Spring 2019 ICAP Lean Startup Course

Link to application form located below.

Based on the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps™ program for Lean Startups, ICAP helps inventors and entrepreneurs take the right first steps in bringing new technologies and innovations to market.

ICAP includes FREE introductory training programs and counseling services offered through ICAP instructors and local SBDC counselors. ICAP helps startups identify potential customers and develop successful business models based on that knowledge. It is an ideal program for early-stage companies trying to prepare for eventual venture investment.

Important Dates

  • February 25, 2019 – Applications are due by midnight; see the link below.
  • March 1, 2019 – Acceptance notifications and communication with next steps and instructions, including how to prepare for the first session.
  • TBD (Early March)– 6:00pm – 8:00pm – Introductory Conference Call
  • March 15, 2019– 9:00am – 5:00pm – Initial Team Presentations
  • March 22, 2019 – Each team participates in a pre-scheduled telephone review of the team’s Customer Discovery Progress over the first week
  • April 5, 2019– 9:00am – 2:00pm – Final Team Presentations

During this introductory 2-week program, there is extensive work done outside the classroom. In addition to the class meetings and webinar, participants should expect to spend another 10-15 hours per week on customer discovery and course assignments. At the conclusion of the program, you will remain connected with your ICAP trainers and SBDC Business Advisors to continue your progress on the Five Steps to Startup Success over the following 12 months.

The introductory program is designed to generate a maximum impact over a relatively short duration and should be considered a required first step for anyone interested in commercializing a technology or product, whether through a startup or licensing arrangement. Some graduates of this cohort may be eligible to apply to NSF’s full National Seven-week I-Corps Program, which includes non-dilutive grants for customer discovery and prototype development. Additionally, this program can help teams develop better submissions for SBIR and CRCF grants from Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technologies.

Your ICAP Instructor

Bob Smith is currently the Director of the Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (ICAP), a program funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia and administered by George Mason University and the Virginia Small Business Development Center Network (VSBDC). Here he helps researchers, inventors, and technology startups develop their technology commercialization and technology business startup efforts. He’s also an instructor with the NSF’s DC I-Corp Node, and co-director of the Fed Tech program, which uses Lean Startup methods to assist inventors from government labs to explore the commercial viability of their inventions.

Bob has 30+ years’ experience in innovation and entrepreneurship. He is the Chairman of CollegeFactual.com, a leading college rankings website. He’s held senior management positions at Congressional Quarterly and America Online in sales, marketing, and new product development and was the founder and CEO of the first nation-wide online city guide, Digital City. As an executive, angel investor, and advisor he has helped companies in e-commerce, e-government, identity management, content publishing, geospatial analytics, data science, and local media go from launch through to favorable exits.

Bob received a BA from USC and his MBA from GWU. He is a veteran of the US Navy.

For more information email: icap@virginiasbdc.org

This Cohort is hosted by the  Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center, the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council and JMU X-Labs.

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Apply for Spring 2019 ICAP Lean Startup Course (deadline Feb. 25, 2019 @ midnight)

SVTC Luncheon | How to Speak Web Developer

Registration is now open! See form below.

Working with web developers can be challenging. You want to make educated decisions about the choices you’re presented with but it’s hard to make educated decisions when you have no idea what the developer across the table just asked you. This presentation should help you learn the lingo so that when your developer presents you with choices, you have a high-level understanding of what you’re agreeing to.  

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About the Speaker

Chiedo is the CEO of Chiedo Labs, a software agency that companies hire to build web, desktop, and mobile applications. He’s passionate about his family, innovation, and the communities he serves in. If you’ve got something challenging, you’ve usually got his attention.




Thank you to our luncheon sponsors!

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Reservations for TechNite19 are now OPEN!

On April 29, 2019 the Valley’s tech users and creators will gather to highlight local tech innovation in 8 categories. We call it TechNite19. We’ll celebrate the successes of technology firms, organizations and programs in the region — and the entrepreneurs, innovators, leaders, and educators behind the scenes. Join us on April 29th as we gather for the 19th time to honor the Valley’s best and brightest. Make your reservation at https://svtc-va.org/technite19-reservation-form/


In 2017, autonomous cars were just around the corner. In 2018 autonomy got a bit cooler and more of a silence descended on the space. In 2019 almost everyone talks about 2022 or beyond for autonomous vehicles. So, what happened in just 2 short years? Has Winter arrived, or is this just a cold spell?

