Interim Executive Director Larkin Garbee

Richmond Ecosystem Builder Larkin Garbee Appointed Interim Executive Director of Startup Champions Network

Official Press Release

Richmond, VA October 3, 2018 Larkin Garbee has been chosen as the Interim Executive Director and Board Chair of the Texas-based non-profit, Startup Champions Network by the organization’s board of directors.  Larkin has over thirteen years of leadership, development, and management experience.  Her long history of interim and transition work most recently has included serving as the founder or cofounder of 804RVA, Lighthouse Labs, Startup Virginia, and RVA Makerfest. Larkin also currently sits on the board of Girls for A Change.  

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“Larkin's extensive knowledge and experience as an inclusive community builder in Richmond, combined with her passion for ecosystem building and innovation, is what made her the perfect fit to serve as Interim Executive Director. The board is excited to have her lead our organization and help continue our work connecting and providing resources for entrepreneurship ecosystem builders.” - Mike Binko, board member and co-founder of Startup Maryland.

Larkin will work closely with the Board of Directors and leadership committees to identify immediate priorities to build trust, sustainability, organizational strategy and strengthen communications and capacity. Her first major milestone with the organization was obtaining funding from the Ewing Kauffman Foundation. Announced during Denver Startup Week, the Kauffman Foundation grant award will help SCN formalize and professionalize efforts around creating sustainable economic impact by supporting innovators and entrepreneurs in any community.

“In the U.S., we have seen a rise in startup and innovation activity outside of typical epicenters like Silicon Valley. These developments are a direct result of the work of entrepreneurial ecosystem builders who are driving economic outcomes by creating local and regional initiatives that support and grow new businesses. I have benefitted from having access to this network while cultivating an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Richmond, Virginia. I am honored to have the opportunity to now lead this national network of entrepreneurial ecosystem builders so we can continue to share best practices and learn from each other. Startup Champions Network is eager to engage with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation on an ambitious plan to amplify and scale the efforts of entrepreneurial ecosystem builders so that thriving and inclusive communities can exist across our nation.” - Larkin Garbee

Larkin Garbee Bio 

Larkin Garbee is a founding member and current Chair of the Startup Champions Network. She is an ecosystem builder and civic instigator with a passion for supporting founders and building inclusive communities.

In 2011, Larkin founded 804RVA, Richmond, Virginia’s first technology-focused coworking space. In 2012, she joined Startup America and expanded her work from community building to startup ecosystem building. Since then, Larkin has launched Lighthouse Labs (a top 20 nationally-ranked accelerator), Startup Virginia (an incubator), RVA Makerfest (which attracts 10,000 participants annually), and a pre-accelerator at Virginia Commonwealth University. She brought national programs to Richmond, including Unreasonable Labs, CoStarters, Startup Weekend, and Startup NEXT and has hosted over 900 technology and entrepreneurial events.

Larkin has presented at the White House about connecting Virginia’s entrepreneurial hubs, was recognized by Style Weekly’s Top 40 Under 40, and currently serves as a board member for Girls for a Change. She is a serial entrepreneur whose current mission is to support and build diverse and inclusive ecosystems.


SCN Denver Summit News

Exciting News From the SCN Denver Summit & Denver Startup Week

Our Denver Summit kicked off this week amidst the flurry of activity in Denver for Denver Startup Week. It has been awesome to meet with our members and be among so many innovation ecosystem builders.

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We are delighted to be running the official Ecosystem Building Track during Denver Startup Week while also continuing a deep-dive on inclusivity and diversity via our Inter-Cultural Unity (I-CU) programming.

So far, we’ve heard from Scott Case and Steve Nager on the power of connections and ecosystem building, NFL players Ryan Shaw and Shadow on learning to work and live with your fears, and we’ve had some amazing breakout sessions that spoke to the core of ecosystem building.

To wrap our programming for Denver Startup Week, as the Startup Ecosystem Building Track, we have a few exciting (and big) announcements!

First, we are elated to announce a collaboration with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation! They have awarded us a grant that will help formalize and professionalize our efforts around creating sustainable economic impact by supporting innovators and entrepreneurs.

“We are energized to engage with Kauffman Foundation on an ambitious plan to amplify and scale the efforts of ecosystem builders. As the guiding light for activation of the entrepreneurial spirit for more than 50 years, the Kauffman Foundation has become a trusted peer in support of the SCN mission, vision and values.” - Larkin Garbee, Interim Executive Director of the Startup Champions Network

In the U.S., we have seen a rise in startup and innovation activity outside of typical epicenters like Silicon Valley. These developments are a direct result of the work of entrepreneurial ecosystem builders who are driving economic outcomes by creating local and regional initiatives that support and grow new businesses. SCN’s primary mission is to connect ecosystem builders so they can share best practices and learn from each other – no matter where they operate. In order to achieve this vision and activate the SCN values at-scale, we encourage and welcome the support of other organizations.

“We are delighted to see where the SCN team has taken the craft of ecosystem building.  With their micro-level access to ecosystem builders across the country and our focus on empowering communities to scale the entrepreneurial spirit in their communities we look forward to working with SCN and learning from their knowledge and experience in this space while also helping them become a formalized and even more effective ecosystem support organization.” - Philip Gaskin, Director of Entrepreneurial Communities at the Kauffman Foundation

It's tough to overstate the importance of this development for SCN and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems across the country and this grant will help our organization continue to drive forward. With that, we come to our second exciting announcement: the locations of our next two summits! Our SCN Spring Summit will be held in Portland, Oregon and our SCN Fall Summit will be held in Madison, Wisconsin.

Not a member of SCN? Join a network of passionate Ecosystem Builders.