Author: Jan I Szelkowski

UNC Greensboro’s Jerry McGuire Student Entrepreneur

Charly Meredith, co-founder of Fool’s Gold Honey, has received UNC Greensboro’s Jerry McGuire Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Meredith, a UNCG junior psychology major, started Fool’s Gold Honey in 2020, during the pandemic. In its first year, the company has successfully sold products nationwide.

“Our award is presented to a UNCG student or student team exhibiting exceptional entrepreneurial spirit,” said Sam Seyedin, interim director of University innovation hub LaunchUNCG. “Charly was selected for their innovative approach to sourcing, distribution, sales, and sustainability.”

The award, which is administered by UNCG’s NC Entrepreneurship Center, includes a $1,000 scholarship.

“Fool’s Gold Honey was founded on the notion that people need high quality, locally sourced honey free from additives and harmful chemicals,” says Meredith. “We take meticulous care to ensure our honey remains raw. This preserves the natural taste and nutritional enzymes made by the bees.”

The company centers the health of pollinators and the environment. Meredith and their partner also manage their own apiary and offer training classes on the importance and profitability of beekeeping.

UNCG’s NC Entrepreneurship Center also recognized the following finalists:

Aaron D. Graham, English, Creative Writing
Graham is a graduate student pursuing a MFA in Poetry. His curriculum design established the Veterans’ Writing Project at UNCG as well as a four-part creative writing initiative called “Writing the Military Experience.” The initiative facilitates dialogue between service members, veterans, military families, and the broader community centered on understanding and communicating the military experience. Learn more about Graham’s work at

Abigail Fernandez, School of Nursing
Fernandez is a junior nursing student. She is the owner and creator of Whatever Is Lovely Designs, a small business that sells custom water-color greeting cards and hand-crafted paper goods. Fernandez has used her business to support healthcare workers during the pandemic, including partnering with the community to make and donate over 50 handmade cards to encourage healthcare workers in the Triad.

Joanna McCoskey Wiltshire, School of Music
Wiltshire is a Minerva Scholar on an Alumni-Hayes Excellence Fellowship pursuing a doctorate in clarinet performance. She currently teaches at the UNC-SA Community Music School in Winston-Salem, Upbeat Music Company in Lewisville, and St. Mary’s Music Academy in High Point, and she maintains a studio of her own. Learn more about Wiltshire’s work at

Kassandra Ormsby, School of Music
Ormsby is a doctoral student studying bassoon performance. She is passionate about community outreach and entrepreneurship, and is an active performer and teacher. In 2019, she secured a grant to provide youth with the opportunity to experience live music from great composers and to give students hands-on experience with musical instruments. The program launched in 2020 – with a full set of new instruments, volunteer uniforms, tables and station supplies, sterilization equipment, and banners – and has reached over 4,600 children and their families. Learn more about Ormsby’s work at

Finalists are typically honored each year at the NC Entrepreneurship Center’s Awards Banquet. However, due to COVID-19 this year’s students are being honored virtually.

Learn more about the NC Entrepreneurship Center, a part of the LaunchUNCG initiative, at


UNC Greensboro’s North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center recently announced that Sheeba Dawood has been named UNCG Student Entrepreneur of the Year.

The Jerry McGuire Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award is a $1,000 scholarship presented to a UNCG student who has exhibited exceptional entrepreneurial experience.

Dawood is a PhD candidate in the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN) and co-founder of Minerva Lithium, a UNCG spinout company that is based on a point-of-use lithium extraction technology that Dawood developed through her research at JSNN.

The innovation provides fast and efficient lithium extraction and recovery due to its high selectivity, rapid extraction ability, and the feasibility to apply to large-scale lithium extraction. This innovation could significantly reduce the cost and extraction time for one of the most necessary elements in today’s devices.

In addition to the award winner, the NC Entrepreneurship Center recognized the following finalists:

Joshua Karlton-Senaye, Information Systems

Karlton-Senaye developed CalcPlusWeb 2, an interactive calculator app that gives users on-demand formulas in a variety of subjects. The technology allows easy web connectivity, and users can access live on-demand tutors.

Miah Bonds, Therapeutic Recreation 

Bonds is the founder of LacedByMiah, a custom-order wig business that not only constructs and sells wigs but donates wigs free of charge to those who suffer from medical conditions causing hair loss. Bonds donates a portion of her revenue to charity and helps instruct others in the construction of custom-made wigs.

Belle Downing, Therapeutic Recreation

Downing is pursuing an accelerated master’s program while balancing multiple jobs on campus, volunteering for many socially disadvantaged groups, and participating in several Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement programs. In addition to this activity, Downing is in the process of writing a self-help book.

Kaleigh Riker, Psychology

Riker is the founder of a nonprofit called The Pink Bowz that is dedicated to raising awareness and funds to fight against breast cancer. The organization raised $10,000 in its first few years. These funds have benefited those fighting breast cancer and have also helped educate the public on risks and early prevention.

Victoria Sparks, Finance 

Sparks is the author of “Plan to Prevail: A Resource Guide for College Bound Students.” Prior to graduating from high school, she was awarded nearly $500,000 in scholarships to pursue her higher education and is now showing others how to do the same. This guide is designed to aid students in college preparation, application, and the financial aid process.

