RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, tech executives and billionaire wannabes are gathering in Chapel Hill today for “The Internet Summit.” It’s a sellout, despite all the grim economic news that’s shaking the world.

Why are more than 450 people expected to attend the conference that’s being put on by TechJournal South Publisher Eric Gregg? Because many people see opportunity – and dollar signs – where most people only see risk and failure.

The event is called a summit, but the Internet is not at its peak. Better days are ahead. That means more, improved technology and profits for the entrepreneurs and inventors who have the guts to keep trying – perhaps even failing.

Friends, family and credit cards may have to provide the funding as venture capitalists and angels tighten up on investments. But in garages and basement labs, innovation will continue.

The record shows this will happen.

The Internet and related industries have proved remarkably resilient despite the “dot-com” and telecom busts that started the new century. From many failures can come remarkable successes, such as Raleigh-based Red Hat to cite only one.

The dot-com bust didn’t prevent the evolution of Web 2.0 and a wave of technological advances that are creating a new Internet that mixes broadband and wireless across much of the globe.

The telecom bust may have undermined Nortel to an extent that management’s recovery efforts may not be enough to avoid bankruptcy. And even startups such as Hatteras Networks that are turning old copper into high-speed data highways face difficult challenges. But hardly a day passes when someone somewhere isn’t unveiling new devices with faster, more powerful memories and new applications that further propel us toward digital nirvana.

As tech entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa writes quite strongly in a column Local Tech Wire published today, the tough (and brilliant) get going and prevail when the going gets tough.

I can’t be at the event in Chapel Hill today due to health concerns. But Local Tech Wire will have coverage – video and online. We wouldn’t miss it because the leaders talking today are going to be joined by the leaders of tomorrow.