Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of

RALEIGH, N.C. – People interested in seeing Raleigh become a hub for entrepreneurship and emerging companies as Durham clearly has and Charlotte hopes to be should attend the “Innovation Summit” today in the convention center.

Speeches and panel discussions will set the stage for a 90-minute or so closing session at which several committees will present recommendations on how government, business and university leaders should proceed to make Raleigh a haven for startups and emerging ventures.

Marketing executives Bill Warden and Greg Behr, who are co-chairs of the “branding” committee along with former Red Hat executive Tom Rabon and Gene Pinder of N.C. State, are calling the event the “Summit of Smarts.”

“Our group, like the others, has been meeting regularly to comb through the research and make our session as productive as possible in addressing the most pressing issues,” Warden, whose firm is called GBW Strategies, says.

“Cities from Pittsburgh to Portland want to claim that mantle, but our region has half a century of history backing up our claim – from Research Triangle Park to Red Hat.

“As we plow into the new century, what are our sweet spots?

“Where are the holes?

“Who are our success stories?

“With each new Best Of list, our area is inching closer to the Most Superlatives superlative. Thankfully, we’re also leading the pack in the ‘Not Resting on Our Laurels’ competition.”

Other committess include:

  • Innovation Hub (James Sauls of the Greater Raleigh Area Chamber of Commerce) and Brooks Bell.
  • Partnerships: Leah Burton of NCSU and Derrick Minor of Downtown Raleigh
  • Capital: Billy Houghteling of NCSU

The “Innovation Summit” is set for the Raleigh Convention Center. The one-day program is being put on by the city, N.C. State, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, Raleigh Economic Development and Wake County Economic Development. Sponsors include Rex Healthcare, the Poyner & Spruill law firm, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and Springboard, which is N.C. State’s innovation initiative.

Here’s the agenda:

  • 11 am – Noon Registration
  • Noon – 12:15 pm Lunch/welcome
  • 12:15 – 1:25 pm Keynotes speeches
  • 1:30 – 2:30 pm Breakout sessions
  • 2:45 – 3:45 pm Breakout sessions
  • 4 – 5:30 pm Panel discussion/recommendations/next steps
  • 5:30 – 7:30 pm “Suits + Geeks” mixer

So if you have an interest in Raleigh’s future and would rather act that complain, check out the event.

Summit of Smarts – I like that.

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