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UVA Darden School Partners with Tom Tom Festival to Spark Innovation in Small Cities

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business today announced its partnership with the Tom Tom Founders Festival is continuing into its seventh year.

The festival — a celebration of innovators, visionaries and artists — will take place in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, 9–15 April, with keynote speakers including news icon Dan Rather, comic legend John Cleese, Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Goldstein and Honest Tea cofounder Seth Goldman, among others.

With an expected 20,000 attendees from across the U.S., Tom Tom advances a dynamic, hopeful vision for America’s hometowns in the digital age.

The Darden School, with its globally recognized faculty, entrepreneurship curriculum and W. L. Lyons Brown III Innovation Lab at UVA, is supporting the festival’s programming for startups, investors and innovators at the Hometown Summit and the Founders Summit, both of which extend over four days of the Tom Tom Founders Festival, from 11–14 April.

“At Darden, we are passionately committed to supporting game-changing entrepreneurs and disruptive innovations within a diverse and collaborative community,” said Sean D. Carr, executive director of Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “In our view, Tom Tom has become the main event for bringing together brash founders, bold ideas and civic visionaries all in one place. Now in our seventh year of sponsorship for the festival, we are proud to stand behind this great celebration of talent and energy in Charlottesville.”

Highlights of Darden’s engagement with the festival include:

  1. Leading the Energy Revolution, a multi-day programming track, will include a master class from Darden Professor Michael Lenox, author of the forthcoming book Can Business Save the Earth?: Innovating Our Way to Sustainability.

  2. Access to Capital and the Startup Ecosystem, an intensive series of workshops, roundtables and showcases, is designed to connect investors and entrepreneurs with the resources to start and scale ventures. The series will feature IDEO Portfolio Director Peter Jackson and Darden Professor Greg Fairchild, who was recently named the 2017 MBA professor of the year by Poets & Quants. The sessions will also emphasize financial inclusion with a keynote address titled Fighting Inequality with Finance.

  3. Design Thinking for the Greater Good highlights Darden Professor Jeanne Liedtka, an expert in strategy, ethics and entrepreneurship, who will take social entrepreneurs on a deep-dive into design thinking practices.

Darden will also collaborate with the Tom Tom Founders Festival to present:

  1. Tom Tom Founding Stories, a day of inspiration and learning with entrepreneurs who have revolutionized industries and enriched our world.

  2. Crowdfunded Pitch Night, an annual, community-focused, entrepreneurial competition sponsored by the i.Lab at UVA that has spun off dozens of diverse, local businesses since its launch in 2012.

  3. Youth Summit, co-sponsored by the i.Lab at UVA, which brings together high school students and educators with entrepreneurs and civic leaders to share inspirational stories from the young entrepreneurs, and collaborate on problem-solving competitions.

Tickets to the festival may be purchased on the nonprofit’s website:

Members of the press and reporters with letters of assignment may apply for press credentials via the 2018 Tom Tom Founders Festival Press Registration:

About the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The Batten Institute at the Darden School of Business serves as a catalyst for developing entrepreneurial leaders and for advancing knowledge about the transformative power of entrepreneurship and innovation.  To fulfill this mission the institute originates activities and hosts initiatives to serve the Darden School of Business, the University of Virginia and its broader entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem. The Batten Institute was established with gifts from UVA alumnus Frank Batten Sr., a media pioneer, visionary and founder of The Weather Channel.

About the Tom Tom Foundation

The Tom Tom Foundation is a nonprofit organization that celebrates entrepreneurship, culture, and innovation in small cities. Tom Tom’s signature event is a weeklong Founders Festival that takes place in Charlottesville, Virginia, each April in conjunction with Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. This cross-discipline, multi-venue experience transforms the historic downtown and empowers entrepreneurs, innovators, and civic leaders who are defining the future. Since its inception in 2012, the Foundation’s programming has showcased thousands of speakers, artists, and bands to 186,000 program attendees, and has channeled $2.9 million to new ventures and projects. Learn more:

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

This was originally published on Darden’s Homepage.

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