As the new interim executive director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), I am pleased and excited about being given this great opportunity to help the Greater Wilmington business community. I look forward to continuing the programs and events that have been so well received by our local business community. I plan to launch several new programs that will enable us to build on the fine programs already in place. I will gauge my success by how many entrepreneurs I help succeed.
Taking an entrepreneurial opportunity from ideation to a successful new employer in Wilmington is very exciting. Our programs are designed to help students and local entrepreneurs take a good idea and have it vetted by business and faculty experts. We then will assist with office space and retail space, if required, and help with the launch of these new businesses.
A new business venture is a daunting proposition for most people. The CIE makes the process a great deal easier. We assist both new and established entrepreneurs as they evaluate their options and, in some cases, we make UNCW resources available when appropriate. We already have several exciting accomplishments to talk about.
One of our tenants, mimijumi, makes what’s arguably the world’s best breast-feeding bottle and won the 2015 Coastal Entrepreneur of the Year award. Another CIE tenant has launched a non-profit corporation named Port42 to help children compete in national robotic contests. A UNCW senior with a minor in entrepreneurship is launching an exercise bicycle business named Renewal Recreation that generates electricity for the gym or home as the user exercises. How many startups can promote healthy exercise, a carbon footprint decrease, and lowered electricity bills as benefits? Although there are too many incubator businesses at CIE to mention in this article, you will be hearing about many of our other tenants as we mentor them.
Whether you’re a student with a new idea or an experienced business owner with a great idea, the resources available at CIE may help you. To stay abreast of CIE events, please visit www.uncw.edu/cie. You can reach me at [email protected].
Chuck Whitlock is the interim executive director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UNC Wilmington. CIE is an accelerator for the startup community to help diversify the local economy with innovative companies that will pay higher wages. For more information, go to www.uncw.edu/cie.
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