On June 4, VT KnowledgeWorks' director, Jim Flowers, shared the stage in Paris with Christine Lagarde, French Minister for the Economy, Industry, and Employment, as they honored the winning student team at the Annual Entrepreneurial Project Challenge at TELECOM Sud-Paris.

As part of their award, the winning students will enjoy a week of leisure and learning at VT KnowledgeWorks in Blacksburg, Va. Activities for their September stay include a welcome dinner courtesy of the Virginia Tech Office of Outreach and International Affairs, a two-day Founders’ Readiness Retreat at Mountain Lake Resort, on-the-job shadowing of company presidents in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, social time with Hokie Entrepreneurship Society student members, and tickets to the Virginia Tech-Marshall football game.

The team says they plan to work in Blacksburg next summer as they continue to prepare their business concept for funding and launch. VT KnowledgeWorks is already the summer work-home of two other student teams from TELECOM Sud-Paris, winners of earlier contests at the French high-tech institute.

Preliminary planning is underway to expand the international reach of VT KnowledgeWorks to include other countries in Europe and beyond. A combined event, including both student teams and tech-business trade missions, is scheduled for September 2010.

“The market for technology-based businesses is global,” says Flowers. “By encouraging person-to-person overseas relationships for our local companies and entrepreneurial students we provide them with easier access to markets beyond our shores. Of course, the reverse is true as well. The dialogues also improve understanding of American markets for our foreign visitors. Everybody wins.”

VT KnowledgeWorks is a unique growth enhancement program open to entrepreneurs in the New River Valley and beyond. Acceleration center and incubation facilities are located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Va. Programs for members are divided into two categories according to the evolutionary status of the member company. Pre-launch program components are carefully constructed to help market-worthy ventures organize, formulate strategy, obtain outside investment, and launch in an efficient manner. Enterprise class members benefit from emphasis on strategic support for ongoing growth, continuing intra-preneurship, and professional development for the corporate leader.

VT KnowledgeWorks sponsors include Attaain Inc.; BB&T; Handshake 2.0; Harris Office Furniture; Hodges; Jones & Mabry P.C.; Latimer; Mayberry & Matthews IP Law; LeClairRyan; Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC); and The Becher Agency (TBA).

Written by Jim Flowers, director of VT Knowledgeworks.

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