Taking some liberties with a favorite Beatles song…"Oh, we get by with a little help from our friends; gonna try with a little help from our friends." And we did and we do – and the CIE couldn’t have done it this year without terrific support from our mentors, partners, and volunteers.
We haven’t missed a beat serving entrepreneurs and developing new economic opportunities in our region – and it’s all because we get more than a little help from our friends.
The first week in April, UNCW ran its Seahawks Give campaign, a one-day challenge to support important efforts across campus. We asked our friends to make gifts to support research and innovation and to help us grow our impact through CIE initiatives like the CIE Mentor Group Program, All Blue (Alliance for the Blue Economy), Creative Economy Convening, Innov8 Conference, and the YEPex Youth Entrepreneurship competition, meetups, and summit.
Our friends didn’t let us down.
Thank you, CIE Seahawk Givers:
Lois Butler and Jerry Hurwitz
Maria Duran and Gus Rodea
Jean Louis Guillou
Vince Howe, Jr.
Karl Ricanek, Jr.
Phil and Deni Sindel
We’re more than grateful to our Seahawk Givers that also gave and continue to give generously of their time and expertise mentoring entrepreneurs and students. We’ve had four mentors work hand-in-hand with faculty advisors to support a new semester-long program that brings North Carolina A&T University engineering students together with UNCW students to develop new, sustainable innovations for the Blue Economy. Working with Professors Vince Howe, PhD, Cameron School of Business, UNCW, and Michael Atkinson, PhD, Mechanical Engineering, NC A&T, were Susan Bales, Charles Daniels, Ed Walser, and Bill Wilson.
Leading our mentor teams and committees for the CIE Mentor Group Program
we’ve had: Susan Bales, Mary Beth Bobek, Barry Buzogany, John Crumrine, Charles Daniels, Cynthia DeVita-Cochrane, Jerry Hurwitz, Kris Johnson, Bill Knowles, Keith Markfield, Chris Mather, Heather McWhorter, Jim Roberts, Jim Seidel, Phil Sindel, and dozens of others.
With efforts of more than 100 participants focused on growth strategies for our Blue Economy hub in Wilmington and establishing All Blue
, we have a core group of 17 leaders to thank. Collectively, they’ve logged more than 5,000 hours this year. A big thank you to: Troy Alphin, Glenn Anderson, Kris Anderson, Susan Bales, John Bentz, Jack Crouch, Steve Dial, Joan Keston, Mike MacNair, Sam McCall, Kim Nelson, Cordelia Norris, Karl Ricanek, Jay Schach, Justin Streuli, Ed Walser, and Bill Wilson.
The list goes on and on, and I wish I could thank everyone that contributed to the CIE this year – and I don’t want to miss recognizing our staff. Thank you, Laura Brogdon-Primavera. You have managed the CIE since the doors opened and we’re cheering you on as you take on new opportunities with the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. Thank you, Gabbi Plumez, Chloe Newsome, and Alexis Alphin – you pushed through the uncertainty of this year and proved yourselves to be resourceful, adaptable, and resilient.
We’ll be more than getting by…with friends like you!
Diane Durance, MPA, is director of UNC Wilmington's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). The CIE is a resource for the start-up and early-stage business community to help diversify the local economy with innovative solutions. For more information, visit www.uncw.edu/cie.