Conference details: www.ncmtns.biz/carolinaconnect.shtml

ASHEVILLE,AdvantageWest’s Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council will host top venture capitalists and investors from around the nation today, including keynote speaker Jim Armstrong, managing director of Clearstone Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley-based $650 million venture capital firm.

Armstrong is a former Ashville resident and was recently featured in the September issue of Business 2.0 Magazine.

The third annual Carolina Connect Entrepreneur and Capital Conference at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Asheville will also feature speakers such as Chris William, host of Carolina Business Review; and Tom Fisher, vice president of information technology for Qualcomm.

Investors representing more than $2.5 billion in capital will be on hand.

“It’s really exciting to have a conference like this in the western part of the state. We’ve got VC leaders from as far away as the west coast and entrepreneurs from around the Southeast lined up to participate,” says Mark Owen, director – Communications & Research for Advantage West — North Carolina. “Whether you’re interested in just sharpening your business and selling skills, or looking for serious capital, this conference is for you.”

Special attractions for Carolina Connect will include:

  • Presentation by Genesis Molecular Discovery, an Asheville-based molecular design company founded by Dr. Jeff Schmitt, the former Chief Scientist of Targacept. Genesis Molecular Discovery was the first company from western North Carolina to receive financial support from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

  • Panels on sales, research and capital strategies

  • Presentation on strategic partnerships with investors and corporations

  • VIP roundtable discussion

  • Launch of the first Tech Exec in the mountains hosted by Local Tech Wire. Peak 10, Advantage West, Proof of Concept, Media Arts Project, Small Business Center Network and Nanotech Capital will sponsor the event.
  • The final keynote panel will be “The State of the State’s Economy and the Role of Western North Carolina.” This panel will be moderated by Chris William, host of Carolina Business Review in Charlotte. The panel will discuss the progress of western North Carolina in the knowledge economy within the pro-business state of North Carolina.

    Advantage West: www.awnc.org