Why Entrepreneurship Summit?
The value of convening entrepreneurs
The second annual Shenandoah Valley Entrepreneurship Summit was a dynamic gathering of business owners and entrepreneurial minds from across the region. Over two days, attendees were treated to thought-provoking panels with other local entrepreneurs, workshops from area experts, and ample networking opportunities over delicious food from Magpie Diner that left everyone in attendance with valuable insights and inspiration.
As we said at the kick-off of the Summit, starting a business is hard, but you shouldn’t have to do it alone! Our challenge as ecosystem builders in the Shenandoah Valley is that the region we serve spans a nearly 2.5-hour length of I-81. This means that sometimes it’s hard to find other like-minded people to talk business with, which is why an event like the SVES is so important.
SCCF hosts this Entrepreneurship Summit every year to convene the entrepreneurial ecosystem. It’s a chance for business owners to pause from their busy lives and commit to improving themselves—as business leaders, managers, and people. As a result, this helps them improve their business. It’s our hope that through the panels, workshops, and discussions between fellow entrepreneurs, folks come away with skills, new ways of thinking, ideas, and inspiration to help push them through the tough days of starting and growing a business.
We also realize that two full days of sessions and workshops can be overwhelming, which is why the SVES intentionally includes ample downtime for entrepreneurs to process what they’re learning. The event started with an industry networking morning that allowed people to find fellow business owners in the creative, retail, tech, and manufacturing spaces. This gave people a ready-made group of connections to move through the next two days. One entrepreneur told us, “I didn’t know anyone coming to this event. But because of the industry networking, I suddenly had a squad of people who knew exactly what it’s like owning a store to talk with.”
Additionally, SCCF was able to highlight some of the area's most exciting innovators. From flower farmers to tech startups, and retail shop owners to serial entrepreneurs, small business owners got to hear from a variety of entrepreneurs. The day-two morning panel called, “How to Have a Happy Cofounder” was especially impactful, even for folks who don’t have co-founders. One solo-entrepreneur commented, “When the session started, I thought - eh, cofounders. That’s not for me. But then I found myself taking pages and pages of notes! They were all so insightful on being good business people, not just cofounders!”
We had such an incredible time at the new Loft at Liberty St, SCCF plans on hosting the event there next year, too! Harrisonburg is centrally located, and the Loft at Liberty St. Mercantile—filled with small businesses on the first floors—is a great place for entrepreneurs to gather. Stay tuned for Summit ‘24 dates soon!
See more photos from the event here.