UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has been gaining momentum in the past months with our introduction of monthly community business events. As an incubator for startup businesses, not only do we provide resources to help bring entrepreneurs’ ideas to fruition but we also endeavor to create learning opportunities for our tenants and CIE members.
Following the success of September’s “Law Day,” the CIE hosted its first “Finance Day” on October 14 for entrepreneurs and business owners to gain insight into ways to finance their business needs. Local experts led roundtable discussions on angel capital, small business development, venture capital, retirement planning, investments, bank loans, tax strategies, locating the right financing source, and methods of creative finance. The forum allowed participants to ask questions specific to their business needs as well as to gain general information about the availability of a variety of sources of business funding.
The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship sincerely thanks Rick Graves of Graves May, PLLC for his engaging keynote address at our Finance Day event. Our thanks also go to the facilitators who helped make the event such a success: Sean Ahlum (tekMountain), Sandy Dombroski (Live Oak Bank), John Gardner III (BB&T), Don Spry (SBA), Fran Scarlett (SBTDC), Tobin Geatz (Seahawk Innovation), Ron Copley (Copley Investment Management), Michelle Price (Edward Jones), Rick Graves (Graves May, PLLC), Jim Graham (Bank Solutions), and Buddy Burrell (Bank Solutions). We greatly appreciate the willingness of our speaker and facilitators to share their knowledge and experience with those in attendance.
Advisory board members Robert Baron, Michelle Price, Sean Ahlum, Ron Copley, Anne Revell, and Curtis Wollitz have offered invaluable support to the CIE in its direction this year, and we thank them for joining us for the Finance Day event.
On December 10, 2015, a keynote speech will kick off our first “Sales and Marketing Day.” Following the roundtable discussions facilitated by experts from Wilmington’s local business community, the CIE will host a networking hour so that attendees can connect with one another. Please contact the CIE at 910-962-3611 or by email at [email protected] for more information about this event and how to RSVP.
Let me also take this opportunity to ask you to reserve the dates of Nov. 11-13 on your calendar as the CIE and its partners bring the Cucalorus Connect Conference to life as part of the annual Cucalorus Film Festival. Cucalorus Connect, which will include more than 50 events, aims to attract local and national entrepreneurs to Wilmington. Key conference presenters include Galen Buckwalter, the founding chief science officer at eHarmony and creator of the company’s technology; Chris Heivly, a founder of MapQuest and now a managing director of The Startup Factory in Durham; Tim Mather and Greg Avola, co-founders of Untappd, a social media platform for craft beer junkies; Dan Tynan, editor-in-chief for Yahoo Tech; Joan Siefert Rose, president of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development; and lead principals from the crowdfunding sites Kickstarter and Seed&Spark. Visit http://www.cucalorus.org/connect.asp for additional information.
If you are a UNCW student or faculty member, new inventor, or an entrepreneur who’s just getting started, please contact me to learn about how the CIE might help you to launch your business idea. We have the right combination of resources and business connections to make your idea into a reality. You can email me at [email protected] or call 910-962-2886 for more information about our criteria for CIE membership and its benefits.
Chuck Whitlock is the Interim Executive Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UNC Wilmington. The CIE is an incubator for the start-up community and strives to help diversify the local economy with innovative companies. For more information, visit www.uncw.edu/cie.
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