Turning Innovation Into Enterprise

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TechConnectWV at Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago, June 12-14, 2013

June 10, 2013

Later this week I will attend the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in Chicago.  While there, I’ll join a working group on high-growth entrepreneurship.  Topics up for discussion include how to remove barriers to entrepreneurship for underserved populations, engaging corporate partners to help the next generation of startups, crowdfunding and the debut of equity crowdfunding, and the role of universities in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

These discussions will build on work undertaken by TechConnect in recent months, including our inaugural Women in Technology Conference held last fall and the successful Innovation & Entrepreneurship Day at the State Capitol on March 11, 2013.  The StartUp West Virginia program, launched by TechConnect in early 2012, is providing entrepreneurs and young firms with a range of services to help them turn their ideas into reality.  By supporting and highlighting those individuals and startup firms doing innovative work in higher education and private industry, we can foster a more entrepreneurial culture throughout the state.

Access to capital—always an issue for many states including ours—has been ingeniously addressed through the West Virginia Capital Access Program, led by the WV Jobs Investment Trust.  Using $13.1 million in Federal Treasury dollars, the program has created and retained hundreds of new jobs. But more still is needed.

As leaders in business, industry, government, academia, and the non-profit world converge on Chicago this week for the Clinton Global Initiative, I’ll be thinking of the organization’s motto and how we can be “turning ideas into action” here in West Virginia.

–Anne Barth, Executive Director, TechConnect West Virginia