The most important part of any business is the customer. As cliché as this may sound, it’s something that entrepreneurs have to remind themselves of constantly. It doesn’t matter how good your technology, service, and/or product may be; at the end of the day, it’s worthless unless it adds meaningful value to your customers’ lives.

Similarly, you can’t ever do it on your own. Whether you’re selling gluten free baked goods or a web app, you need to connect meaningfully with others in your field to engage your audience. In the process, you build a narrative of cooperation and co-creation that, at the end of the day, is your most potent asset.

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Recently I was part of a Central Virginia American Marketing Association’s “Using Video Online for Web and Social Media Outreach” panel. I was asked to speak about the length for a web video, and how run time is determined. My usual response to the question of run time is, “As short as possible… as long as it’s long enough.” 

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When it comes to protecting “apps” or computer software with patents, the current state of patent law could be considered akin to the Wild West.  This article provides a very recent history of courts’ perceptions on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions, as well as offers guidance on the characteristics that are more likely to render an invention not only eligible for patent protection, but also more likely to provide an ability to successfully enforce patent protected rights in the long-run.

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This is the first post in CBIC’s series, "Bootstrap Marketing for Startups", featuring Birch Studio’s David Robinson

So... you have a new business. Statistically speaking, you also have a lack of funds to spend on marketing. But fear not—good ideas come in many shapes and sizes. Here’s a quick guide to set you on your way to looking like a real company in 2015. The essentials are a name, logo, website and business card. I'll cover each in a series of posts.

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This is the second post in CBIC’s series, “Grounds for Innovation: Student Entrepreneurship at UVa”

Pear, an app that inspires matchmaking between friends, just made its debut on the App stores for both Android and iOS. Joshua Choi, the frontman and the originator of the idea, explains the unmet need that Pear addresses. “Other matchmaking apps, like Tinder, may work for a lot of people, but I knew that there was an audience for something like Pear, an audience whose needs weren't currently being met by existing products.” 

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This is the first post in CBIC’s series, “Grounds for Innovation: Student Entrepreneurship at UVa”

You may have seen these bright bottles of delicious exotic fruit juice at some well-known retail locations around Charlottesville, such as Little John’s, Whole Foods and Greenberry’s Coffee. But what is Caribé? As its co-founders describe it, “Caribé is juice done right. Nutritious, really fresh, and helping fruit growers: the three things every juice should have.”

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You know what your startup does but how do you now tell that story to the world? And how do you do it on a budget?

The answer: PRIORITIZE

As a startup, you will need to get to the public quickly, and likely, cheaply. By prioritizing your needs to get out the door, you can save money up front. Logo? Yes. Branded mugs? Maybe not totally necessary out of the gate. Necessity is king, so do what you can on your own and then start appropriating your budget to the priorities as needed. Most branding firms will work with you a step at a time, as you are able. Over time, you can build the brand of your dreams without having blown it all in the first 5 minutes of your business when you need funding the most.

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Throughout my career I’ve had the tremendous opportunity to promote all things Virginia. The many times I have visited Charlottesville – there’s always a feeling about the community, you’ve really got it going on. Through increased collaboration, the environment for innovation and entrepreneurship in Charlottesville will only intensify the ability to compete.

In the recent book “The Metropolitan Revolution,” and the conversation many enjoyed with Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institute during his visit to Richmond last year, it is said there are three things to help ignite a metropolitan revolution: create a network where everyone moves in the same lanes together; celebrate and champion the distinctive feature for the region; and figure out the game changer.

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As Executive Director of CBIC and Founding Executive Director of the Charlottesville Angel Network (CAN), I'm often asked:

"Where do the local tech and entrepreneurial people meet up (and where can I find a job, employee, mentor, investor, co-founder, consultant)?"

"How can I stay informed about local tech and startup happenings?"

"What resources are in the region for an entrepreneur starting up a tech or innovation-based venture?"

CBIC publishes a weekly opt-in e-newsletter, which provides answers and insights into these very questions. 

In addition, CBIC maintains the below inventory of active groups, meet-ups, funding sources, online forums, jobs boards, makerspaces, accelerators, and more that collectively stitch together and inform our tech, entrepreneurial and innovation-based start-up ecosystem. 

Meetups

Startup Funding Sources


Incubators, Accelerators, Co-working and Entrepreneurial Startup Spaces

Cville Weekly: Can growing numbers of local open work areas fuel tech innovation? (Feb 2018)

CVille Tomorrow: Local Startups Need More Common Space Connection

Entrepreneurial Training | Workshops | Bootcamps

News Sources, Online Forums, Slack Channels, Google Groups, Etc

Events Calendars 

Jobs & Internships

 

Company and Startup Lists in Charlottesville

Why Charlottesville? #CvilleTech Acquisitions, Exits, Wins, Funding, Accolades 

 

Do you know of other local resources, groups, meetups, training, calendars jobs boards, we should add to this list? Comment below!

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There I was suspended with my body standing perpendicular against the wall of a 50-foot rappel tower.  Above a Marine drill instructor was barking at me.  I could see his veins popping out of his forehead.  “Lean back, look over your right shoulder, and double-time backwards!  Do it, now!”  

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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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