Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx touted the citys growing class of entrepreneurs and urged business leaders to build partnerships that will encourage innovation at an event hosted by the Charlotte Chamber on Wednesday.
Innovation Exchange was designed to connect entrepreneurs with corporations and local resources for capital, mentorship and business opportunities.
As one of the mornings keynote speakers, Foxx said he hopes Charlotte can become a hub for new ideas, which will require developing the citys first deliberate entrepreneurship strategy.
A key to building this network is making sure innovation can grow and stay in the city, he said.
We dont want Charlotte to be like the Jackson 5, where all the brothers are working together and one goes off and makes it big, Foxx said.
Several speakers represented local startup communities, such as Packard Place and Edison Nation, which offer various services for entrepreneurs and budding companies.
A panel discussion focused on how a startup company could connect with some of the citys largest corporations, such as Duke Energy, Bank of America and Carolinas HealthCare System.
Speakers said theres no shortage of good ideas, but the best way an entrepreneur can get a large corporations attention is to find ways for the big companies to save money and be more efficient.
Manoj Govindan, who oversees technology discovery and business development for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said keys are about pitching low-risk propositions and offering the corporation access to the initial investors.
Govindan also encouraged entrepreneurs to partner with universities for their research and development.