Perspectives

Insights Gained From CBIC’s Tech Night Takeover Re: The For-Profit “Social Impact” Company

On Wednesday October 17, 2018, the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council (“CBIC”), along with co-host Presidential Precinct, held the Tech Night Takeover (“TNT”) series event titled: “Social Good Means Good Business”.

For those unfamiliar, CBIC holds periodic TNT events throughout the year covering emerging and pressing issues affecting its member base, including various issues concerning investment, founders, IT, software, biotechnology, life sciences and more.  New CBIC board member, PJ Harris, moderated the subject TNT, styled as a fireside chat with subject matter experts in the for-profit “social impact” space.  The experts consisted of (i) Aneesh Dhawan, Founder and CEO at PurPics, (ii) Beth Johnson, Program Director at Blue Morning, (iii) Peter McFarren, President & CEO at Global eHealth Solutions LLC and (iv) Brynne Potter, CEO & Co-Founder at Maternity Neighborhood

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Integrating a Social Mission with Your Business Model

Addressing our most pressing issues is often associated with the work of nonprofits. Yet the philanthropic sector is so small, even the most effective programs in the world wouldn’t solve our global challenges across sectors such as food, water, health, and education. More and more, we’re seeing how business can serve as a tool for achieving social and environmental objectives. A common myth in the business world is that integrating a social or environmental mission is a burden on the bottom line. On the contrary, aligning mission and model presents significant market opportunities for both new businesses and established enterprises alike.

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A New Year's Message

Charlottesville's Tech and Entrepreneurial Scene Over The Past 20 Years...

CBIC just celebrated its 20th year. Let's take a look at what's been happening in the Charlottesville entrepreneurial scene since then. To start, numerous startup companies have launched, many have successfully raised critical seed and follow-on funding, some have been acquired, and most are on their way to great success. 

In 2016, the National Venture Capital Association ranked Charlottesville #1 in Venture Capital Funding Growth. It reported that between 2010 and 2015, venture funding in Charlottesville jumped from $250,000 to $27.7 million invested in local companies.

In newer news, critical early-stage funding also increased for local startups. The Charlottesville Angel Network, established in 2015, now has a portfolio of 28 companies with 60% being local. Through CAN alone, 8 new deals closed representing $1.4MM in 2017, and, CAN has invested nearly $4.3MM total. 

Established companies have also flourished providing jobs, recruiting talent to our region, and spreading economic diversity. But it's not just about the companies already here. Our region has grown in its attractiveness too. It boasts better startup and high-tech business infrastructure, including high-speed Internet options previously not available, more affordable wet lab space, and accessible collaborative and co-working spaces. 

Our University and non-profits offer stellar entrepreneurial and other training and professional development, which facilitates better access to angel investment capital, tech talent, trained interns, and mentors. 

Read about how Charlottesville is emerging as a mini-tech powerhouse here, and check out why entrepreneurs continue to choose Charlottesville as their home here

Further, the community has rallied around consistent, recurring meet-ups and networking opportunities such as CBIC Tech on Taps, our co-hosted Charlottesville Entrepreneurs and Espresso events, Cville Women in Tech gatherings, and so much more. Want to learn about our region's myriad resources? Click here.

Our community has pulled together to improve our collective ecosystem. Our best and brightest consistently speak out regarding crucial issues, including our faults. We use various CBIC Tech Night Takeover events sponsored by S&P Global and collaborative Tom Tom Festival happenings as platforms for voicing our concerns, disseminating crucial information to elected officials, and sharing ideas.

It's working. How? You. That's how. And people like you:  

  • CBIC members breathe life into the innovations that fuel tomorrow.
  • Sponsors contribute to events that make this town one of the best in the country. 
  • Collaborators, partners, and volunteers perform crucial tasks and carry the water. 
  • Leaders sculpt our landscape and cultivate our next generation of innovators.

For this, we applaud and thank you.

As we ring in this new year, CBIC is alight with the excitement of things to come. Take a look around at your colleagues, mentors, and friends, and recognize how important our actions are in shaping the world around us. Realize that it is our sense of community, rather than any one particular focus, that makes us who we are. Let's stand together and celebrate the inclusivity, diversity, and strength that make Charlottesville so great.

Thank you, all, for your contributions and may this be our best year yet!

Tracey

Tracey Greene, CBIC Executive Director

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Why More Baby Boomers are Turning To Entrepreneurship

Picturing a typical entrepreneur, many people conjure images of young, tech-savvy and ambitious college graduates, juggling at least three devices in an office with at least one Ping-Pong table.

Jeff Williams, however, zeroes in on the 50-plus age group.

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High School Hackathons Spark Interest in Tech

The Hour of Code is a movement that began in 2013 with the ambitious goal of getting 10 million students coding for an hour during Computer Science Education Week in December. To date over 145 million students have participated in the Hour of Code. Many schools throughout our community have joined in the Hour of Code, setting aside an hour in their school day to give all their students an opportunity to get hands-on with coding.

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The Question is in the Answer

Question: How many Art Directors does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Answer: Does it have to be a lightbulb?

It’s a joke of course, but it's worth asking the question for the simple fact that you might come up with a different answer had you never asked. One of my favorite things I learned in architecture school is that once you ask the right question, you're well on your way to finding the answer.

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