Governor McDonnell Declares 2012: The Year of the Entrepreneur
– Announces Newly Designated Monthly Office Hours to Meet with Entrepreneurs; Events to Highlight Virginia Entrepreneurship throughout the Year –
Proclamation is available here
RICHMOND - At a press conference in Richmond, Governor Bob McDonnell today declared 2012 "The Year of the Entrepreneur" in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Partnering with Virginia entrepreneurs, Chief Jobs Creation Officer Bill Bolling, the NFIB and others, today was the first of events that will be held throughout the year to highlight the role of entrepreneurs in creating opportunity for other Virginians; show why Virginia is the best place to start and grow a business; and to make the connection between education and job creation. After the kick-off press conference, Shawn Boyer, CEO of Snagajob.com and Jonathan Aberman of FoundersCorp spoke at an Entrepreneur Day Lunch. Following the lunch, Tom Silvestri moderated an Entrepreneurial Town Hall, with participants in fields ranging from high-tech to agriculture to retail to biotech from around the Commonwealth. Video from the press conference and town hall will be available later today on the Governor's website at http://www.governor.virginia.gov/.
Speaking about The Year of the Entrepreneur, Governor McDonnell said, "Virginia is an incubator for good ideas and we have the right tax, regulatory and business climate for entrepreneurs to turn those ideas into job-creating businesses. We have one of the best K-12 education systems in the country and we not only tell our young people to dream big, but more importantly give them the tools to follow through on their dreams. We have some of the top research institutions in the country over a wide spectrum of fields, with the infrastructure to develop ideas and begin to put them into practice. Perhaps most importantly, we have a community of entrepreneurial individuals who, in spite of the very real risk of failure, put their energy and sweat and savings into creating opportunities for themselves and others. I am declaring 2012 'The Year of the Entrepreneur' in Virginia to recognize these individuals, to study why they're successful in Virginia and to inspire others in Virginia and around the world to turn big ideas into reality here in the Commonwealth.
Throughout the year, we will highlight the stories of successful entrepreneurs, show why Virginia is the best place for entrepreneurs and look to what's next for the innovators in our Commonwealth. In the months ahead, we will hold roundtables and meetings with business owners, a business plan competition, a college 'elevator pitch contest,' an innovation summit and several more yet to be announced events to support, highlight and grow the ranks of the risk takers who create opportunity for other Virginians."
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling said, "Almost seventy percent of the jobs in Virginia are small-business jobs. If we want to grow our economy, we have to do more to support small businesses and entrepreneurs. I am pleased that we are focusing special attention on the entrepreneur with the goal in mind of empowering the private sector and unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of Virginians."
Dr. Lucy Gibney, founder of Lucy's Cookies, said "My days as an entrepreneur began when I discovered my son had severe food allergies. What started as tasty recipes for him turned into a growing business that allows me to share a delicious alternative for people with or without special dietary considerations. Entrepreneurs love Virginia because of the community of entrepreneurs who seek out opportunities for partnerships and recognize the value that our individual successes can have in branding the region. We also have responsible and responsive leaders at the local and state level who recognize the challenges faced by small business owners and go beyond listening to actually work with us for success. Their support and interest in our businesses is real and makes a significant difference."
"On behalf of our members, we appreciate the Governor's commitment to keep his Administration's focus on job creation and ways to foster the entrepreneurial spirit of Virginia's businessmen and women," said Nicole Riley, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, the commonwealth's largest small business organization. "NFIB is excited to partner with the Governor this year in hosting the Governor's annual Small Business Summit and to continue finding ways to support small businesses through this tough economy and continued economic uncertainty."
In addition to today's kick-off events, The Year of the Entrepreneur will include a business plan competition, entrepreneurial roundtable events, one-on-one meetings with small business owners, the Small Business Summit, a college "elevator pitch competition" and other events. Governor McDonnell is also making the commitment to personally meet with Virginia's business owners during newly designated "monthly office hours for entrepreneurs," which he will use to discuss first hand issues facing Virginia's job creators and innovators. More information on 2012: The Year of the Entrepreneur is available at www.governor.virginia.gov/yoe . The site will be updated with videos, photos, upcoming events and testimonials of Virginia entrepreneurs throughout the year.
Tom Silvestri, the moderator of the Entrepreneurial Town Hall, wrote a January 8 piece for the Richmond Times-Dispatch titled Richmond Region: Make 2012 the Year of the Entrepreneur. Silvestri, Leader, Richmond Media Group, Media General Inc., hosts regular town hall forums on a variety of issues in the Greater Richmond region.
# # #