EDA boosts RCBI efforts to strengthen supply chain, connect businesses

On-going efforts by the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University to strengthen the local manufacturing supply chain received a boost this month from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

RCBI is a project partner of Advantage Valley’s Expanding Markets Initiative, which was awarded $1.33 million by the EDA to connect businesses in the Huntington-Charleston metro region to new markets, improve state supply chains and link businesses to state and federal resources. As part of this effort, RCBI and Advantage Valley will expand their successful series of Supply Chain Expos, which have connected 523 state small businesses to supplier opportunities with major manufacturers in several key economic sectors.

“As the pandemic has demonstrated, strengthening the local supply chain is more critical than ever,” said Derek Scarbro, RCBI interim deputy director and director of business development. “Our Supply Chain Expos have generated multiple contracts between small businesses and large manufacturers, shortening the supply chain, reducing lead times – and in many instances lowering costs – while increasing in-state economic activity.”

Upcoming Supply Chain Expos will introduce more small businesses to contracting opportunities and major manufacturers to area suppliers they may not realize are available to them, Scarbro said.

In addition, as part of the Expanding Markets Initiative, RCBI will continue to deliver manufacturing assistance to help entrepreneurs and businesses move ideas from concept to commercialization, as well as assist manufacturers in achieving the quality certifications necessary to compete for contracts with government entities and major manufacturers. RCBI also will promote its Business-to-Business Marketplace (www.b2bwv.com) to connect manufacturers of all sizes to contracting and supply chain opportunities and recruit employees.

To learn more about RCBI’s full range of entrepreneurial, business development and manufacturing services, visit www.mfg.marshall.edu or contact Scarbro at or 304.781.1684.

Aug. 25, 2021

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