This news release is from the previous Governor's administration.
For Immediate Release: September 21, 2016
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Christina Nuckols,

Governor McAuliffe Announces Virginia Entrepreneurial Challenge

~Partnership with VCU and Junior Achievement promotes entrepreneurship education to high school students~


RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that he is partnering with Virginia Commonwealth University and Junior Achievement of Central Virginia to host the Virginia Entrepreneurial Challenge on Saturday, October 15, and Sunday, October 16, 2016, at the VCU School of Business. The Challenge will be a weekend-long entrepreneurship boot camp for high school juniors and seniors. The weekend will culminate in a pitch competition in which Governor McAuliffe will attend and announce the winning team.

The mission of the Challenge is to expose high school students to entrepreneurship education and to provide students with the opportunity to develop and pitch their own ideas to a panel of judges, comprised of top Virginia business leaders and educators. Over the two days of the Challenge, teams of five students will be mentored by business leaders, VCU faculty and undergraduate students, and Junior Achievement volunteers. Students will propose cutting-edge business ideas that address today’s challenges in the new Virginia economy.

“I started my first company when I was 14 years old, so I know firsthand and believe in the power of supporting the creativity and innovation of young people,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Students participating in the Challenge will learn the skills needed for success in the new Virginia economy: resilience, ingenuity and a willingness to take risks. I encourage students across Virginia to come join us in Richmond, and I look forward to hearing some outstanding proposals.”

“The 21st century workforce demands that our students be able to think critically and communicate effectively,” stated Secretary of Education Dietra Trent. “The Governor’s Entrepreneurial Challenge will give students the opportunity to sharpen these essential skills and develop into more creative and successful entrepreneurs.”

“We are honored to host such a talented and driven group of students as they hone their skills at the Virginia Entrepreneurial Challenge,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “I look forward to seeing the solutions they develop to address some of today’s more challenging problems.”

“In a high-energy college setting, surrounded by experts in the field, students will experience the true essence of entrepreneurship and learn some of the skills and tools to set them up for success - problem solving, creativity, critical thinking, business presentations,” said Jay Markiewicz, Executive Director of Entrepreneurship Programs in the VCU School of Business. “Most importantly, they will leave with confidence and the belief that 'I can be an entrepreneur!'”

“Junior Achievement is excited to partner with Governor McAuliffe’s office and VCU to provide this program. The goal of this program is to teach students to identify business opportunities and to understand the effort and resources necessary to start a new business. Entrepreneurship is integrated into our mission of inspiring and preparing students to succeed in a global economy,” said Simon Hodges, Vice President of Corporate Strategy with Dominion Resources and Chair of Junior Achievement of Central Virginia

The Challenge is a product of partnerships formed through the Governor’s Council on Youth Entrepreneurship, which Governor McAuliffe formed in August 2015 to foster and support innovation and entrepreneurship for Virginia’s young people. It is open to high school juniors and seniors from across the Commonwealth. Students can sign up individually, as a member of a team or be nominated by their school. To register for the Challenge, please visit the programs webpage on the VCU Department of Business’ website here.

For questions about the Challenge, please contact Ryan O’Toole, Deputy Director of Scheduling in the Office of the Governor.