HNN Staff

TechConnectWV, a coalition of professionals dedicated to growing and diversifying West Virginia’s economy by advancing technology-based economic development, has initiated an awards program designed to recognize entrepreneurs who devise biometric and identity management innovations that could lead to new jobs in West Virginia.

TechConnectWV’s new program will provide support for proposals judged to have the greatest potential for creating new business and jobs in the Mountain State. CSC Identity Labs of Fairmont will help administer the awards program, which aims to promote the further development of the biometric and identity management industry in West Virginia.

Biometrics is the science of identifying individuals through the collection of biological data, such as fingerprints, facial recognition or iris scans. Identity management is a term related to how humans are identified and authorized across computer networks.

Anne Barth, executive director of TechConnectWV, explained that much of the recent business growth in North Central West Virginia was the result of the addition of identity related jobs associated with federal government systems run by the FBI and the Department of Defense.

“However, there is little native biometric manufacturing activity and even less identity related intellectual property in the state,” she said. “TechConnectWV’s commercialization awards program will attempt to identify and fund promising ideas that can stimulate industry development and job growth in West Virginia.”

Russ Lorince, chairman of TechConnectWV, said West Virginia is known throughout the U.S. as the heart of the biometrics industry, “but there are few private sector start-up companies working to advance the kind of biometric science and engineering that we need to spur additional job growth.  TechConnectWV’s commercialization awards program is designed to do just that.”

TechConnectWV leaders expect to publish and disseminate the rules of submission for the commercialization awards by the end of January.  The TechConnectWV program is funded by grants from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

For information regarding the TechConnectWV commercialization program, contact Preston Miller, CSC Identity Labs, Fairmont, WV, 304-333-7527 or Anne Barth, TechConnectWV, 304-444-2918.