Darden Summit Sparks a New Declaration to Spur Entrepreneurship and Innovation

25 January 2012

“Reviving America’s spirit of discovery and innovation will be essential to maintaining our place in today’s world of globalization,” says Robert Bruner, dean of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

As the United States struggles to recover from an economic recession and looks for ways to inspire growth, business leaders, elected officials and educators who attended last fall’s Jefferson Innovation Summit at the University have rallied behind a vision of change for America built upon a foundation of innovation and entrepreneurship. The Darden School of Business, through its Batten Institute, convened the national leaders who have written a new Thomas Jefferson-inspired Declaration of Principles, which sets forth seven principles aimed at developing a more innovative and entrepreneurial society.

The declaration calls for engagement from all stakeholders across the public and private spheres to foster change in elements of society ranging from education and financial services to immigration and intellectual property — specifically championing the following:

  1. A comprehensive educational system that develops and inspires all people to be curious and creative leaders by providing experiential learning opportunities and exposure to imaginative and entrepreneurial role models
  2. An entrepreneurial culture that inspires and empowers communities and individuals to embrace, nurture and celebrate innovators and entrepreneurs
  3. Collaborative public and private financial institutions that promote appropriate investment in innovative research, entrepreneurial startups and social enterprises
  4. Progressive immigration policies that attract and retain the best talent in the world and encourage them to work for local businesses and launch their own ventures
  5. A coherent tax structure that encourages investors, managers, entrepreneurs and inventors to allocate greater risk capital to research, development and new venture creation
  6. A nimble and professionalized regulatory system that simplifies and harmonizes regulation across nations, states, regions and municipalities, enabling productive and progressive risk taking
  7. Modernized intellectual property laws that reflect the realities of the post-industrial age in order to improve collaborative efficiency and better incentivize the co-creation of new ideas, technologies and ventures.

“The principles spelled out by the summit delegates provide a clear path forward toward the goal of spurring growth through entrepreneurship and innovation — and correctly identify education as the core building block to ensure we remain an entrepreneurial and innovative society,” says Bruner. “I’m proud to both endorse the declaration and help advance the next leg of the summit’s work — with Darden’s firm commitment to advance knowledge and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.”

The Batten Institute has committed to conducting robust research and holding dialogues on entrepreneurship education, part of the ongoing agenda of the Jefferson Innovation Summit. With continued guidance and input from the summit participants, the Batten Institute also plans to address each of the principles in the coming years. Future summits will convene key stakeholders to evaluate progress made and set new agendas and goals that build on the declaration.

“Entrepreneurship is critical to the nation’s long-term prosperity, and the declaration demonstrates our collective commitment to step up our game and focus on the startup economy,” said Scott Case, CEO of the Startup America Partnership and a leader of the drafting committee responsible for the Declaration of Principles.
The following summit participants have put forth their support of the declaration:

John Abele – Boston Scientific, Co-Founder
Frank Batten Jr. – Landmark Media Enterprises, CEO & Chairman
Dan Bierenbaum – Batten Institute, Senior Research Associate
Leslie Greene Bowman – Thomas Jefferson Foundation, President
Lyons Brown – Altamar Brands, Founder & CEO
Robert Bruner – Darden School of Business, Dean
Robin Fray Carey – Social Media Today, CEO
Sean Carr – Batten Institute, Director, Intellectual Capital & Research
Scott Case – Startup America Partnership, CEO
John Casteen – University of Virginia, Professor & President Emeritus
Mark Crowell – University of Virginia, Executive Director for Innovation Partnerships & Commercialization
William Davidow – Mohr Davidow Ventures, Partner Emeritus
Trip Davis – TRX, Co-Founder & former CEO Darden School Foundation, President
Allison Cryor DiNardo – King Street Wireless, President
John Elstrott – Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship, Executive Director
Ntiedo Etuk – Tabula Digita, Co-Founder & CEO
Frank Genovese – The Rothbury Corporation, President
Linda Goldstein – Original Artists, President & CEO
William Hawkins – Medtronic, Former Chairman & CEO
Ed Hess – Darden School of Business, Batten Executive-in-Residence
Pam Iorio – Tampa, Florida, Former Mayor
Donald King – Deutsche Asset Management, Vice Chairman
Michael Lenox – Batten Institute, Associate Dean and Executive Director
Robert Litan – Kauffman Foundation, VP for Research and Policy and Brookings Institution, Senior Fellow
Gene Lockhart – Berenson & Company, Senior Advisor
William McDonough – McDonough Advisors, Chairman
Sonja Hoel Perkins – Menlo Ventures, Managing Partner
Daniel Pink – Author, Drive & A Whole New Mind
Harry Rein – Foundation Medical Partners, General Partner
John Rogers Jr. – Local Motors, CEO & Co-Founder
Saras Sarasvathy – Darden School of Business, Associate Professor
Jigar Shah – The Carbon War Room, CEO
Thomas Skalak – University of Virginia, VP for Research
Brian Trelstad – Acumen Fund, Chief Investment Officer
Mary Tripsas – Harvard Business School, Associate Professor
Albe Zakes – Terracycle Inc., Global VP
Roger Werner – Speedvision and OLN Networks, Former CEO

The full text of the preamble of the Declaration of Principles, listed below, mirrors the spirit and approach of The Declaration of Independence penned by UVA Founder Thomas Jefferson:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that a flourishing society empowers its people to innovate and create, providing the freedom to bring forth ideas in the pursuit of economic and social well-being. Our nation, built upon an unyielding entrepreneurial spirit, has risen to greatness with these essential truths as a foundation. Yet, whenever policies or institutions — both public and private — fall short in these ends then we bear a responsibility to remedy these shortcomings, thereby reinvigorating our society and ensuring no spurious limits on the inventiveness of humankind.

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., MSBA 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.


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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia