Note: This version of the agenda contains all currently available details on session titles, descriptions and speakers. For the condensed version, click here.
12:30 PM – 4:30 PM (VARIABLE) | WORKSHOPS AND ROUNDTABLES (CHOOSE ONE)
Amplify your conference experience by participating in a workshop or roundtable on the first afternoon. Each meeting is designed to maximize conversation and provide useful takeaways. Start and end times vary by topic.
An experiment at last year’s conference proved a resounding success, so we’re bringing back an expanded version by popular demand. You already know it takes an additional set of skills than the ones you use daily in your organization to forge effective collaboration across different initiatives, disciplines, communities and motivations. Lacking these skills is why so many partnerships fail. Workshop participation will help strengthen your ability to take on the big issues stymieing greater results from your regional innovation system. Together we’ll help each other round out our collective toolkits for success. It promises to be engaging, scary, empowering, and fun!
- Mark Skinner, Vice President, SSTI
- Leslie Lynn Smith, President, Epicenter Memphis
All professionals involved, or interested, in the role universities play in regional economies are encouraged to attend this roundtable on optimizing economic impacts. We will hear about a recent study on best practices for these activities, hold an open discussion about universities’ efforts, and have time for one-on-one meetings with NSF program staff. By the end of the roundtable, you will have new, concrete ideas for effectively integrating your local university into the regional economy. *Roundtable sponsored by NSF
EVENING | OPENING RECEPTION AND OTHER NETWORKING EVENTS
8:00 AM | BREAKFAST
9:00 AM | WELCOME & OPENING PLENARY
10:45 AM | NETWORKING BREAK
11:15 AM | CASE STUDIES & TOPIC BRIEFS (CHOOSE ONE)
Grants. Debt. Seed and Equity. Working Capital. Facility financing. If your regional innovation system doesn’t offer affordable, customizable options to support the full spectrum of financing needs confronting innovative entrepreneurs, then you’re most likely leaving opportunity for sustaining growth behind — or its leaving you! This session will offer an inside examination of how to compile the critical necessary financial tools into a single structure for successful venture development and for attracting the private capital market into your region.
In today’s data-rich environment, how can you ensure you have the right information to effectively communicate with your stakeholders, partners, investors, and customers? Whether your aim is to connect clients with resources, promote the broader value of new technologies, or provide focused economic analysis, finding and conveying the right data can be cumbersome and resource intensive. This session will demonstrate interactive tools from several sources to help practitioners and researchers better serve their audiences.
The 116th Congress is considering multiple, significant innovation policies that could affect Regional Innovation Strategies, SBA entrepreneurial support, SBIR/STTR, tech transfer, federal labs, and more. Learn the latest updates on key programs and how SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council has helped keep regional innovation economies in the foreground of policy discussions—and how you can add your voice.
- Leslee Gilbert, Vice President, Van Scoyoc Associates
- Tom Quinn, Associate Vice President, Van Scoyoc Associates
SBIR is changing! Join us to hear how agencies across government are working to improve the SBIR/STTR program, and particularly changes to make the application process easier and faster. NSF will offer a deeper dive into their SBIR program and share details on their new proposal pitch process. *Session sponsored by NSF
12:00 PM | LUNCH & KEYNOTE SPEAKER
2:00 PM | BREAKOUT SESSIONS I (CHOOSE ONE)
Innovation organizations focus almost exclusively on equity finance, and not without reason. New businesses have little collateral, uncertain revenue and plenty of risk. However, debt can alleviate scaling pressures and help achieve better outcomes for the right startups. During this session, we will talk about debt structures that may fit your businesses and organization.
— Building the RI Innovation Economy
- Christian Cowan, Director, Polaris Manufacturing Extension Partnership
- Daniel Harper, CEO & Founder, Siren Marine
- Hope Hopkins, Program Director, MassChallenge
- David Osborne, CEO, Virgin Pulse
Description available soon!
In this session we’re going beyond the talk about more inclusion in entrepreneurship and focus on what’s actually occurring to provide support for entrepreneurs from varied backgrounds. We’ll take a look at some exciting examples focused on investment funds for women and support for underrepresented entrepreneurs; the lessons learned and overcoming the barriers to action.
3:15 PM | NETWORKING BREAK
3:45 PM | BREAKOUT SESSIONS II (CHOOSE ONE)
Co-investors are key to helping your companies scale, but they aren’t always easy to cultivate. Some venture development organizations choose to manage angel networks to help with the pre-, co-, and post-financings of portfolio companies. We will talk as a group about experiences with investor networks, including who leads due diligence, when to charge what fees, protecting company information, and more.
