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

HUNTINGTON — Derek Scarbro, director of business development at Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University, says it can be difficult for small businesses capable of supplying goods and services to connect with large state companies.

He said the upcoming West Virginia Health Supply Chain Expo to connect small state vendors to large health care providers will bridge that gap while helping create new business-to-business relationships.

“RCBI and Advantage Valley, in coordination with the West Virginia Development Office, will sponsor a free virtual expo from 1 to 2 p.m. May 5 to link small suppliers with major state health care providers,” Scarbro said.

“Our previous expos were win-win situations for participants, enabled several small businesses in the region to secure new contracts with large companies, while helping those large companies find goods and services at competitive prices closer to home, resulting in reduced costs and a shorter supply chain,” he said.

“Our local hospitals take pride in currently doing business with a number of local suppliers, but we will continue our efforts to introduce the procurement teams to individuals or companies they may not know,” said Terrell Ellis, executive director of Advantage Valley.

“Bringing the supply chain close to home will strengthen the local economy. The pandemic reminded us how critical supply chains are and how disruptions can be problematic. We hope to build networks and open dialogue and build business between companies that might not have existed before.”

Participants will learn about the processes to become suppliers to such health care providers as Charleston Area Medical Center, Mountain Health Network (Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center) and Thomas Health (Thomas Memorial Hospital and St. Francis Hospital), Ellis said.

Examples of what these health care providers are looking for include hospital furniture, personal protective equipment (PPE), patient monitoring devices, vendor check-in and credentialing services, cleaning and disinfecting products or services and facilities management services, she added.

Individuals and small businesses can register for the free video conference at

In partnership with Advantage Valley, the supply chain expos are a project of RCBI’s Appalachian Hatchery, which 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.

Funding is provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, Appalachian Regional Commission and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

For more information about the expo, contact Scarbro at 304-781-1684 or Ellis at 304-546-7323.

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