Building Bridges for a Better Future

 From “Bridge Builders” and “Trends in Tech-based Economic Development” to the National Innovation Reception and Sunrise Yoga, SSTI’s 2017 Annual Conference has a variety of content to enjoy.

Concurrent sessions are offered at several points throughout the conference – chart your own track by attending the roundtable and breakouts that best meet your interests and needs.

Use the tabs below to navigate the conference schedule by day.

Day 1
Sep 13 2017
Day 2
Sep 14 2017
Day 3
Sep 15 2017


Join one of the following interactive roundtables:

  • Capital Program Management
    Successful management of capital programs will be the focus of this roundtable. Come to discuss capital challenges, investment structures, program administration and ongoing sustainability with peers from around the country.
    #Capital #Funding #ProgramManagement

  • Cluster Initiatives & Networks
    Convene with other organizations looking to boost economic success and industry competitiveness through cluster collaborations during this meeting of colleagues looking to forge new partnerships, share their knowledge and build new connections.
    #Clusters #Collaboration #Regions

  • State Initiatives
    Those involved with innovation initiatives on the state level will want to join their peers for a lively conversation focused on today’s topics of interest. This is your time to explore solutions to challenges present on the state level and hear how others are meeting the needs presented in their states.
    #Entrepreneurship #ProgramManagement #R&D #Workforce

First Time Attendees / New Members Welcome

First-time attendees are encouraged to attend a special welcoming meeting with fellow novices and a few long-time participants. You will get a chance to meet people in a relaxed setting and hear about the conference structure and opportunities for the next few days. Light refreshments and beverages will be served.

This session is sponsored by:
Innovation Policyworks

Opening Reception on Capitol Hill

Our opening reception is a popular way to meet up with others working in the innovation economy as we gather over light refreshments and relaxed conversation. Catch up on the latest news, reconnect with colleagues, or recount your day on the Hill as we unwind.

Young Professionals Meetup

Young professionals looking to continue the evening’s conversation after the opening reception are encouraged to join your peers and make your way around D.C., visiting some of the local establishments.

Sunrise Yoga / Fun Run

Charge your body and calm your mind before you dive into the conference sessions with morning yoga at the hotel or an organized fun run.

Welcome and Opening: Bridge Builders

Shifting funding priorities and political turmoil have had repercussions on those involved in innovation. The current climate of uncertainty leaves many wondering where to go from here. The morning is designed to help make sense of the confusion and provide clarity and solutions.

We will engage with some top thinkers on and off Capitol Hill to understand the current climate in more detail. There will be opportunities for open discussion and you’ll have a chance to make your voice heard as well.

Hacking a Better Future

In another highly interactive session, we’ll tap into all of the creativity and talent gathered at the conference to hack solutions to our shared problems, making real progress toward positive change and creating a clearer path to innovation-based prosperity.

SSTI Building a Better Future Awards Ceremony

During a special ceremony on Sept. 14, SSTI will recognize organizations from across the country that serve as models for creating a better future by fostering a climate where startups...
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Breakout Sessions A

Choose your own track by selecting one of the breakouts available at this time:

  • Creating a Better Future: Winning Approaches
    Exclusive insight into outstanding, innovative economic development initiatives is a key reason to attend the SSTI Annual Conference. Through the power roundtable format, attendees will gain insight into award-winning initiatives through one-on-one interaction with practitioners from the organizations that are creating a better future in their region. The session will leave participants energized with more than a dozen specific best practices and ideas to help craft a better future in their region.
    #Capital #Impact #ProgramManagement #R&D #TechTransfer #Workforce

  • Maximizing Innovation in Manufacturing: A Look Ahead
    In this discussion-based session, manufacturing thought leaders from MForesight, a national consortium focused on enhancing U.S. manufacturing competitiveness through partnering with the broader manufacturing community to inform policies and investment in advanced manufacturing technology development, will explore recommendations around enhancing performance across the supply chain, improving cyber security for manufacturers and developing an advanced manufacturing workforce. Additionally, this session will discuss best practices for engaging local manufacturers early in the technology development process to accelerate implementation, and for facilitating university technology transfer to local manufacturers.
    #Clusters #HigherEd #R&D

