Darden Summit Sparks a New Declaration to Spur Entrepreneurship and Innovation


“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 U.Va. 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 Jefferson Innovation Summit

Today’s economic challenges call for renewed attention to innovation and entrepreneurship to spur economic growth, create jobs and ensure global competitiveness. Given the urgent need for civil discourse and healthy debate about these issues, the Jefferson Innovation Summit, hosted by the University of Virginia with support from its Batten Institute, initiated a broad and impactful exchange among our nation’s leaders. Through an unconventional and provocative format, the Summit brought together the brightest minds in business, government, academia, media and the arts to discuss how to create and sustain a society of entrepreneurs and innovators.

For more information, contact communication@darden.virginia.edu or a member of the Communication team.

top of page