Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones visited Blacksburg, Va. on July 22 to experience firsthand the burgeoning technology scene.
Blacksburg, located in southwest Virginia and home of the Hokies, used to be a prime area for coal but has since evolved into a haven for tech start-ups and incubators. Rural System Inc., for example, is a start-up based in Blacksburg that recently released “Bag ‘n’ Brag,” a smartphone app hailed as the Instagram for hunters.
“This kind of ecosystem for entrepreneurism, if it was here it was hidden when I was here last,” said Jones, who hasn’t been to the area in almost a decade, according to The Roanoke Times. “That’s definitely different.”
Jones, who oversees economic development for the state, toured local tech companies, visited incubators and spoke with the people driving the tech scene such as Modea CEO David Catalano and Heyo CEO Nathan Latka.
“This is the kind of asset that can really help change an economy,” Jones said. “It attracts young folks. It attracts talent from inside and outside the state and from all over the world. At the end of the day, innovation and growth and entrepreneurism, it’s about talent.