Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum set April 23 at UD
John Fernandez


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3:14 p.m., April 6, 2010----The University of Delaware's third annual President's Forum on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, “Creating the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem,” is set for 8 a.m.-2:15 p.m., Friday, April 23, at John M. Clayton Hall on the UD campus in Newark.

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John Fernandez, assistant U.S. secretary of commerce for economic development, will begin the day with a national perspective on entrepreneurship. Other speakers include David G. Thomson, author of Blueprint to a Billion, a popular book analyzing the success of America's fastest growing companies, and David Bullock, co-author of Barack 2.0.

Two panel presentations will enhance the forum. David Pensak, author of Innovation for Underdogs, and Alfred Spector, vice president of research and special initiatives at Google, will discuss innovative thinking with moderator Dinette Rivera, president/CEO of Rivera Business Development Group.

The second panel will involve Stephen Roettger and Wesley Garnett, partners and co-founders of the Verge Business Development Group, whose new coworking office space, coIN Loft in Wilmington, is garnering press attention. They will be joined by Don Mahoney, co-founder and chief product officer of BDMetrics, and Cynthia Gale, principal and designer of GeoArt jewelry company.

Just before lunch, UD President Patrick Harker and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell will introduce and recognize the finalists and winners of the UD Business Plan Competition. The final presentations of the Business Plan Competition will be held the previous day, Thursday, April 22, at Clayton Hall beginning at 2 p.m. The final presentations will be followed by a reception and lecture by David G. Thomson at 4:30. The Business Plan Competition is open to the public at no charge. Those interested in attending should RSVP to [].

“A culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is important to the creation, attraction, and retention of new entrepreneurial businesses in Delaware,” says David Weir, director of the University's Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships and one of the planners of this year's forum. “The focus of this year's forum is to develop the idea of bringing together people, capital and ideas into what we are calling an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. This Ecosystem will provide entrepreneurs with a support structure and a pathway to enable entry to the business community.”

The forum is co-sponsored by Delaware Economic Development Office, First State Innovation, Belfint, Lyons and Shuman, PA, the Emerging Enterprise Center of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, and Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC.

The cost of the April 23 conference, which includes a luncheon, is $25. The registration deadline is Friday, April 16. For more information about the forum, go to the Web page or call (302) 831-7600.