Focusing innovation and entrepreneurship toward improved functioning in and better governing of our city regions — regardless of size and walk of life — are the domains of urban tech and civic tech. Our time together in this session will explore the art of successfully growing startups for practical and profitable problem solving in the age of IoT and new urbanism.
The popular perception of our field is that it’s all about creating and growing technology companies, but since its creation decades ago, tech-based economic development has also emphasized deploying new technology and encouraging innovation in traditional industries. This includes industries that are tied to rural areas and may have an emphasis on natural resources. We’ll investigate some of the approaches being taken and how their work can influence what you’re doing for your region.
The goal of this session is to encourage universities and workforce-related organizations to think strategically about connecting academic departments (particularly engineering) with industry partners to produce wins for students and the companies. There are interesting design-focused learning experiences at Brown and other universities, and we are interested in successful uses of the IUSE program that are relevant to this topic. *Session sponsored by NSF
5:00 PM | NATIONAL INNOVATION RECEPTION
7:00 PM | DINE-AROUNDS
8:00 AM | BREAKFAST
9:00 AM | BREAKOUT SESSIONS III (CHOOSE ONE)
A growing number of entrepreneurs want their startups to do more than make investors rich — and just in time given the growing slate of social and environmental issues arising across the country. Entrepreneurial support organizations need to bring additional tools and a modified mindset to nurture these impactful companies toward scaling. In this session we will explore paths to success used by two social enterprise leaders making great impacts in their communities.
- Faith Knutsen, Director of Social Enterpreneurship and Innovation, Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs
- Kelly Ramirez, CEO, Social Enterprise Greenhouse
Cities whose economies enjoyed manufacturing growth engines in decades past were left reeling when factories closed and jobs left due to changing economic and technological forces. Today, some of these cities have been able to reimagine their industrial base and find new opportunities for growth. In this session, we’ll explore approaches that are being used to build on the past and current strengths of these cities to tie them to the innovation economy and also consider how to creatively reuse former industrial sites for innovation purposes.
While technology has benefitted many through its use, capabilities and promise of improved production and profits, it has also left many behind as the changing workplace demands higher skills and greater adaptability. Join this discussion to learn about programs that have worked to close the skills gap and learn how to revitalize your regional workforce in a more inclusive manner, from building the future workforce to retraining an existing workforce.
- Alade Tokuta, Professor of Mathematics and Physics, North Carolina Central University
Writing any federal grant proposal is daunting, and with a roughly one-in-six average success rate for SBIR/STTR, it is no surprise that many innovators look for support. What are the most effective approaches to support applicants? During this discussion, we’ll cover topics like Phase 0, FAST, service providers and other topics related to how to bring more SBIR/STTR awards to your region. *Session sponsored by NSF
10:15 AM | NETWORKING BREAK
10:45 AM | BREAKOUT SESSIONS IV (CHOOSE ONE)
The constant barrage of evidence that the pace of the change brought on by the climate crisis can be terrifying — paralyzing for many. Increasingly though, large corporations, many states and other nations are taking significant steps to mitigate additional contributions to the causes and to adapt to the challenges already underway. Science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship have leading roles to play. Is your organization helping your researchers, your companies, and your community to seize the opportunities before us? In this session, we’ll explore established and new paths for full engagement in the next economy.
Cultivating an innovation economy is hard work as it is, but these challenges can be even greater for suburbs, smaller cities and rural areas. From strengthening STEM education, to building a community of local inventors and entrepreneurs, to tapping into overlooked innovation assets, in this session you will learn from practitioners working outside of the nation’s major technology centers about their efforts to develop hubs that encourage innovation, support entrepreneurship, and help boost community vitality.
Research has shown that more than 130,000 manufacturing firms across the country are owned by baby boomers, but the vast majority of these businesses lack a plan for succession. Representing approximately 2.7 million workers and recording more than $690 billion in sales, these businesses and the places they support are facing an uncertain future as owners consider retirement. This is especially true for smaller communities and those reliant on manufacturing industries. In this session, we will learn from experts across the country about this looming threat, their proactive responses, and strategies to implement in your own community to ease the transition.
SBIR is an excellent program but is rarely the only resource available to innovative companies in the most vibrant regional economies. This session will feature mini-discussions on a variety of ways that state, local, university and federal partners support innovators, including matching awards, customer discovery, mentorship and more. Join us and participate in the conversations that are most relevant to you. *Session sponsored by NSF
12:00 PM | PLENARY: TRENDS IN REGIONAL INNOVATION ECONOMIES
No SSTI conference would be complete without our annual presentation of trends in regional innovation economies. Covering topics from workforce participation and capital formation to new state programs and federal policy, this talk addresses a wide range of important issues for the field. Be prepared to leave the conference with your head full of new angles, challenges, and opportunities to consider for your work.