The Juneau Economic Development Council (JEDC) launches its tenth annual Innovation Summit April 7-9, 2021.

Every year the Innovation Summit gathers entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics, policy makers, innovators, and experts in their field to network, learn, share, inspire, and create solutions to Alaska’s unique economic challenges. The summit’s theme this year is Localization in a Global Economy, which will explore the balance between local and global commerce and will look at how technology and innovation around the world can help small business here at home.

For the first time ever, the Innovation Summit, now a three-afternoon event, will be delivered virtually, allowing participation from anywhere. This event is going to be much more than your average Zoom webinar. The event will be hosted on a custom-built website to facilitate attendee engagement. A networking wall will let individuals discover new connections and partnerships while networking breaks will foster the creation of new ideas and innovative thinking.

The main event kicks-off at 1:00 PM on Wednesday, April 7 with interactive networking, keynote address, workshops, and opportunities to connect with Alaska and Yukon thought leaders. This year’s keynote speakers are: Kristen Barker, a co-founder of Co-op Cincy and 1worker1vote and expert on the effects of alternative ownership structures on local economies; Michael Shuman, leading visionary on community economics and author of “Put your Money Where your Life is” will share; Jason Soza, former Chief Procurement Officer for the State of Alaska and Vice President, West, of Government Sourcing Solutions; Kimber Lanning, CEO of Local First Arizona Foundation and a leader in growing local economies from a state level.

Individuals from businesses and organizations will be in attendance with unique perspectives on diversifying our supply chains and the importance of understanding our neighbors, big and small, for the economic growth of all. In addition to providing expert panels and discussions, the summit also provides the opportunity to hear from and interact with the brightest entrepreneurs, business-minded individuals, and policy makers.

In addition to main stage presentations, there are shorter presentations called “Innovation Shorts.” Similar to a Ted Talk, these condensed presentations are created and given by fellow attendees on their own area of expertise. This year we have selected 30 Innovation Shorts on a wide range of topics including local sourcing initiatives, exciting new scientific advances that address Alaska’s unique challenges, and innovative housing solutions for challenging climates. The Summit will also include inductions to the Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame and the annual Pitch Contest supported by our local Chamber of Commerce. Expert judges and attendee votes will determine the winners from the outstanding contenders from all corners of Alaska and into the Yukon.

The summit attracts attendees from throughout Alaska and beyond. We are excited this year to enhance the regional connection with Alaska and the Yukon. JEDC invites business leaders, entrepreneurs, public and private agency representatives, and innovators interested in collaborating to advance Alaska’s economy, to register and attend. You can register for the event at jedc.org/innovation.

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