University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan and Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell will join a group of about 60 business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, scholars, educators, policymakers and elected officials on Sept. 7 at U.Va. for the Jefferson Innovation Summit for the Commonwealth to discuss how to create and sustain a society of entrepreneurs and innovators in Virginia.
The opening remarks by Sullivan, at 10 a.m., in Darden’s PepsiCo Forum, and the closing remarks by McDonnell, at 4 p.m., in Darden’s Abbott Lounge, are public events; the rest of the summit is by invitation only.
“Today’s economic challenges call for renewed attention to innovation and entrepreneurship to spur economic growth, create jobs and ensure global competitiveness,” said Michael Lenox, executive director of the Batten Institute and Samuel L. Slover Research Professor of Business Administration. “Given the urgent need for civil discourse and healthy debate about these issues, the Jefferson Innovation Summit promotes broad and impactful exchange among our nation’s leaders.”
The first Jefferson Innovation Summit, held last October in U.Va.’s Rotunda with partners CNBC and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, focused on national policies, and produced a “Declaration of Innovation” to guide national efforts to better foster entrepreneurship and innovation, said Sean Carr, executive chair of the summit and the Batten Institute’s director of intellectual capital. This year’s summit will focus on how Virginia can improve its entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Participating government leaders will include seven members of McDonnell’s cabinet, two members of the General Assembly and U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt, R-Chatham.
They will join leaders from Virginia businesses large and small, from Dominion and Northrop Grumman to Blue Ridge Produce; plus investors, venture capitalists, economic development officials and several U.Va. leaders, including Mark Crowell, U.Va.’s executive director of U.Va. Innovation; Thomas C. Skalak, vice president for research, and Philippe Sommer, director of the Batten Institute’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
The closed session will begin with a lively debate about a hypothetical entrepreneurial scenario, similar to a business school case study discussion, involving the summit's delegates, moderated by Gregory Fairchild, E. Thayer Bigelow Associate Professor at the Darden School. The case study will follow a new business getting started in Virginia.
Spurred by that case discussion, the delegates will break into small working groups to brainstorm and propose concrete recommendations for how Virginia can better foster entrepreneurship and innovation.
Weeks after the summit, organizers will produce a “policy playbook,” based on the ideas and solutions proposed, with the hope that it will guide some legislative proposals during the next General Assembly session and potentially serve as a guide for other states across the country, Carr said.