“There are all these cool things happening here in Charlottesville that are building the innovation-based ecosystem. Our job at CBIC is to be the collaborator and break down those silos and make sure everybody knows what's happening in that community.”

Hearing Tracey explain the purpose and mission of the Charlottesville Innovation Business Council is like hearing a well crafted symphony. A symphony played by an extremely competent orchestra. Accentuating that CBIC focuses on creating face-to-face networking opportunities for both scientists and businesses, she explains that “usually you get the scientist and the business acumen and you mix those together to commercialize a technology”. Though it’s a small non-profit, CBIC often finds itself offering multiple organizations in the area to take advantage of its various functions (blogs, events and membership opportunities) to work for them. As a consequence of such a hands-on approach to community involvement, those different organizations frequently end up collaborating and down go the silos that so often plague communities such as ours. CBIC continues to prove that it can successfully support such co-creation that nourishes the blossoming innovation-based ecosystem here in Charlottesville. And by providing the types of programs that it provides, it is certainly walking the walk.

One of the most exciting programs that CBIC offers, in terms STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education, is the Tech Tour. The Tech Tour, held annually in October, seeks to inspire the students in those disciplines by putting them right where the action is. In this one day program, students are taken out to real technology firms in the area and encouraged to engage with real world employers in the real workplace environment, as opposed to the classroom. This unique opportunity, explains Tracey, will provide both hard-core tech enthusiasts and students that otherwise might be on the fence about a career in STEM a chance to learn “from somebody who’s been in their shoes” and gain the inspiration that will propel them to be exactly where they need to be.  

Recommended reading for the curious and intrigued:

Marshall Hanbury Jr.
Author: Marshall Hanbury Jr.Website:
Marshall Hanbury Jr., ever since he can remember, has always found himself in situations where blending leadership and creativity were absolutely essential to survival. He has spent his career pursuing research interests related to leadership skills, creativity generation and the possible factors in organizational citizenship behavior. He devotes much of his time to developing and furthering the purpose of Conversion Factor, an online innovation and entrepreneurship magazine.