Startup City Magazine

A Gathering to Boost the Spirit of Entrepreneurship

Startup America, a partnership company which was launched in 2011 has recently founded Startup Virginia. Mainly a statewide startup nonprofit group, Startup America receives its funds from over half a dozen private corporate sponsors. Its sponsors include Microsoft and the American Airlines. The Startup Virginia website shows that it currently has more than 500 members.

What Startup America focuses on is educating entrepreneurs on issues like potential investors, fresh talent, guidance and networking that are required for a startup. It helps in strengthening connections which are very essential for the thriving of a startup company,

The innovation laboratory at the Darden Graduate School of Business saw a gathering of investors, local business leaders, successful entrepreneurs and students from the University of Virginia on Monday. The gathering was mainly held for networking. Lunch was followed by a panel discussion regarding the challenges that the local entrepreneurial communities have to face and available resources.

“Research universities are this deep reservoir of technical innovation,” said Thomas C. Skalak, UVa’s vice president for research. “This movement is about moving ideas to market in a more rapid way. It is about the realization that [America is] still in the lead.”, as reported by

Skalak in fact spoke about the capability and position of the local community in extending its support to entrepreneurial ventures in different fields.

“We have amassed literally billions of dollars of resources, for you, for free,” Donna Harris, the managing director of startup regions for Startup America told the group. “There’s something in there for you.”

“We’re very eager to get proof of concept funding in place for [information technology], physical sciences and humanities, and arts, and design-oriented fields, because much of innovation is driven by the combination of arts, science and engineering,” Skalak said.

President Barack Obama’s first federal chief technology officer Aneesh Chopra was in fact one among the speakers who addressed the gathering. Having declared the heavy dependency on federal and military spending by the economy in the U.S, Chopra insists that the legislators, business leaders and communities in Virginia work to diversify the state’s economy.

“Big companies grow and shrink, true small businesses disappear and grow, but that which expands the economic pie are startups,” Chopra said.

Bill Walker, the founder of Hemosonics, a biotech firm , insisted the importance of following one’s instincts and sense of timing.

“It just smelled right,” Walker told the group. “And if you’re an entrepreneur, you know what this is — or you will.”

Hachville’s founder Spencer Ingram, ITI Health cofounder, Greg Fralish, and Hotelicopter’s founder Adam Healey, were some other speakers who addressed the gathering.

Healey in fact stressed on the importance of such events in helping business owners across all sectors and levels.

So much of starting up a business is who you know and getting introduced to people who can help grow your business,” Healey said. “You can always learn something new from your colleagues.”

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