Looking Back to Look Forward

Letter from Jim Chung

January 31, 2023

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Since its founding in 2010 under the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) has provided critical support for innovators and entrepreneurs at GW and the broader community. GW students and faculty who have participated in OIE programming have launched over 350 startups and raised over $1 billion in follow-on financing. Indeed, GW is ranked in the top 25 universities world-wide for alumni unicorn founders, and thousands of non-GW innovators and entrepreneurs in the DMV, nationally, and globally have benefited from our award-winning programs.

Despite the turmoil of the last couple years caused by COVID, the OIE has continued to serve and expand its mission. Our two OIE directors, Kate Heath and Bob Smith, are leading brand new teams forward and building on the strong foundations established by their predecessors. Welcome to new OIE team members Sean Connelly, Kerry Slattery, Michael Ferrier, Jessica Nguyen, and Sarah Leary. Additionally, we have a new Vice Provost for Research, Pam Norris, and new leadership at our sister GW organizations, including Kathy Korman Frey at the GWSB Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Erica Wortham at the SEAS Innovation Center, and Brian Coblitz at the Technology Commercialization Office. It’s truly an exciting time for innovation and entrepreneurship at GW.

The GW New Venture Competition serves as the flagship program for our student programing, and last year it was ranked #1 in the country for university venture competitions. This year, we continued with a healthy showing of 368 students and $408,00 awarded in prizes. But not content to rest on our laurels, Kate Heath has a number of new initiatives and directions in the works for the coming year.

This past year also saw an expansion of our National Science Foundation I-Corps funding, with an ambitious restructuring being put into place by Bob Smith based on his thought leadership on mentorship and the innovator’s journey. Support for innovation and entrepreneurship in faculty research will also increase with more outreach and the addition of SEAS Prof. Dayo Shittu to the GW NSF I-Corps team as faculty lead. And we continue to expand the availability of our Lean Innovation training to the broader community domestically and internationally, including the Entrepreneur Development Network DC (EDNDC), the Virginia Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (ICAP), and the Korea Innovation Center (KIC) Tech Frontier Program.

Finally, we are excited to be at the center of developing the new Penn West Equity and Innovation District (Penn West), which will be transforming the area just north of the GW campus into a thriving hub of collaborative research, innovation, entrepreneurship, policy work, DEI, and startup activity. With GW as the academic anchor institution, plans are under development for all the schools at GW to create opportunities for their students and faculty to work with Penn West startups and organizations and spin out startups from their innovations. The Office of the DC Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) and the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (GTBID) are our main partners on this important strategic initiative.

Looking back at the history of the OIE over the last 12 years, I am humbled by the students, faculty, staff, GW leadership, and volunteers whose participation and contributions have made its incredible growth possible. The impact that this office has had is hard to estimate, but perhaps mentioning just a few of the successful innovators and entrepreneurs in this booklet can put a face on some of it.

Our thanks go out to all of the OIE community and friends for what you have done and will do to have an impact on the world through your great work. The past successes are inspiring, and the future looks bright for innovation and entrepreneurship at GW.



Jim Chung 

Associate Vice President for Research, Innovation & Entrepreneurship