Virginia innovator selected to lead national entrepreneurship organization

Larkin Garbee, co-founder of the 804RVA co-working space, has been named as the interim executive director of the Dallas-based Startup Champions Network, a nonprofit entrepreneurial advocacy and support organization. Garbee, a longtime Richmond resident, will lead the organization from her home-base in Richmond while the organization conducts a national search for a full-time CEO. She is an active leader in the Richmond area and has been recognized by state, national and global organizations.

Garbee has started and/or co-led a number of companies and initiatives including Lighthosue Labs, Startup Virginia, RVA MakerFest, and VCU’s new startup pre-accelerator program. She plans to bring lessons learned from her Richmond experiences to the national network. As she told the Richmond Times-Dispatch“I think Richmond is a testament to what it means when you have different stakeholders support innovation and entrepreneurship, so we see things like coworking spaces and incubators and accelerators going in these communities.”

The Startup Champions Network (SCN) is a national organization which aims to “provide builders of entrepreneurial ecosystems the connections, resources, and professional development they need to cultivate thriving and inclusive communities.” It was founded in 2014 to connect people, resources, and events around the nation to support their communities and their work. It has emerged as a leading proponent of the entrepreneurial ecosystem approach.

Last month, SCN announced a collaboration with Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Kauffman awarded a grant to SCN to engage its network of innovation ecosystem builders to formalize and professionalize efforts around creating sustainable economic impact by supporting innovators and entrepreneurs in any community. This will help SCN strengthen its organizational structure to expand and deepen its communities of practice.