Game Changer Week is Packed with Events for Entrepreneurs

game changer jason

There’s something for every entrepreneur at Game Changer Week — Sept. 13-15 — in Roanoke and Blacksburg. Sessions will help you connect with mentors and the greater regional innovation ecosystem. Plus, all of the events are free to attend.

One of the highlights of the event is a keynote talk for entrepreneurs by Jason Feifer, editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine, author of the book Build For Tomorrow (out this month), a startup advisor, and host of two podcasts: Build For Tomorrow, a show about the smartest solutions to our most misunderstood problems; and Problem Solvers, about entrepreneurs overcoming the odds in their business.

What can Jason offer you? After getting to know the world’s smartest entrepreneurs, he realized that success comes from embracing the unknown. He studied how they do it. He tried their tactics himself. Now he can help you become more adaptable—and build a better tomorrow.

Register now for events including:

  • Advancing NASA Intellectual Property from Idea to Market (Creating and Growing Under-Represented Women & Entrepreneurs of Color Led Science & Technology Start-Ups): The national Tech Center Research Park Accelerator Network Program connects leading-edge NASA-developed intellectual property and technology with underrepresented entrepreneurs to turn hypothesized ideas into sound business models and ultimately, tech-based start-ups. Participant recruitment is focused within MSI and HBCU institutions and alumni networks. The accelerator focuses on driving commercialization of federal lab technologies while building connectivity across the country and reaching traditionally underrepresented entrepreneurs who are invested in solving critical global challenges.
  • Long-Term Customer Discovery for Startups: In partnership with Virginia Bio, ICAP is continuing its presentation series on important topics related to Virginia’s life science startups. These presentations are a great opportunity to help founders expand their knowledge base, offer support and lessons learned from experienced ICAP Mentors, network with other startups, as well as introduce them to a number of resources from around the Commonwealth.
  • VPT: From Seed to Exit to Making Strategic Acquisitions: VPT started almost 30 years ago in a one room office in the VT Corporate Research Center.  It is now the largest manufacturer of DC-DC Power Converters serving the High Reliability markets of military, commercial aerospace, space, and High-End Industrial applications.  VPT power converters can be found on the F35 Fighter, the Boeing 787 Aircraft, GPS Satellites, and high temperature oil drilling equipment.  About thirteen years ago, VPT was acquired by a large publicly-traded aerospace company.  However, unlike most acquisitions in industry, VPT was encouraged to continue running completely independently.  This has proved to be an extremely successful model and VPT has used this same philosophy in making its own acquisitions and investments.   
  • Marketing for Tech and Innovation: Your company is off the ground. Your innovations are amazing. But why does it seem like no one gets it? You need a little marketing. Saying the right thing in the right place and the right time can help propel and amplify your message. In this session, you’ll learn some basic marketing techniques that can help you explain your technology to others, get more attention, and even get noticed in search engines.
  • SBIR Funding Strategies and Intro to VIPC’s Funding Support Programs: Hear an overview of the SBIR grant programs available at some of the largest federal agencies (DOD, NSF, NASA, Dept. of Energy, and more) and learn how to start considering the funding available from “America’s Seed Fund”.  You’ll also hear an overview of the SBIR support program available from VIPC, and an overview of the Commonwealth Commercialization Fund that provides $75K grants to Virginia based companies and universities. Finally, a short intro to the Virginia Innovation Commercialization Program (ICAP) that provides high level mentoring and customer discovery services to Virginia’s entrepreneurial community. This session is made available thanks to a Truist Foundation grant, awarded to Verge, and VIPC subject matter experts, who support entrepreneurs with capital finance education and access.
  • How it Started: Three Hokie Engineers Taking on Hallmark: In 1932, Hallmark stopped selling greeting cards out of shop drawers and put them on display racks where people can easily see them. And they’ve been selling cards this way ever since! Card Isle–a startup founded by three Hokie engineers–saw an opportunity to disrupt this $7B industry. Card Isle prints cards on-demand in hundreds of distribution centers across the country. This new approach empowers local artists to sell their cards nationwide, enables customers to personalize cards with their own message and language, and eliminates wasted cards. It also means that Card Isle can sell cards in new ways, such as through grocery pickup and other ecommerce channels. 
  • CytoRecovery: How It All Started: A short talk/improv about CytoRecovery’s origins and our story starting up in southwest VA.
  • MATCHINATOR Demo: Technology Transfer Consultants, LLC is a startup company that built an innovative machine automated tool called the “MATCHINATOR”. This tool instantly connects research capabilities to government funded technology gaps. Attendees will see the demo and have the opportunity to register in real time!
  • Hacksburg/Garvin Open House: This event will showcase Hacksburg, a community makerspace in the Garvin Building of the Corporate Research Center, along with our Garvin tenants who use Hacksburg to propel their companies forward. Hacksburg has a woodshop, metalshop, 3D printers, laser cutter, and electronics prototyping area to serve the needs of businesses and their employees’ hobbies to build anything from robots to rockets to rocking chairs.
  • Regional Ecosystem Celebration: Join the Verge team (RAMP & RBTC) as we hear from local entrepreneurs, economic developers, and state groups as they share the important role communities, local businesses, and state elected officials play in advancing our regional competitiveness through evidence-based entrepreneurship. Networking to follow.
  • Startup/Entrepreneur Networking with Jason Feifer: The editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine and author of “Build For Tomorrow” will talk with startup founders and entrepreneurs about growing themselves and their companies. Interactive question and answer style discussion. Bring your questions!

See the full schedule + register

Game Changer Week celebrates our innovative ecosystem where you will be inspired by disruptors from all industries, people with ideas, the curious looking to learn or invest, and the brightest talent among us. No matter the career or business stage you will find a catalyst to propel you forward at networking events, with thought leaders in action, and educational opportunities.

The events take place Sept. 13-15 in Roanoke and Blacksburg. Everything is led by your innovation community and events are free to attend. Register, download the app, and create an agenda of can’t miss talks, open houses, and networking events!

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