  • Scaling Socially-Positive Companies
    Session description is coming soon!
    #Capital #Entrepreneurship #Impact #ProgramManagement

  • Starting a Cluster Initiative: Assessing Why, When and How to
    When developing a cluster strategy, garnering sufficient support is a crucial step before formalizing a program or initiative. This session will explore the ins and outs of developing a regional cluster and innovation initiative, with a focus on private-sector leadership and developing partnerships for long-term sustainability and success. Hear from cluster initiative leaders from around the country about their experiences growing an entrepreneurial ecosystem, communicating the network’s value and measuring success.
    #101 #Clusters #ProgramManagement #Regions

Breakout Sessions B

Sessions offered at this time are:

  • Collaborating with Research Resources
    Tech drives innovation economies but numerous regions and clusters leave one of the single greatest sources of IP – the federal labs – largely untapped. Speakers will discuss some of the creative ways organizations leverage the labs’ innovation portfolios to help region- and cluster-based companies find technical solutions, launch new products and create economic growth. Participate in this session to identify new ways your region can work with federal labs to unlock a better future.
    #Clusters #Collaboration #Federal #R&D #Regions #TechTransfer

  • Defining Solutions Toward our Workforce Challenges
    Articulating the specific challenges facing the workforce development community is a necessary step before identifying potential solutions. This interactive discussion will discuss these key challenges, describe the different elements of “talent,” and recognize how different partnerships and initiatives are approaching the topic. Finally, we will look at the implications for clusters and technology-based economic development more broadly.
    #Clusters #Collaboration #HigherEd #Regions #Rural #Workforce

  • From Zero to Exit: Lessons from Successful Public-Private Investment Funds
    Aah, the exit! Moving an innovation startup through investment and mentoring services all the way to a successful exit isn’t easy. In fact, many of the younger regionally based funds haven’t experienced many exits yet; the youngest funds, none. In this session, we will have a rare opportunity to listen in on a conversation among some of the most experienced — and successful — VDO investment managers in the field. Drawing insights on how their funds have achieved multiple exits, the managers will discuss topics ranging from team selection, fund objectives, governance, due diligence techniques, key leadership qualities and path selection toward exit, to closure. We’ll also hear them explore the various forms an exit can take and the policy implications for a public-private investment fund. This session will be designed for an audience having some investment experience.
    #Advanced #Capital #Entrepreneurship #ProgramManagement

  • Understanding Defense R&D Funding Opportunities
    The U.S. Department of Defense has an annual budget of approximately $13 billion for R&D and has become increasingly interested in working with external partners for joint projects. DOD’s innovation initiatives can operate either department-wide or within specific services and all have an ultimate, internally-focused goal of aiding the American war-fighter, and these different orientations can lead the uninitiated to find working with DOD confusing. During this session, a panel of experienced practitioners will discuss traditional and novel opportunities to work with DOD to advance innovation.
    #101 #Federal #Funding #HigherEd #R&D

National Innovation Reception

Following your first full day of sessions, discussions, challenges and education, join us for drinks and light hors d’oeuvres during an energizing reception at the Renaissance Capital View Hotel.

Dine-Around D.C.

Meet up with other conference goers for dinner at one of the dine-around options on Thursday evening. We’ll take the work out of the reservations for you, as we’ll have several options set aside ahead of time.

Sunrise Yoga / Fun Run

Charge your body and calm your mind before you dive into the conference sessions with morning yoga at the hotel or an organized fun run.

