Virginia Beach Economic Development Announces Launch of VABeachBio Innovation Challenge

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The City of Virginia Beach is partnering with The Center for Advancing Innovation, a firm that has created more than 80 companies and more than 2,000 knowledge-based jobs by turning federally funded inventions into startup companies, to create the VABeachBio Innovation Challenge.  This challenge will be the first of its kind in America, bringing together entrepreneurs, industry and inventors who will compete to turn some of the most dynamic inventions from research labs into successful startup companies.

The challenge also seeks to help the region's large concentration of veterans in health, employment and education. Inventions utilized will be selected to target and improve veteran healthcare, and veterans will be given priority when competing to run the companies. Selected participants will also be mentored by the best minds in the biomedical business, including leaders from major pharmaceutical companies, investors, foundation leadership and universities. Local firms will have the opportunity to work with and mentor these entrepreneurs during the challenge.

Rosemarie Truman, founder and CEO of the Center for Advancing Innovation, said, "Through this unprecedented initiative, Virginia Beach is establishing a systematic paradigm that galvanizes and amplifies local and national resources to boost economic growth. I'm confident that this effort will be a force multiplier to power innovative veteran-led companies driving new technologies to improve patient health."

"This challenge will create jobs and allow for the translation of groundbreaking research into commercially viable products and services," said Virginia Beach Economic Development Director Warren D. Harris. "When companies graduate from the Challenge we will house them in our newly created VABeachBio Innovation Park, in the heart of the City's growing biomedical corridor. This opportunity will grow our biomedical footprint exponentially, boost our regional entrepreneurial platforms and establish Virginia Beach as a leader in veteran-specific healthcare and research."

More information on the VABeachBio Innovation Challenge, including an official launch date and how people can apply, will be released at the Virginia Bio THRIVE annual conference on April 6, 2017 at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront.  Sign up to attend at, e-mail or call David Couch or Steve Harrison with the Department of Economic Development at (757) 384-6464 for additional information.

The Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI) is a global public-private partnership, nonprofit focused on creating a virtuous circle of innovation and driving growth breakthroughs through novel, creative paradigms and models. CAI's mission is to accelerate and increase the volume of research commercialization in support of high growth business to ignite entrepreneurship, bolster the global economy, and maximize the commercial and knowledge-based potential of promising inventions. CAI's award-winning challenge-based accelerator, rigorous evidence-based due diligence, and capital-efficient lean management models serve to hyper-accelerate "gazelle" high-performing startups for outsized investor returns. Through its NIH-sponsored Breast Cancer Startup Challenge, Neuro Startup Challenge, and Nanotechnology Startup Challenge in Cancer competitions, as well as its NASA-supported SPACE RACE startup challenge, CAI has launched 58 startups and trained more than 2,000 entrepreneurs. For additional information about CAI, please visit

The mission of the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development is to attract and retain national and international businesses to stimulate capital investment and create jobs. Virginia Beach is the most populous city in Virginia with a population of 450,000, and it is the 37th largest in the United States. It is recognized as one of the Best Run Cities in America by 24/7 Wall St. The Department of Economic Development received re-accreditation through the International Economic Development Council in 2016 and is one of only 50 economic development organizations in the world to have this recognition. Virginia Beach is listed among the Top Five Overall Mid-sized American Cities of the Future, Top 10 for Economic Potential and Top Five for Infrastructure by fDi magazine. ranked Virginia Beach as the Easiest Place to Start a Business and the 2nd Most Business-Friendly City in the country. For more information, visit

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