In the summer of 2011, a number of competing proposals for innovative initiatives were being discussed in Raleigh. A group of leaders got together and asked the question, “What makes the most sense?” They came to a decisive conclusion: Let’s ask the community.
NC State University, the City of Raleigh, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, Raleigh Economic Development and Wake County Economic Development joined forces to host the Raleigh Innovation Summit on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at the Raleigh Convention Center. The event was designed to create a unified vision for the City’s future in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship, with a plan of action for participants.
“Numerous groups are interested in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, but we recognized that someone needed to focus on a plan of action,” explains Dr. Terri L. Lomax, Vice Chancellor of Research, Innovation & Economic Development at NCSU. “The University and its partners are committed to building a City of Innovation that will help define Raleigh’s economic future. The Summit was the first step.”
Four topics were chosen for discussion by specific Task Forces with expertise in each arena. The topics included:
- Defining the Raleigh Innovation Center based on the needs of the customer.
- Branding Raleigh as a city of innovation and creativity.
- Creating public-private-university partnerships.
- Attracting more funding, angel investment and venture capital.
The community was also invited to share its ideas through submissions to the website and at a pre-summit meet up.
Based on feedback from 175 Summit participants, four action items were selected:
- Establish monthly innovation meet ups that give entrepreneurs and innovators the opportunity to network and learn.
- Create a Raleigh Innovation Center to serve as a physical storefront for innovation and entrepreneurial services and programs.
- Develop an online map of innovation assets.
- Support the Triangle’s efforts to win a direct flight to and from San Francisco.