New Darden-Based Award to Honor State's Successful Entrepreneurs

February 10, 2010

February 10, 2010 — A number of areas within the Commonwealth have experienced business closures, job losses and the resulting social dislocations.

But there is also a cadre of entrepreneurs who have built stable, even thriving firms often overlooked by outsiders.

That's about to change.

The Tayloe Murphy Resilience Awards Competition, sponsored by the Tayloe Murphy Center at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, is designed to bring attention, recognition and support to entrepreneurial firms that have shown sustained economic vitality and high employment and which provide some measure of uplift to their communities, while operating in the Commonwealth's most economically challenged areas.

"We're going to be focused on what actually leads to sustainable economic and social change," said Gregory B. Fairchild, executive director of the center since July 2009 and an associate professor of business administration at Darden.

Under Fairchild's leadership, the Tayloe Murphy Center plans to help reshape challenged communities within the Commonwealth into success stories. Fairchild, who teaches entrepreneurial thinking and business ethics at Darden, believes communities can and should be grown with local talent.

To that end, Tayloe Murphy Center staff will reach out to select Virginia communities defined by slow growth and marked by economic hardship. With Tayloe Murphy Center support – education, leadership, alliances and resources – they will be encouraged to reach toward reinvention.

Fairchild and his staff will work with community leaders to unearth and develop local talent able to facilitate change. In addition, the center will initiate research that focuses on issues of community development.

While these initiatives will take time to blossom, the Tayloe Murphy Resilience Awards Competition represents the center's most immediate contribution to Virginia's economic development.

The winner will receive a weeklong scholarship to one of Darden's executive education programs and, with staff assistance, will select the program offering that most suits the current growth needs of the winner's firm. The winning firm's best practices will also serve as a model that will help others follow in its footsteps.

The award ceremony will be held Sept. 1 in the Rotunda's Dome Room. The contest opens April 1 and all applications must be submitted by June 30. Applications will be available online on April 1.

The Tayloe Murphy Center was conceived in 1962 with an anonymous million-dollar gift in honor of W. Tayloe Murphy Sr., Virginia's state treasurer from 1942 to 1947 and a long-standing member of the House of Delegates. Its mission is to foster economic growth within Virginia.

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