Join us on April 29th as David Hofert from Perrone Robotics presents “Winter is Coming: The Game of Autonomous Vehicles.”

People’s Choice Award Voting Has Begun!

Who’s your favorite for the Serco People’s Choice Award? Pick one of these 31 nominees in these 7 categories and then vote for them using #SVTCPC19 on Twitter or a special FB Messenger bot named “Walter.” More details on how to cast your vote: https://svtc-va.org/peoples-choice-award.

Interested in who has won years prior? Take a look at our past Tech Nite nominees and winners.


Becoming involved as a Tech Nite sponsor provides an outstanding opportunity for visibility. Attended by the key players in the technology community a Tech Nite sponsorship positions the sponsor’s name, logo, and website as a leader in the area. Fore more information about sponsorship opportunities, please see https://svtc-va.org/tech-nite-sponsorships/

For more information, please visit https://svtc-va.org/about-tech-nite/

Get your ticket TODAY!


SVTC Luncheon | Natural Language Processing: What is It and How Does it Affect Business?

Registration is now open! See form below.

Natural language processing (NLP) is a technology that is becoming increasingly important for the business community. Given a text input, NLP systems can break the document into sentences and individual words, identify parts of speech (verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc.), and recognize names of people, places, organizations, etc. NLP also parses sentences to depict the dependency relationships between words, and attempts to recognize coreferences so that pronouns in a document can be associated with names that occur earlier in the document. NLP applications include analysis of twitter feeds, customer reviews, blogs, news stories, or any other corpus of text that may be relevant to an organization. This ability to impose structure on unstructured data promises to be very helpful to industry.

About the Speaker
Mike Mitri headshotMike Mitri, a CIS professor at JMU, has developed an application called Story Analyzer that uses an NLP engine to extract information from a textual narrative and identify the main actions of the story, the people or entities that perform these actions, the people or entities affected by these actions, and other contexts (places, times, etc.). Story Analyzer then displays the results in a dashboard that includes interactive word clouds, geographical map, timeline, and other visualizations. He will discuss the mechanics of NLP and demonstrate the dashboard. A fun time will be had by all.


Thank you to our event sponsor!

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Accelerators: Driving Applications for Society

Jefferson Lab’s technology stewardship event offers a unique opportunity to hear the many ways that accelerators, originally developed for research, can now be used to address national and international priorities, including:

  • Environmental cleanup
  • Medicine and health
  • Isotope production
  • Advanced materials for industrial applications
  • Alternative energy
  • National security

Dr. Robert Hamm, keynote speaker, is the editor of Industrial Accelerators and Their Applications, and he will be giving his perspective on Worldwide Utilization of Industrial Accelerators.

The interactive panel discussion format will allow participants listen and engage with top experts from industry, universities, and from the entrepreneurial and venture capital communities, highlighting the applications of advanced accelerators beyond that of scientific research and how industry and national labs can work together to move these applications to market. A tour of Jefferson Lab’s research, testing and production facilities in the SRF Institute will be offered to registered attendees.

Register for this event by December 12, 2018!

Cybersecurity Basics for Managers

Are you being asked to shape how your organization protects its customer data or email systems?  Are your customers relying on you to protect their payment information?  Do you need a place to start learning about fundamental cybersecurity concepts?

This two-week crash course is designed for leaders, professionals, and entrepreneurs who have a limited technical background related to cybersecurity, data security, and information technology.  The JMU Cybersecurity Basics for Managers noncredit certificate program is discussion-oriented and formatted for the working professional.

Participants will gain knowledge that can inform their strategies to mitigate cybersecurity risks, secure data and information, build secure infrastructure, and hire qualified personnel and vendors.

