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Bank's Gift Supports Entrepreneurship Center

By Alison Lee Satake, posted Jan 22, 2010

Wachovia Bank will give a $100,000 donation to the UNCW Entrepreneurship Center. The gift, which will support the center’s mission to be a catalyst for entrepreneurial growth in Southeastern North Carolina will be presented on Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the Entrepreneurship Center’s new Wachovia Speaker Series at UNCW.

“We are very proud of what we have accomplished to date with the resources available, however our goal is to continue doing everything we can to support hi-growth businesses, job creation, and innovation,” said Jonathan Rowe, Entrepreneurship Center director.

By connecting thought-leaders, who can share their entrepreneurial wisdom and advice, with other entrepreneurs, students, organizations and community leaders, the center aims to strengthen the region’s business knowledge base.

“We have a very unique region that contains more entrepreneurial activity than people realize and our role is to strengthen and connect what we already have and to help new businesses grow and locate here so that in ten or fifteen years, PPD and Fred Eshelman is just one of numerous entrepreneurial success stories for our region and state,” Rowe said.

Since it’s inception in late 2009 the Entrepreneurship Center has attracted more than five hundred people to its events, facilitated mentoring relationships and indirectly supported the creation of 34 jobs and student internships, he said. The donation is the first major corporate gift the Entrepreneurship Center has received.

The Entrepreneurship Center has developed training seminars covering cutting-edge and advanced business topics, launched a website with videos, blogs and news that has received over 15,000 hits and hosted the Rocket Pitch Series where hi-growth entrepreneurs deliver 5-minute presentations showcasing their companies and products. The Rocket Pitch series has drawn customer contracts exceeding $100,000 and debt and equity financing topping $1 million.

In 2010 the UNCW Entrepreneurship Center plans to add new initiatives and partners. Camp Entrepreneur, an intensive summer camp that will teach high school students entrepreneurial business skills, team building and leadership skills, will debut in June.

Brett Martin, founder and CEO of local employment screening company, Castle Branch, kicks off the Wachovia Speaker Series on Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m. following the formal announcement of the Wachovia Bank gift by UNCW Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo. Details for this free event can be found at www.uncwec.org.

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