Breakout Sessions C

Choose your own track by selecting one of the breakouts available at this time:

  • Addressing High Demand Sectors' Workforce Needs
    Increasing the skills of current and future workers is an important task in growing and maintaining a successful regional innovation cluster. This session will explore how cluster initiative practitioners are working with industry to develop innovative programs to provide the skills needed for in-demand jobs. Additionally, this session will include a discussion on implementing sector partnerships around workforce development through activities such as apprenticeships, credentialing, and other mechanisms.
    #Clusters #Collaboration #Workforce

  • Insights into the New Federal R&D Portfolio
    In the midst of an uncertain political environment, federal agencies continue to make investments in scientific research and transformation that provide critical support to regional innovation economies. Join this conversation on the current direction of these investments and policies related to the federal R&D portfolio.
    #Federal #Funding #R&D #TechTransfer

  • Launching Funds in Under-Capitalized Regions
    Many regions have little or no investment capital readily available, but the fundamentals for a fund may still be present. In the absence of an existing local model, how can a prospective fund pull existing resources together, attract the right staff and launch successfully? This session will feature experienced investment practitioners discussing their efforts, challenges and successes in marshaling this funding.
    #101 #Capital #Entrepreneurship #ProgramManagement #Regions #Rural

  • Making the Argument for Innovation as a Priority
    A federal budget proposal that would slash support for research, innovation and assisting companies. Talking points that undermine science and the scientific method. Tepid (at best) support for higher education. It’s no wonder the innovation community feels under attack. Yet, survey work done by SSTI and passage of statewide ballot issues indicates there is strong popular support for investments in science and technology for economic prosperity. How do we translate that popular support into political support? How do we make the argument for innovation as a priority to audiences ranging from rural legislators to city council members? In this interactive discussion session, we’ll consider what we know about support for our work, what’s worked in making the argument and what we need to do for broader success.
    #Collaboration #Impact #ProgramManagement #Rural

Breakout Sessions D

Choose your own track by selecting one of the breakouts available at this time:

  • Cultivating CEO Talent: What Works and What Doesn't
    Transforming an innovation into a commercial success requires a level of entrepreneurial sophistication that often seems in short supply. Over the years, organizations have tried a wide variety of approaches to develop a robust stable of C-suite talent to call upon. Come prepared to engage in an open conversation about these initiatives in your region — this session is intended to help regions improve the efficacy of existing programs and to learn from others’ lessons.
    #Collaboration #Entrepreneurship #ProgramManagement #Rural #Workforce

  • Fostering Company Connections
    Whether it is helping a startup capture its first customer, or helping small- and medium-sized businesses tap into larger supply chains, connecting companies of all sizes is critical to regional innovation clusters. This interactive roundtable session will feature multiple examples of how cluster and innovation initiatives are fostering connections between large and small companies for the betterment of the cluster as a whole.
    #Clusters #Collaboration #ProgramManagement #Regions #Rural

  • Higher Ed's Role in Addressing Workforce
    A skilled workforce is essential in the innovation economy. Part of higher ed’s output are educated citizens that make up the future workforce, but beyond that general goal, what exactly is higher ed’s role in addressing companies’ workforce needs. In this session, we’ll consider the role that higher ed plays, misconceptions about what it is and is not doing, and then take a look at examples where higher ed is working with industry to address workforce shortages.
    #Collaboration #HigherEd #Workforce

  • Insights on the Federal Capital & Entrepreneurship Portfolio
    This session will provide you with an opportunity to better understand federal programs that can help you support startups and entrepreneurs in your regional innovation economy. Using our power roundtable format, managers from a variety of agencies will be available to discuss programs and answer questions.
    #Capital #Entrepreneurship #Federal #Funding

Trends in Tech-Based Economic Development

Always a popular highlight of the conference, the Trends in TBED plenary is a wide-ranging presentation of the major influences affecting the innovation economy as well as new developments in the field from the past year and a look ahead into 2018. Join SSTI President and CEO Dan Berglund on Sept. 15 for this insightful glimpse into the forces driving the future of your efforts.