Previewing Charlottesville’s Seventh Annual Tom Tom Founders Festival
By Jay Hodgkins
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business and its Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation are long-time partners of Charlottesville’s Tom Tom Festival. As such, the School has borne witness to and been a part of the ever-growing event’s expansion in its seventh year into a sprawling, multifestival happening with 500 speakers, including news icon Dan Rather and comedian John Cleese, all packed into six days from 9–15 April.
UVA Today previewed the “smorgasbord” of events on tap, and included W.L. Lyons Brown III i.Lab at UVA Director David Touve’s take on this year’s schedule.
Touve … said so many things will be happening at this year’s festival “that it’s almost impossible to decide” what he is most looking forward to.
“Every great city or compelling city needs a great happening in town — something that brings the community together and even people from outside of it to collaborate, connect and think about what’s possible,” Touve said. “And to me, that’s what’s important about Tom Tom.”
Highlights of Darden’s engagement with the festival include:
- Developing Microenterprise to Employ Adults With Autism (11 April, CitySpace, 6:30–7:30 p.m. ET), a community workshop led by a panel of experts including i.Lab Incubator Director Jason Brewster who will discuss an innovative new model for providing sustainable employment for adults with autism
- Fighting Inequality With Finance (12 April, Jefferson Theater, 2–3:10 p.m. ET), a panel led by Darden Professor Greg Fairchild with speakers including Lendstreet founder and CEO Jerry Nemorin (MBA ’08)
- Can Business Save the Planet? (13 April, Violet Crown Theater 5, 4–4:50 p.m. ET), a master class led by Darden Professor Mike Lenox, author of the forthcoming book Can Business Save the Earth?: Innovating Our Way to Sustainability
- Data and Trends for Ecosystem Developers, a roundtable discussion moderated by Batten Institute Executive Director Sean Carr examining the tools available for entrepreneurial ecosystem development across the country
Darden will also collaborate with the Tom Tom Founders Festival to present:
- Tom Tom Founding Stories, a day of inspiration and learning with entrepreneurs who have revolutionized industries and enriched our world.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia