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Innovation Economy Day


The Challenge Festival is presented by 1776 & Philips

Many thanks to The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Presenting Sponsor of the Innovation Economy Day during the Challenge Festival.

Friday’s Innovation Economy Day brings together entrepreneurs, policymakers, corporate leaders, and industry experts from domestically and abroad to discuss major themes about innovation in highly entrenched industries and approaches and solutions that can be applied across sectors.

We’ll be joined by Global Entrepreneurship Network President Jonathan Ortmans for an exclusive fireside chat, as well as by the following speakers on panels throughout the day:

10:15 AM Presentation of Innovation that Matters Findings

10:45 AM Disrupt or Partner: How do Startups Approach Entrenched Industries?

Startups breaking into highly regulated industries like energy and transportation often face a critical series of choices about how to engage the established industry players. Are there ways in which startups can work together with these groups to create new innovation, and how do they deal with conflict when it does arise?

Speakers include:

Stephanie Cutter, Partner, Precision Strategies

Peter Marx, Chief Technology Officer, City of Los Angeles

Nick Papas, Director of Public Affairs & PR, Airbnb

Kirk Daulerio, Cofounder, AdmitHub

Rob Ruyak, Managing Director, Strategic Ventures, Booz Allen Hamilton

Moderator: Michael Hendrix, Director for Emerging Issues and Research, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

12:45 PM Fireside Chat

Global Entrepreneurship Network President Jonathan Ortmans and 1776 Cofounder & Co-CEO Donna Harris

1:15 PM Unlocking Hidden Capital: Tapping into Existing Wealth Resources

Much of the discussion about building startup hubs often focuses on the lack of access to risk capital, but are there hidden resources within communities that are being ignored? How can entrepreneurs better tap into their cities’ existing wealth to build new industries for the 21st Century?

Speakers include:

Penny Lee, K Street Capital

Evan Burfield, Co-CEO & Cofounder, 1776

Ross Baird, Executive Director, Village Capital

Angel Rich, CEO, The Wealth Factory

Moderator: Tom Quaadman, Vice President, U.S. Chamber Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness

2:30 PM The International Perspective: Is a Global Startup Community Truly Possible?

This panel is presented by the Japan Innovation Network.

With the growth of entrepreneurial ecosystems across the world, there has been increased emphasis on the potential for these communities to break down geographic barriers to work together, share insights, and facilitate connections to help startups scale. But is this vision truly achievable? What barriers exist to creating a truly global startup community, and are there ways they can be overcome?

Speakers include:

Marcus Dantus, Cofounder and CEO, Startup Mexico

Hiro Nishiguchi, Executive Managing Director, Japan Innovation Network

Nick Fox, Partner & Director of External Relations, Virgin

Geraldine Gardner, Urban and Regional Policy, German Marshall Fund of the United States

Moderator: David Zipper, Managing Director, 1776 Ventures

Location: U.S. Chamber of Commerce – 1615 H Street NW
Cross Streets: Eye Street NW & 16th Street NW

Closest Metro: Farragut North (Red Line) Farragut West (Blue/Orange/Silver Lines)
Parking: Central Parking, 1625 I St NW (between 16th & 17th); SP Plus Parking, 1620 I St NW; MarcParc Garage, 1627 I St NW (Between 16th & 17th)



  • Nick Papas , Director of Public Affairs PR , Airbnb

    Nick Papas joined Airbnb last year as the accommodation rental website expanded its Washington presence and geared up for PR battles around the world. Papas came from the Obama administration, where he served as assistant press secretary and communications director…

  • Stephanie Cutter , Founding Partner , Precision Strategies

    Stephanie Cutter is a founding partner at Precision Strategies, a communications, digital and data targeting consulting firm in Washington DC and New York City. Her political and communications experience spans two decades in public service and the private sector; crafting communications and crisis-management…

  • Rob Ruyak , Managing Director, Strategic Ventures , Booz Allen Hamilton

    Rob leads the investment arm of Booz Allen's Strategic Ventures group focused on partnering and investing in small and mid-sized companies, incubators, and accelerators that together can help solve the firm’s most difficult client problems. As part of the Strategic…

  • Marcus Dantus , Cofounder and CEO , Startup Mexico

    A serial tech entrepreneur, Marcus was selected by Endeavor in 2003 for Simitel, which provides voice recognition solutions for companies. In 2005, Simitel launched its US operations. Since selection, the company’s revenues grew by 600%, and the number of jobs by 200%. After…

  • Hiro Nishiguchi , Executive Managing Director , Japan Innovation Network

    Mr. HIRO Nishiguchi is Executive Managing Director of a non-profit innovation platform organization, Japan Innovation Network, which he created with government research committee members. Prior to his current position, he was Executive Managing Director of Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ),…

  • Nick Fox , Partner & Director of External Relations , Virgin Group

    A former financial journalist at the Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times, Nick was hired by Granada Group as a fast track management trainee in 1997. Nick has since spent time in business development roles for Chrysalis Group, US private equity…

  • Geraldine Ide Gardner , Director, Urban and Regional Policy , German Marshall Fund of the United States

    Geraldine Ide Gardner is the director of GMF’s Urban and Regional Policy (URP) program, where she leads the program’s transatlantic initiatives to convene policymakers and practitioners from U.S. and European cities to explore key issues in the transatlantic urban agenda.…

  • Penny Lee , Senior Adviser , Venn Strategies, LLC

    Penny Lee is a seasoned political communications and government relations strategist. A regular commentator on the political process, campaigns and elections, she has been quoted extensively in the New York Times, Washington Post, National Journal, Bloomberg, Rollcall, Politico and dozens of local publications. Ms. Lee…

  • Ross Baird , Executive Director , Village Capital

    Ross developed the Village Capital concept in 2009. Village Capital sources, trains, and invests in entrepreneurs solving major global challenges, using a peer review process that delivers better results for entrepreneurs and investors. Village Capital has supported more than 450 entrepreneurs…

  • Jonathan Ortmans , President , Global Entrepreneurship Network

    Jonathan Ortmans serves as president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), a year-round platform of global programs and initiatives created by the communities that celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week each November. Aimed at creating one global entrepreneurial ecosystem, GEN helps people…

  • Kirk Daulerio , Cofounder , AdmitHub

    Kirk Daulerio has spent nearly twenty years in education.  He began his career in athletics at his alma mater, Swarthmore College.  After getting his Master’s degree in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania, he entered the world of college…

  • Peter Marx , Chief Technology Officer , City of Los Angeles

    Peter Marx is the Chief Technology Officer for the City of Los Angeles. He was the first Chief Innovation Technology officer for the city and was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on February 4th, 2014. His tasks include…