For Emerging Leaders

You are a emerging leader brimming with ideas, and are eager to connect with others who share your enthusiasm.  You are passionate about creating positive change, but are still learning how to push ideas through a large bureaucracy. You want to build lifelong relationships with innovative leaders both in and out of uniform.

DEF 2014 is for you! Learn from experienced entrepreneurs, propose ideas and collaborate with peers in our Ideation groups, then pitch solutions to peers, senior leaders and proven entrepreneurs. You’ll emerge with knowledge, experience, and relationships to help spread an innovative culture throughout the Department of Defense.

For Senior Leaders

You are a busy senior leader, managing complex challenges during an era of change, uncertainty, and restraint. Every day, you are asked to do more with less. By necessity, you are constantly on the lookout for innovative solutions to address current and emerging challenges.

Our Ideation groups will study problems and develop promising new solutions, putting more options into your hands as a senior leader. You’ll be surrounded by young innovators who are passionate to make our military a stronger organization. We invite you to get involved by mentoring emerging leaders, suggesting problems to be tackled, and listening to what our young leaders have to offer.

For Potential Partners

We are looking to enter into and cultivate mutually beneficial partnerships that could benefit all parties involved.  If you think you or your organization may be interested in learning more about finding synergy with DEF, please contact us.

Thank you to our GOLD Sponsorship Partners

The U.S. Naval Institute – founded in 1873 by 13 Marine and Navy Officers to provide an independent forum for the discussion of ideas – remains committed to providing opportunities for all naval professionals and those interested in the Sea Services to share their thinking.  Our sponsorship of the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum Innovation Challenge is core to the Naval Institute’s mission. We look forward to publishing the outcome of the winner of this challenge in the print and digital pages of ProceedingsWe encourage every DEF participant to read, think, speak and write. Our independent forum is open to all DEF participants. Thank you for helping to advance the Naval Profession.

Peter H. Daly VADM USN (Ret.)
Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Naval Institute

A very special thank you to the generous donations by Donald W. Hamer '58 and David K. Beecken '70 to help make this event possible.

A very special thank you to the generous donations by Donald W. Hamer '58 and David K. Beecken '70 to help make this event possible.

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation advances the knowledge and practice of entrepreneurship and innovation through a broad range of activities, including academics, research, conferences, competitions, and global and community outreach. The Polsky Center is the foremost resource for University of Chicago students and alumni as they pursue entrepreneurial endeavors and private equity careers.

Thank you to our SILVER Sponsorship Partners

The Center for Smart Defense is a non-profit research collaborative based at the West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. The Center researches and prototypes strategies for developing better, cheaper, and faster defense capabilities by aligning innovations, investments, and incentives in academia and industry with unmet needs in the national security and public safety communities.

Thank you to our BRONZE Sponsorship Partners

Brooklyn Boulders (BKB) designs, builds and operates hybrid rock climbing facilities anchored by the premise that physicality stimulates innovation and creativity. BKB Chicago, our new 23,000 square foot facility, is slated to open Fall 2014 in Chicago’s West Loop. It will offer progressive climbing and fitness experiences while providing an unconventional platform to bring the arts, music, and entrepreneurial communities together.

Tactivate is an organization that considers toady's military veterans to be among our nations greatest untapped assets and that specializes in meshing Special Operations veterans and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Tactivate is working with BKB to design programs to incorporate veterans into all facets of BKB from senior leadership to operational positions.

1871 is Chicago’s entrepreneurial hub for digital startups. We are a program built by veteran entrepreneurs—for veteran entrepreneurs. The Bunker targets existing veteran owned tech startups and aspiring entrepreneurs to come, create, and conquer the business world through their ideas, hard work, and strategy.