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Press Release

The Batten Institute Partners With Tom Tom Founders Festival On Community Pitch Night and Launch of Expanded Innovation Lab

- $10,000 to be Awarded in U.Pitch. C'ville Decides. Competition, Co-Hosted by Batten and Tom Tom and to be held 11 April in Celebration of the Expansion of the i.Lab at U.Va. -

PR Newswire

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Batten Institute at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business today announced that it is working with the Tom Tom Founders Festival to convene a community pitch night as part of a celebration of the expansion of the Innovation Lab, or i.Lab, at the University of Virginia.    

The original i.Lab, launched in 2010, is being significantly expanded and will include a state-of-the art incubator (i.Lab Incubator) that will be open to qualified U.Va. and local community start-ups.  Renamed the W.L. Lyons Brown Innovation Laboratory, the i.Lab and the i.Lab Incubator will serve as an entrepreneurial hub for the University and Charlottesville community.

The expanded i.Lab facility will be completed this spring and will be formally opened on 11 April in partnership with the Tom Tom Founders Festival, a novel four day series of events catalyzing innovation in Charlottesville.  Now in its second year, the Tom Tom Founders Festival transforms the historic pedestrian hub of downtown Charlottesville into a weekend of talks, concerts, and creative expositions.

"In 2012, our inaugural festival far exceeded all expectations, drawing over 6700 people for innovation talks, celebratory gatherings, and concerts," said Paul Beyer, director of the Tom Tom Founders Festival. "We're excited to see 2013 expand these conversations as we explore how art, music and creativity at large inform the innovation ecosystem of a city. We're pleased to be working with the Batten Institute, and we're looking forward to a series of high-impact and celebratory events which we hope will have a lasting, transformative impact on our community."

"The Batten Institute's mission is to improve society through entrepreneurship and innovation," said Philippe Sommer, director, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Darden's Batten Institute. "We're working with Tom Tom Founders Festival and other stakeholders who are passionate about making Charlottesville one of the nation's top destinations for entrepreneurs and ideas. The expanded i.Lab and i.Lab Incubator provide an ideal launching pad for promising early-stage ventures, and we welcome our partnership with Tom Tom as we work together to create more opportunities for people who want to improve the world through entrepreneurship." 

11 April opening festivities will include a "U.Pitch. C'ville Decides." competition, a Batten and Tom-Tom co-hosted, crowd-sourced pitch night for entrepreneurs of any kind − creative artists, innovators, amateurs, professionals and enthusiasts.  The Batten Institute will award $10,000 in total to the competition's top three winners, who will be selected by event attendees.  The "U.Pitch. C'ville Decides." competition winner will also receive the option to be admitted into the newly expanded i.Lab Incubator program. The application process for U.Pitch. C'ville Decides. will open 1 March and close 5 April, and the application will be available on the Tom Tom and Batten Institute's websites in mid-February.

About the Tom Tom Founders Festival
Tom Tom Founders Festival is an annual festival in and around the historic Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, Virginia. Its mission is to catalyze innovation by converging music, art, design and technology to connect people and new ideas for the future. Started in 2012, with an impressive launch lasting a month and featuring over 75 musical acts, multiple block parties, and 30 free events, the festival has since honed it's programming to Founders Weekend (Thomas Jefferson's birthday) that fosters creative communities, and celebrates innovation and entrepreneurship in Charlottesville. (

About the Batten Institute
The Batten Institute at the Darden School of Business improves the world and transforms society through entrepreneurship and innovation. The Institute's academic research center advances knowledge that addresses real-world challenges and shapes Darden's curriculum, and the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership offers one of the world's top entrepreneurship programs. The Batten Institute was established with gifts now totaling over $100 million from U.Va. alumnus Frank Batten, Sr., a media pioneer, visionary, and founder of The Weather Channel.

About the Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is one of the world's leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. The unique Darden experience combines the case study method, the highest-ranked faculty whose research advances global managerial practice and business education, and a tight-knit learning environment to develop principled and complete leaders who are ready to make an impact.  For questions or information, contact  

About the University of Virginia
Founded in Charlottesville by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia is a leading public university that serves as a national model for excellence through innovation and collaboration in its missions of teaching, research, public service and health care.

SOURCE Batten Institute