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Shenandoah Community Capital Fund to host bi-annual builders spring summit event

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Startup Champions Network (SCN) is headed to the Shenandoah Valley from April 30 to May 2 for the 2024 Spring Ecosystem Builders Summit.

SCN Summits are at the heart of the organization’s programming and bring together some of the world’s top entrepreneur ecosystem builders and national entrepreneur ecosystem support organizations to network, learn and share ideas.

Each summit location is chosen based on members who wish to partner with SCN to shine a light on and celebrate their local entrepreneur ecosystem. This year’s champions are Debbie Irwin, Managing Director, Lighthouse Labs and Co-Founder of Manufactory Collective; Anika Horn, Director of Ecosystem Development at Shenandoah Community Capital Fund (SCCF); and Ryan Hall, Interim Executive Director, SCCF.

Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation has also joined as a Presenting Sponsor.

The summit theme, “It Takes a Valley,” will showcase the collaborative spirit of the Shenandoah Valley ecosystem, taking attendees to Harrisonburg, Staunton and Waynesboro.

“The central theme of this summit is It Takes a Valley, a nod to the fact that helping the dreamers and doers in our region thrive requires close collaboration among all accomplices in our ecosystem. And that collaboration cannot happen without a strong foundation of trust. Several aspects of the Summit are intentionally geared to facilitating meaningful conversations among attendees,” co-host Anika Horn said.

The summit will also challenge the common misconception that technology is synonymous with innovation. Summit attendees will meet local entrepreneurs with innovative products, services and business models, some of which are strictly non-tech, others which are tech-enabled.

SCN Summits take place twice annually and are essentially a live, in-person case study of a member’s ecosystem. Attendees will get an inside look at programs, initiatives and best practices within the city while also getting an insider’s view of the food, culture and hot spots. While each summit is unique in terms of agenda, they all have three fundamental goals:

  • Help Ecosystem Builders connect with key peers and resources

  • Improve Ecosystem Builders’ knowledge and best practices

  • Help Ecosystem Builders develop mission-critical skills

In addition to regular summit programming, Startup Champions Network will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary as an organization that champions ecosystem builders.

“In the Shenandoah Valley SCN will celebrate 10 years of traveling across the country amplifying the work of our members centering on local entrepreneurs to sustain and grow their communities. We use our summits to connect members, share knowledge, and get to know various types of entrepreneurial communities. This is important as we continue to witness the maturity of entrepreneur ecosystem building as a profession.” SCN Board Chairman Mark Lawrence said.

Registration is open to ecosystem builders and champions looking to network, learn, and be in community. Learn more about SCN Summits and register on the Startup Champions Network website here.

The mission of Startup Champions Network is to provide builders of entrepreneurial ecosystems the connections, resources and professional development they need to cultivate thriving and inclusive communities.

Shenandoah Community Capital Fund (SCCF) in downtown Staunton is a 501(c)3 nonprofit entrepreneurial support organization serving the entire Shenandoah Valley. For 15 years the organization has expanded and innovated alongside the region’s entrepreneurs and small business owners to become one of the lead conveners in the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.