In recognition of Virginia’s Year of the Entrepreneur in 2012, the Jefferson Innovation Summit for the Commonwealth, presented by the Batten Institute and the Office of the Governor of Virginia in September 2012, gathered a diverse and influential group of sixty policymakers, entrepreneurs, executives, and thought leaders at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business to discuss how best to create and sustain a society of entrepreneurs and innovators in the Commonwealth.

Boasting a wealth of leading universities and a top spot in the nation among the best states for doing business, Virginia already has a strong foundation. Building on this, the Summit delegates looked deeply into the many under-leveraged opportunities within the state and identified strategies to help build more dynamic and robust entrepreneurial ecosystems. Drawing from these exchanges, delegates prepared a Policy Playbook to outline the best way forward for Virginia, potentially setting a benchmark for other states across the nation.


Guided by a moderator, the assembled delegates started the day working through provocative hypothetical situations that shed light on the challenges and the opportunities for building robust entrepreneurial communities in Virginia. Through this modified case-study approach, all delegates had the opportunity to weigh in on the issues at hand. The Dialogue relied on an extensively researched, fact-based hypothetical scenario that put participants in difficult decision-making situations in which there are no simple “right” answers but rather a contention of legitimate, competing goals, constituents, and values. The roving moderator selected delegates to play roles within the scenario consistent with their roles in real life, thereby engaging them in the issues at a level of depth and subtlety not often experienced.


Delegates convened for a working lunch to continue the discussions sparked by the Dialogue. To guide the plenary session that followed, each Delegate proposed one significant “Area of Opportunity” for developing the Commonwealth’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.


In the afternoon, participants were organized into breakout groups around the most common “Areas of Opportunity” identified at lunch. Through guided brainstorming and facilitated exchange, groups developed concrete proposals for reform. Based on these recommendations, a culminating roadmap was generated outlining the policies and initiatives to be undertaken in the days, months and years to come, resulting in the Policy Playbook.

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University of Virginia Darden School of Business
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Charlottesville, VA 22903 USA
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