Darden’s Center for Global Initiatives recently hosted its fourth International Partner Program with one of its partner business schools in Shanghai, the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), on 30 April – 4 May. During the week-long program, titled “Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Networks in the U.S.”, 27 MBA students and staff from CEIBS learned about starting, growing and financing entrepreneurial ventures, and how to use empathy design thinking in those processes, from the Darden faculty and staff team of Greg Fairchild, Sankaran “Venkat” Venkataraman, Larry Mueller, Jeremy Hutchison-Krupat, Elena Loutskina, David Touve and Randy “Salz” Salzman.

The program included guest speakers and visits to companies in Charlottesville and Washington D.C. to learn various aspects of innovation and entrepreneurship. Tom Bandy, founder of BandyWorks software company, made a surprise guest appearance during the group’s class session on the Darden case, “BandyWorks: Financing a New Business (Guided By the Past)”. Darden alumnus Bradley Kipp (MBA ’09), co-founder of Random Row Brewing Co., hosted the group for a visit at Random Row where he shared the company’s entrepreneurial beginnings, organizational growth and business model. The program also included a visit to HemoShear Therapeutics, a medical biotech company, to learn about their innovative methods and organizational growth in local, regional and international markets. On Thursday afternoon, the Adam Smith Society at Darden and the Center for Global Initiatives co-sponsored a speaking engagement with professor Dennis Yang and Dr. Jun Ma, former chief economist at the People’s Bank of China, attended by both CEIBS and Darden students and staff. While in Charlottesville, the CEIBS group also enjoyed visiting Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and hiking Humpback Rocks. 

The program ended on Friday with a day of company visits in the D.C. area. The group visited NextGen Venture Partners, a network-driven venture firm, where they heard from managing partner and UVA alumnus Brett Gibson (COMM ’02) along with a panel of UVA and Darden alumni from NextGenVP and Brown Advisory. The CEIBS program concluded with a visit to the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center to hear from Bill Black, president of the Greater Washington China Investment Center (GWCIC), who spoke about the work of GWCIC helping small- and medium-size Chinese startups seeking to enter the U.S. market.