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Innovate Vision

To inspire students to redefine the possible and drive change.

Innovate Mission

To discover, prepare, and connect the next generation of entrepreneurial-leaders.

Who we are

We are a community of innovators, entrepreneurs, visionaries, business leaders, tech enthusiasts, knowledge-junkies, learning-addicts, and small business fanatics. Together, we have one common goal: Transforming opportunities into action.

Innovate Core Values

  • Ignite Curiosity
  • Create Remarkable Experiences
  • Be excellent with each other
  • Pursue growth and learning
  • Foster Respect and Cooperation

We are in search of the most creative, driven and entrepreneurial innovators to come live, play, create and innovate in our community. We believe that the more innovators, creators and trend-setters we can encourage to play in our community, the more others will want to live here. The Innovate living-learning community brings together a diverse group of committed and driven students into a high-energy learning environment.  Innovate will provide an opportunity for students to gain insights into the entrepreneurial process, interact with successful entrepreneurs, and learn from Virginia Tech faculty and community partners with expertise in areas related to developing an entrepreneurial mindset.

Innovate will be a strongly experiential program.  Innovators will have the opportunity to participate in the following programs:

  • Entrepreneur Treks - Entrepreneur Treks provide students with the opportunity to network with entrepreneurial alumni, top-tier venture capitalists, and corporate innovators. We venture around the world learning about different innovative and startup communities. Students receive feedback on their ideas/ventures, and network with the game-changers of entrepreneurship.
  • Entrepreneur-in-residence program (EIR) - the EIR program provides tremendous opportunities for students to expand their networks and get critical and immediate feedback on their ventures or entrepreneurial career goals and aspirations. Every few weeks during the academic year, a few highly accomplished entrepreneurs visit campus to meet one-on-one with students. These entrepreneurs will not only meet one-on-one but will live in an apartment connected to the Innovate Living Learning Community and will be immersed with the students for up to a few weeks at a time. These visiting entrepreneurs come from diverse fields and are chosen based on their success starting and managing successful enterprises and their commitment to growing Virginia Tech’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Network with and gain mentorship through the Virginia Tech Investor Network - VT Investor Network (VTIN) is an investor group formed to fund the next generation of Hokie-led technology companies.  VTIN is dedicated to funding high potential startups across the country, with a starting focus on southwest Virginia and the National Capital Region. To qualify a company must have a founder, employee, board member, or active investor as an active undergraduate or graduate student, faculty member, or alumni of Virginia Tech.
  • Entrepreneur and Innovator Table - The first Thursday of every month students from all disciplines are treated to lunch and have the opportunity to learn firsthand from local business leaders and VT alumni about what it takes to conceive, launch & grow an entrepreneurial venture. The event creates opportunities to build networking contacts and connections that may result in mentoring relationships, internships, job opportunities & the launch of new ventures.
  • Innovation and Coding Challenges - These events will showcase select groups of highly qualified Virginia Tech students from all disciplines with an innovation challenge posed by sponsor companies.  Multi-disciplinary student teams will have 24 hours to develop original and unique solutions to an opportunity or challenge that our industry partners face everyday.

In addition to face-to-face events in residence, Innovate students have the opportunity to provide leadership and direction for Innovate that is supported by both the program director and the live-in Student Life Coordinator. Opportunities for leadership include serving on committees, the leadership council, and/or as a mentor in your second or third year.

Innovate is a program of the Apex Systems Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and is fabulous, collaborative venture that includes support from the Pamplin College of Business, the Division of Student Affairs, and a number of departments across campus with interest in engaging with students in the entrepreneurial experience.

If accepted, you will become a key part of the broader innovation ecosystem emerging on our campus and broader community. We are constantly seeking out driven, creative young minds who can positively contribute to our community.

Students in the Innovate Community

Innovate is open to all students in any major interested in creating a community that provides a diverse array of entrepreneurial interests and perspectives.  At the end of their first year in the Innovate program, students should come away with:

  • A basic understanding of entrepreneurship, including associated business practices such as strategy, marketing, finance, etc.
  • Exposure to entrepreneurial opportunities available to them in and around the Virginia Tech campus
  • A network of peer and faculty partnerships that will provide ongoing enhancement to entrepreneurial ventures

In addition, students will have the opportunity to return to Innovate to both continue their own entrepreneurial learning as well as mentor and support incoming students.

Course Information

First-year students participating in Innovate will enroll in a 3.0 credit hour professional development course during the fall semester and 3.0 credit hour ideation and opportunity identification course in the spring.

Second-year students will begin coursework in the entrepreneurship minor.


Students will commit to one year of participation, but will have an opportunity for multi-year involvement.

Application Process

The Innovate Community will be accepting applications until the community is full, so consider applying today!
[Apply to the Innovate Living-Learning Community]

For more information about the Innovate living-learning community, contact Derick Maggard, Director of the Apex Systems Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, via email at or Jason Johnson, Assistant Director for Living Learning Programs via email: or by calling 540-231-6205.