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HURRICANE -Advantage Valley and the Robert C. Byrd Institute will host a trade show designed to link small businesses that are interested in doing business with major companies in the chemical and polymer sector.

The event will educate attendees on the procurement process of some prominent chemical and polymer manufacturers in the state.

The West Virginia Chemical & Polymer Supply Chain Expo is planned for 1 until 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, at the Valley Park Conference Center in Hurricane. Braskem, Kureha, APG, Clearon, Matric, Rubberlite and Optima Belle will be represented and will host individual meetings with vendors and suppliers.

Local company representatives can learn about opportunities in materials, services, supplies and commodities required for the day-to-day operations and procurement process of some successful businesses in the state. All types of businesses are encouraged to attend, including those that provide input to the chemical and polymer manufacturing sector and those that provide equipment inspection services, machine shop services, inventory management services, sources for plastic and metal drums and 275-gallon totes, recycling or disposal services, valve and fitting suppliers, non-destructive testing services, to name a few.

A resource fair will provide additional information on how to access resources for workforce training, financing, and marketing.

Concurrent breakout sessions on a variety of topics will be offered alongside speed-dating style, brief, one-on-one meetings with the chemical and polymer companies.

Terrell Ellis, executive director of Advantage Valley, said she sees great benefit in business-to-business events like the upcoming Expo.

"If small businesses have the opportunity to learn the needs of the key industrial players, they may have the capability to become a part of the local supply chain," she said in a news release. "It can be a win-win situation, allowing companies to make the choice to use a local supplier. This opens new markets for our small businesses. We all know that when we grow our local businesses, it has an exponential effect on the local economy. Sometimes our existing businesses need a little help to serve a new economy, one that is no longer based primarily on coal."

Chemical and polymer manufacturing is driven by demand from plastic and resin manufacturing, price of natural gas, and the world price of crude oil and represents 25,979 direct jobs annually in the U.S. The chemical and polymer manufacturing industry provides promising opportunities due to our region's history and strengths related to hydrocarbon generation and specialized resources in chemical innovation. West Virginia and neighboring states sit atop the Marcellus/Utica Shale formations, which produce a large amount of ethane that can be used in the manufacturing of petrochemicals. The industry represents a number of manufacturers in the region, realizing over $345 million in annual profit.

"One way RCBI grows West Virginia's economy is by connecting existing businesses to contracting opportunities here at home," Derek Scarbro, of RCBI, said in the release. "This, in turn, enables larger manufacturers such as those in the chemical and polymer sector to learn about potential in-state suppliers, some of which may be capable of providing goods and services faster, more reliably and even cheaper."

Advantage Valley Inc. is a private nonprofit economic development organization representing the Charleston and Huntington, West Virginia metropolitan statistical areas. In West Virginia, the region is represented by Boone, Cabell, Clay, Kanawha, Lincoln, Putnam, Mason, Jackson and Wayne counties with a combined population of nearly 600,000 people. Through an extensive research and stakeholder engagement process, Advantage Valley has identified chemical and polymer manufacturing as a significant business opportunity for entrepreneurs and growing businesses in our region.

The West Virginia Chemical & Polymer Supply Chain Expo is free and open to the public. Register at www.rcbi.org/go/chemicalexpo.

For additional information, contact Terrell Ellis at 304-546-7323 or Marjorie Cooke at 304-541-9657.

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