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Former Business Columnist to Speak at White House Summit on Entrepreneurship

Charlotte, N.C. (April 13, 2012) – Ron Stodghill, director of Innovo Laboratory, and Innovo co-founder, Keisha Talbot Johnson, will travel to Washington, D.C. on April 16 to discuss entrepreneurship at the White House Summit on innovation at universities.  The summit is in collaboration with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Department of Education and the White House. The summit takes place two days prior to the official launch of Innovo Laboratory at Packard Place in Charlotte on April 18. Innovo is a small business incubator/think tank laboratory run by the Center of Excellence for Diversity, Workforce and Small Business Development at the Smith Institute for Applied Research at Johnson C. Smith University. Innovo brings together Charlotte's best and brightest business and civic leaders under one roof to provide their expertise and resources to our city's most promising entrepreneurs.

Last November Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) served as the Charlotte host to the SBA during its national Young Entrepreneur Series event, which was streamed live on the White House website. Stodghill believes that the connection made then was a precursor to the invitation to the White House. According to Stodghill, “SBA Deputy Marie Johns’ visit to JCSU started a dialogue about local entrepreneurship with Washington and now we have an opportunity to expand that discussion as the Democratic National Convention prepares to convene in Charlotte.” The goal of the summit is to bring together a mix of leaders from historically black colleges and universities, minority serving institutions, government experts and business owners to explore opportunities and support solutions to existing economic challenges within underserved communities. Stodghill, a former business columnist for the Charlotte Observer, will speak on a panel where he will discuss the process of staring a new entrepreneurship program in the local community. He also will be interviewed at the summit about Innovo Laboratory on the nationally syndicated Warren Ballentine talk show.

Smith Institute for Applied Research is funded by the United States Department of Education through the Title III Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) of 2009.

Founded in 1867, Johnson C. Smith University is the premier independent urban liberal arts university located in the heart of Charlotte, N.C. It offers a progressive liberal arts curriculum with 26 fields of study to nearly 1,500 students. The University prepares students for success through excellent academic programs with a focus on servant leadership, civic engagement and global responsibility.          

Jennifer K. Gaskins
Assistant Director | University Communications and Marketing
Johnson C. Smith University
100 Beatties Ford Road | Charlotte, NC 28216
P: 704.330.1338 | C: 704.493-5791



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