Course Format

  • Monday, July 15 | In-Person, 9:00am-4:30pm (Downtown Harrisonburg)
  • Thursday, July 18 | Online, 9:00-11:00am
  • Monday, July 22  | In-Person, 9:00am-4:30pm (Downtown Harrisonburg)
  • Thursday, July 25 | Online, 9:00-11:00am

About the Instructor
David Cafaro, CISSP/CCSP has been working in Information Technology for over two decades with a heavy focus on information security. Currently he is an Information Security Officer at Capital One where he leads a team providing security and risk management expertise on application, cloud, and on-prem technologies. Though currently working in the financial sector, his career has brought him through a variety of industries including environmental lab testing, government, telecommunications, and cancer research.  David holds a Masters in Computer Science from Georgetown University where he focused on security and privacy in the information age.  In addition to his careers focus on cyber security, David has also been active in sharing his knowledge through open source and community projects including working with the BSidesDC Security Conference to help organize the KidsCon section for the last 4 years.

More information and registration for July 14 – 25 cybersecurity course

SVTC Luncheon | What to Do a Year After the FCC’s Repeal of Net Neutrality Regulations?

Registration is now open! Scroll down.

The FCC repealed net neutrality rules just over a year ago, but not much has changed for the average business and home user.  ISPs, large businesses, and state legislatures are all actively debating how to regulate ISPs ability to selectively throttle specific vendors and types of services delivered via the Internet. Dr. Reif will explore issues underlying both sides of net neutrality arguments as they affect Valley businesses and residents.

About the speaker:
Harry Reif headshotHarry Reif, Ph.D. is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Information Systems and Business Analytics at James Madison University.  In addition to teaching, Reif served as JMU’s first Chief Information Officer during the period that JMU established campus connectivity to the Internet. Previous to JMU, he spent his career planning and administering computing centers at universities throughout the US.  Dr. Reif is actively involved in computing degree program accreditation worldwide as an ABET Commissioner.


Thank you to our luncheon sponsor!

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Grand Opening: Inventors & Innovators of Harrisonburg and Rockingham Exhibit

Come see the history of inventors & Innovators of Harrisonburg!

Inventors & Innovators Exhibit

This event was originally rescheduled from Nov. 15 (due to bad weather) and is now occurring Nov. 28.

Join us at the The Heritage Museum for a new exhibit opening on November 28th to celebrate the area’s history of ingenuity. Come learn about the history of Harrisonburg’s inventors and some beautiful patent art prints from the early nineteenth century on.

JMU X-Labs Innovation Summit

JMU X-Labs Innovation Summit – open to college students from the Shenandoah Valley.

Students from all eight courses will display and present their final projects to administrators, industry client partners, family and friends. You are invited to join us to connect with extraordinary students, watch presentations and explore an open symposium of demonstrations and displays of student solutions.

The 8 Courses

  1. Augmented/Virtual Reality
  2. Autonomous Vehicles
  3. Blockchain
  4. Community Innovations
  5. Creativity and Innovation
  6. Hacking for Diplomacy
  7. Internet of Things
  8. Medical Innovations


Non-JMU Participants

Parking for the summit will be available in lots L and P between 2 pm and 8pm on Friday, April 26th. Parking permits will not be necessary during that time.

Please note that regular enforcement will be in effect in all other parking lots and in lots L and P before and after the time frame listed above. Guests may receive parking citations if parked in restricted lots. Guests are prohibited from parking in specialty spaces such as service vehicle spaces, handicap spaces without proper permits, expired timed spaces and fire lanes.

Please refer to the JMU campus map for parking locations. You’ll find lots L and P in blue near the labeled “Lake Area”: http://www.jmu.edu/parking/_files/parkingmap.pdf

JMU Participants

All regulations for JMU students, faculty and staff will remain in effect, and students attending the event are required to park in appropriate student parking lots with a JMU parking permit.

Register for April 26, 2019 X-Labs Innovation Summit

SVTC Luncheon | Deep Neural Networks: How They Work and When They Don’t


Over the last ten years, deep neural networks have been at the center of a machine learning boom that has seen hundreds of millions of dollars of investment from the tech industry, governments and academic institutions.  Dr. Sprague will briefly explain how deep neural networks work, why they’ve had such a big impact, and why they *won’t* solve all of our problems.

About neural networks: https://skymind.ai/wiki/neural-network#define

Dr. Nathan SpragueAbout the Speaker
Nathan Sprague , Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at James Madison University and the Coordinator of the JMU Robotics Minor.  He teaches courses in AI, Robotics and Autonomous Vehicles.  His research interests are in the areas of machine learning and computer vision.



Thank you to our luncheon sponsors!

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