On February 22, at a press conference in Richmond, Gov. Bob McDonnell declared 2012 "The Year of the Entrepreneur" in the Commonwealth. Partnering with Virginia entrepreneurs, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and others, the press conference was the first event in a series that will be held throughout the year to highlight the role entrepreneurs play in job creation, to connect education with job creation, and to show why Virginia is the best place to start and grow a business.
After the press conference, members of Gov. McDonnell’s cabinet hosted an Entrepreneur Day lunch and entrepreneurial town hall, during which entrepreneurs had the opportunity to discuss why they chose Virginia to start a company and what government can do to help facilitate entrepreneurial development. Speakers at the luncheon and town hall included Secretary of Commerce & Trade Jim Cheng, Secretary of Technology Jim Duffey, Secretary of Education Laura Fornash, Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry Todd Haymore and Jonathan Aberman of NVTC member organization FounderCorps. Attendees included Kristin D’Amore, director of The Entrepreneur Center @NVTC, and representatives from the Center for Innovative Technology, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. Video from the press conference and town hall are available here: http://www.governor.virginia.gov.
The Year of the Entrepreneur events will include a business plan competition, entrepreneurial roundtable events, one-on-one meetings with small business owners, the Small Business Summit and a college elevator pitch competition. Gov. McDonnell has committed to meet personally with Virginia's business owners during newly designated "monthly office hours for entrepreneurs," which he will use to discuss issues facing Virginia's job creators and innovators. For more information on “2012: The Year of the Entrepreneur,” visit http://www.governor.virginia.gov/yoe.