Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority – is a hybrid of best practices from across the nation and Virginia’s unique assets, including our world-renowned higher education system and diverse regional economies. This structural legislation was drafted following:

  • 11 town halls all across the state with 481 participants;
  • 264 respondents to a survey on the needs of Virginia’s innovation economy;
  • Meetings with 65 organizations, from chambers and tech councils to accelerators and angel networks;
  • 3 significant work sessions with 172 business and education leaders;
  • Input from every major research university, tech transfer offices, private universities, and community colleges;
  • Ensured alignment with proposals from the 2019 General Assembly Session; and
  • Consultation with the existing Boards and staff of CIT, SCHEV, Senate Finance Committee, and House Appropriations Committee.

This report lays out the transparent process by which the Secretariat of Commerce and Trade organized and executed a workgroup to write legislation that consolidates, restructures, and transitions programs and articulates the legislative recommendations related to commercialization and venture-backed, research-driven entrepreneurship.

Need: To support the entire life cycle of innovation, from translational research, to entrepreneurship, to pre-seed and seed stage funding, to acceleration, growth and commercialization, enhancing Virginia’s tech-based economic development. A collaborative, consistent, and consolidated approach will assist the Commonwealth in identifying its entrepreneurial strengths, including the identification of talents and resources that make the Commonwealth a unique place to grow new innovation-based businesses.

Innovation report cover

It was well documented in TEConomy’s January 2018 report, Research-Asset Assessment Study, that Virginia is behind peer states and the country in commercialization of research, technology innovation, and overall high-growth tech-enabled entrepreneurial success. Some of the critical findings from TEConomy were Virginia’s limited funding for de-risking university technologies, the conflicts universities face between “revenue maximization” and “value creation”, lagging in formal venture capital funding at seed and early stage, and lack of scale of coordinated regional innovation efforts to name a few.

For the past two decades in Virginia there has not been a single entity, but many agencies and various programs working to fill the above stated need. Of those agencies, the two with the most significant impact are the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority (IEIA), created in 2009, and the Virginia Research Investment Committee (VRIC), created in 2016. Both work to de-risk university technologies, but insignificant funding levels yield limited returns compared to other states. Only the IEIA addresses seed and early stage funding, however it has been subject to significant budget reductions over the last decade. Neither entity in statute is responsible for coordinating and supporting regional innovation economies. In both cases, it is the structure of the statute and the appropriation level that most hinder their progress and success. The time for structural legislation of a new, consolidated Authority for innovation and new tech-based economic development is now!

    1. General History of Virginia’s Innovation Agencies and Programs
    2. Impact of Article X, § 10 of the Constitution of Virginia on Certain Investments
    3. TEConomy Report 2018: The Solution—Re-Envision Virginia’s Approach to Innovation-led, Advanced Industry Development
    1. Mission
    2. Town Halls, Statewide Survey, and Data Jam Series
    3. Timeline
    4. Terminology
    1. Universal Broadband
    2. Access to Capital
    3. Founder Friendly Policies Related to University Spin-Offs
    4. Coordinated Marketing Campaign for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    1. Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority Organizational Chart
    2. Purpose and Structure of Authority and Not-For-Profit
    3. Board Composition
    4. Divisions
      1. Division of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
      2. Division of Investment
      3. Division of Commercialization
    5. Authority Functions
      1. Marketing Virginia’s Statewide and Regional Innovation Economy
      2. Innovation Exploration
      3. Virginia Innovation Index
      4. External Affairs and Innovation Policy
      5. Finance and Administration
    1. Constituencies of High-growth, Multi-market Economic Development
    2. Geography of Constituencies
    3. Workgroup/Steering Committee Recommendations
    4. Notes from Working Group Sessions
    5. Summary of Statewide Survey
    6. Innovation Survey Data and Long Answers
    7. Raw Data from Statewide Town Halls
    8. OAG Opinion on Direct Investment
    9. Assessment of Virginia’s Research Assets: Strategic Directions to Advance Innovation-Led Growth and High Quality Job Creation Across the Commonwealth

Support the Legislation

Hundreds of stakeholders were engaged over the last eight months to establish the recommended new authority for innovation. We are now asking those stakeholders and others to declare their support for this report's direction. Complete this form and stand with your peers and Virginia founders in support of this partnership.

Pledge Your Support

VIPA Supporters

  • 757 Angels, Southeast Virginia
  • 757 Accelerate, Southeast Virginia
  • Activation Capital, Richmond
  • Charlottesville Angel Network, Charlottesville
  • Charlottesville Business Innovation Council, Charlottesville
  • Center for Innovative Technology, Statewide
  • Institute for Advanced Learning & Research, Danville
  • Lighthouse Labs, Richmond
  • Northern Virginia Technology Council
  • Opportunity Southwest, Wise
  • Richmond Technology Council, Richmond
  • Riverflow Growth Fund, Richmond
  • Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center, Roanoke
  • Startup Virginia
  • Startup Champions Network, Nationwide
  • Staunton Innovation Hub, Staunton
  • Staunton Creative Community Fund, Staunton
  • Shenandoah Valley Technology Council, Harrisonburg
  • Southern Piedmont Technology Council, Danville
  • Southwestern Virginia Technology Council, Norton
  • Staunton Innovation Hub, Staunton
  • The Launch Place, Danville
  • Tech Center Research Park, Newport News
  • Valleys Innovation Council, GO Va Region 2
  • VirginiaBio, Statewide
  • Virginia Business Council, Statewide
  • Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Statewide
  • Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine, Statewide
  • Virginia for Entrepreneurs (VA4E), Statewide
  • Virginia Research Investment Committee, Statewide
  • Women in Venture

Help Name the Authority

Words matter. During the statewide tour the number one consistent question was: What will you name the authority? Internally we used the name "NewCo," a generic name for a new company. Following the expected passage of this legislation, a name will be needed and we felt it best to crowd source for ideas. Please submit your suggestion below. We will take the top three names and vote once a bill is signed by the Governor.

Suggest a Name