Jonathan Whitt, CEcD

Jonathan has worked with startups, technology companies, and local communities to advance technology-based economic development and to create thriving innovation ecosystems for more than 20 years (LinkedIn profile). As an entrepreneur who founded 2 companies of his own, he has firsthand experience in moving companies from ideation to execution. He has provided valuable coaching and mentoring services to well over 100 startups over the course of his career. As past President and CEO of the Roanoke-Blacksburg and the Region 2000 Technology Councils, he led the development of the Roanoke-Blacksburg and Lynchburg innovation ecosystems that resulted in the strategic alignment of multiple organizations that increased the focus on providing programming for high-impact startups across the community.
Jonathan has a passion for economic and workforce development, business engagement, developing innovation ecosystems, building stellar companies, and helping both organizations and communities position for the future. Over the course of his career, Jonathan has enjoyed leadership positions in organizations that are making a measurable difference in the world to improve the lives of individuals, companies, and their community.
Jonathan has a unique blend of education and experience in leadership, coaching, nonprofit management, startups, and economic development. In addition to founding two companies of his own, he has worked in higher education, local government, nonprofits, and the technology and advanced manufacturing sectors.
  • RAMP

    • Worked with Sam English, the City of Roanoke, and Virginia Western Community College on the design and launch of RAMP the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Acceleration and Mentoring Program

    • Founding board member of a co-working and lean launch space adjacent the campus of Virginia Tech for the benefit of students and the greater entrepreneurial community
  • Center for Entrepreneurship

    • Designer and founder of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Liberty University for the express purpose of introducing students to experiential learning opportunities and for the connection of seasoning mentors and coaches
    • Created IP and Tech Transfer policy to simplify and promote sound policies, making it easier for student and faculty entrepreneurs to do business within the University
  • Innovation Network

    • Partnered with more than 100 business, education, and community leaders on a regional strategy (Innovation Blueprint) to harness the region’s technology and higher-education assets, positioning them for growth by making targeted investments in four critical areas with a major focus on entrepreneurial development.
  • Center for Advanced Engineering and Research

    • Co-Founder of the Center for Advanced Engineering & Research, a $12 million initiative to develop an industry-focused regional research and development program benefiting industry, education, and economic development with heavy emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship.
Jonathan is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and member of the International Economic Development Council and the National Association of Colleges and Employers. He holds a BS in Applied Management and will graduate with an MA in Executive Leadership and Coaching this Spring.