RIT to cohost hundreds of entrepreneurship professionals for international conference

Monday, September 26, 2016

This weekend, more than 425 entrepreneurship experts from the United States and abroad will arrive in Rochester, N.Y., as the city showcases two universities’ entrepreneurial expertise and endeavors as well as dynamic growth, excellence in programming and the impact on the local community and beyond.

The 2016 Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, or GCEC, will be co-hosted by University of Rochester’s Ain Center for Entrepreneurship and Rochester Institute of Technology’s Albert J. Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The conference, themed “Turning Over a New Leaf,” features more than 200 panelists at 50 plenary sessions, workshops, breakout discussions and keynote speeches.

The conference will be attended by entrepreneurship experts from more than 220 universities, including Cornell University, Duke University, Georgetown University, MIT, Stanford University, and UCLA, as well as representatives from 17 countries including Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Sweden, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Events on Thursday, Sept. 29, will be held in downtown Rochester at the Hyatt Regency and at the Eastman School of Music’s Eastman Theatre. Sessions at UR will be held Sept. 30. RIT will host sessions Oct. 1, with President Bill Destler welcoming guests at 10:45 a.m. in Ingle Auditorium, Student Alumni Union, followed by a keynote address from Jeff Hoffman, co-founder of Priceline.com and serial entrepreneur.

Richard DeMartino, professor and director of RIT’s Simone Center, will also be part of a panel discussion at noon on Sept. 29 on “Connections with Evan Dawson,” WXXI-AM 1370.

According to DeMartino, hosting the conference attendees in Rochester is a nod to the city’s national standing in this area.

Rochester, N.Y., is known worldwide as a technology hub. The area is nationally noted for patents per capita and its robust entrepreneurial environment.

“Rochester has a rich history of innovation and it started 100 years ago with companies like Eastman Kodak, Xerox and Bausch & Lomb,” said DeMartino. “These organizations, in turn, helped in the creation of large universities, such as RIT and UR, and further helped foster economic development in the region. This conference, which provides tremendous visibility to our universities, is a reflection of the advancement of the region, and the partnership of RIT and UR leads to an approach that is complementary where strengths in technology, design and business meet research in optics and medicine.”

The GCEC, the premier academic organization addressing the emerging topics of importance to the nation’s university-based centers for entrepreneurship, allows universities to network, benchmark and explore how to best promote entrepreneurship education and new venture creation. It has become the vehicle by which the top, established entrepreneurship centers, as well as emerging centers, can work together to share best practices, develop programs and initiatives, and collaborate and assist each other in advancing, strengthening and celebrating the role of universities in teaching the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

The GCEC current membership totals more than 225 university-based entrepreneurship centers ranging in age from well-established and nationally ranked to new and emerging centers. Each year a global conference is held on the campus of a GCEC member school.

For more information about the conference and to watch a video, go to www.GCEC2016.com.

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