to investors and ultimately to market,” Charlotte Weber, RCBI director and CEO, said in a news release announcing the funding. “You need something people can see, touch, feel and understand its potential.”

RCBI has awarded nearly $700,000 in early stage assistance to 172 West Virginia entrepreneurs and startup companies, helping them design and patent new products, in-source work, cut lead times and create jobs, according to Derek Scarbro, director of business development at RCBI.

The first three years of RCBI’s early stage funding programs generated $66 million in state sales and led to the creation of 318 jobs, according to an economic impact analysis by Marshall University, he said.

The latest award recipients in the region included:

  • Craft Tote of Kanawha County — $5,000 to design and prototype a tool carrying kit for construction contractors.
  • Huntington Drum & Container of Cabell County — $5,000 to rebrand and revamp the company’s marketing efforts to promote the company’s services to industry.
  • Industrial Bolting Technologies of Kanawha County — $5,000 to expand its marketing into new sales territories for their hydraulic torque wrenches.
  • Key Breads of Cabell County — $5,000 to market its new healthy bread mix products online.
  • Interstate Radiator of Kanawha County — $7,000 for computer-aided design software training and web-based marketing.
  • Multicoat Products of Putnam County — $5,000 to market a new stucco stenciling product.
  • Novus Aero Development of Cabell County — $10,000 to machine and 3D print parts for an aircraft prototype.
  • Preiser Scientific of Kanawha County — $5,000 to boost web-based marketing and sales.
  • Rocco’s Italian Specialty Foods of Wayne County — $5,000 to improve marketing for its frozen food product line, which will include a new single-serve microwavable offering.
  • Vinyl Graphix of Kanawha County — $5,000 to market the company’s custom vehicle signage capabilities.

RCBI provides early stage assistance to help state companies and entrepreneurs innovate and grow their businesses. Marketing grants are awarded in partnership with Advantage Valley.

These early-stage funding initiatives are administered through RCBI’s Appalachian Hatchery and Accelerate Forward programs and made possible through the financial support of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. Appalachian Hatchery is part of POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization), a multi-agency initiative that delivers federal resources to help communities affected by job losses in coal mining and related industries.

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