SOUTH BOSTON, Va., April 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp. (MBC) and Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced a partnership to build the SOVA Innovation Hub in Southern Virginia. MBC will invest over $5 million to build the SOVA Innovation Hub, which will be located in downtown South Boston, Va., to help meet its growing need for office space. Microsoft, through its TechSpark initiative, will use the space to encourage innovation and spur economic opportunities in the region. The facility will also bring together local nonprofit organizations from throughout Southern Virginia to offer impactful programming for digital skills education and workforce training.
"The SOVA Innovation Hub represents an investment in the future of Southern Virginia," said Tad Deriso, MBC president and CEO. "MBC has outgrown our existing office space in the Southern Virginia Technology Park, and we're delighted to partner with Microsoft and our regional partners to create a new office and innovation space in downtown South Boston."
The 15,000 square foot, two-story SOVA Innovation Hub is the first new building to be built in downtown South Boston in over 40 years. The new building will be located on the site of a former tobacco warehouse built in the 1900s and destroyed by a fire in 2002. It will provide a mixture of offices, co-working spaces, collaborative work areas, event and training spaces, and technology showcase areas and will feature high-capacity wireless broadband access.
"As digital technology transforms the economy, people at all stages in their careers will need to acquire new skills, transform their businesses and launch new enterprises — and they'll need a place to do it," said Kate Behncken, Microsoft Philanthropies. "We are excited to play a role in MBC's vision to create a world-class center that will enable this entire community to grow with the digital economy. MBC's longstanding connection to this region makes it an ideal partner on the SOVA Innovation Hub."
Microsoft will use the SOVA Innovation Hub as a base for its TechSpark Virginia efforts. In addition to offering access to technology, it will use the center as a convening space to leverage regional partnerships to offer programming, workshops and events that encourage entrepreneurism and expand digital skills and career pathways in the area. Southern Virginia is one of the six TechSpark regions across the United States chosen for the program to foster job creation and economic opportunity by focusing on computer science education and digital skills, career pathways, digital transformation, support of nonprofits, and rural broadband access.
"The Town of South Boston is proud to serve as the location for the regional SOVA Innovation Hub," said Ed Owens, mayor of the Town of South Boston and a member of the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. "We welcome MBC and Microsoft and are inspired by the energy and excitement they will bring to our downtown area."
Next, MBC and Microsoft plan to announce a groundbreaking for the SOVA Innovation Hub and introduce community partners and programs at the center. Employers across all industries are increasingly seeking a skilled workforce, and Microsoft said the SOVA Innovation Hub will make it possible to facilitate and expand digital skills education for students along with training to help upskill current talent so they are better prepared to pursue good-paying job opportunities.
"I am proud to see another Microsoft investment in our region," said Senator Frank Ruff (R-Mecklenburg), who is also vice chairman of the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. "MBC and Microsoft are true community partners, and I am looking forward to the positive impacts the SOVA Innovation Hub will have for our business and educational communities."
About Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities
Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC) is committed to providing economic development leadership to Southern Virginia. MBC promotes economic development in Southern Virginia through the operation of a successful advanced open access fiber optic network, providing wholesale telecommunications transport services, colocation, and tower leasing. MBC offers a state-of-the-art fiber optic network and supports the recruitment of major investments, including data centers, call center/operations centers, advanced manufacturing, research and development, and biotech industries.
Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
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SOURCE Microsoft Corp.