Additionally, the NC Entrepreneurship Center awarded three 12-month memberships to the Forge Makerspace in order to better connect innovative students with the local maker community. The winners of the 2020-21 Forge Makerships are Joseph Schorr, Jacob Herman, and Alexander Rose. Read more here.

These students are typically honored each year at the NC Entrepreneurship Center’s Awards Banquet. However, due to COVID-19, this year’s ceremony was cancelled, and students are being honored virtually.

Learn more about the NC Entrepreneurship Center at


2 Minutes to Win It Awards

It was a spectacular effort by 20 students from all around Greensboro on Thursday, March 22 at HQ Greensboro. This semester, we received 72 valid entries. Those entries came from UNCG, NCAT, Bennett, Greensboro, Guilford, HPU, GTCC and Elon and included freshmen through graduate students. A total of 35 different majors represented from Bio-Chemistry to Gerontology to Vocal Pedagogy, with Business Administration being the most popular major.

These students were presenting 2 minute business pitches for a chance to win up to $1000 prize and a multitude of services provided by our fabulous sponsors. Facing off in front of over 30 business and non profit professionals, these students from, sophomore to PhD, pitched their ideas.  The panel of judges were focused on the originality and viability of the ideas as well as the strength of the presentation.

Spring 2019 Winners

First Place

Jewel Moser – Backpack Bolster

Second Place

Chloe Headley – Booze Box

Third Place

Matthew Hawkins – Karman Rockets

Best Pitch

Earthlyn Armstrong –  Mommy Tribe

Event and Award Sponsors:

logo full-logo-hlaunch Greensboro

Announcing the Winner of the Student Entrepreneur of the Year

The Jerry McGuire UNCG Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award is an annual $1,000 award going to UNCG’s most entrepreneurial student or student team.

Since this award was established, this was arguably the most impressive and diverse group of nominees we have seen. So much so that we invited 5 finalists to be recognized this year. While all were worthy of the award we could only choose one, Our Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award goes to Taylor Mabe.

These are our 5 finalists in alphabetical order:

John Barclay – John Barclay is a Marketing major scheduled to graduate in Fall 2019. While a fulltime student last year, he started his own Advertising Agency and Marketing Consulting group called Marley Wayne Company.

Since starting Marley Wayne, his list of clients across the triad has continued to grow, including contracts with Small Batch Brewery, Burger Batch Restaurants, Swell, Dolon Enterprises and this summer’s Pig Pickin’ Cook Out Event primarily managing public relations and social media campaigns. His most recent client is a Hotel and Restaurant called Las Olas located in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica.

While attending UNCG, John has consistently been on the Dean’s and Chancellor’s Lists while working a upwards of 25 hours a week and taking a full load of classes.

At the end of this month, he will be competing in the National Collegiate Sales Competition at Kennesaw State University, one of two representatives participating from UNCG in this premier invite only competition.

Imani Barnes – Imani Barnes is a Social Work Major and African American Studies Minor scheduled to graduate this Spring with a 3.5 GPA.

Upon completing her certifications for waxing, facials, massages, and skin care in the Summer of 2018, Imani launched her beauty business – Glitter and Glory. Glitter and Glory offers every service in waxing. In addition to these services, she offers full-face make up beats through MadebyMani. She gives each client custom individual looks, from extensive services for special events to subtle looks for important meetings. With Glitter and Glory, Imani offers top notch services for an affordable price for both male and female clients, further seeking to educate her clients on skin care, exfoliation, and waxing.

Before Glitter and Glory, in 2017, Imani started an on-campus initiative called The Pink Pad Project. This initiative seeks donations of feminine hygiene products that are sorted into mini care packages for less fortunate homeless women around the triad. Imani’s work with The Pink Pad Project has been highlighted by WXII 12 News and around UNCG’s campus, receiving Initiative of the Year recognition from Student Government Association.

Outside of her philanthropic and entrepreneurial endeavors, Imani is part of many on campus organizations geared towards scholarship, business, brotherhood, and sisterhood including the Professional Business Fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi and The Nu Rho Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Khari & Omari Bodrick – The twin brothers Khari and Omari Bodrick are two young designers who have always had a passion for creating unique street-wear. They are both studying Business Administration and Entrepreneurship and scheduled to graduate in Spring 2020.

In 2014, they founded ICE Clothing, a street-wear brand originating from Charlotte. The brand provides unique and affordable mix of graphic tee’s, hoodies, hats, leggings, tank tops, shorts and more, giving clients a lifestyle that reflects the urban community and culture. Over the years, ICE has accumulated over 20,000 followers on social media, have sold out all 8 of their collections, host 5-10 pop-up shops per year across NC and now print their own merchandise and ship between 20-30 orders a week. ICE also hosts an annual Thanksgiving giveaway to the homeless and shelter volunteer event, providing hoodies and hats for those in need to stay warm during the cold months.

While operating ICE, these brothers have earned Deans list recognition, interned at Ink Floyd and Closer Look Publishing, participated in UNCG’s Entrepreneurship Everywhere event and were honored as Business of the Year at East Mecklenburg high school 2015.

Joshua Leeper – Joshua Leeper is a full-time student, maintaining a 4.0 GPA in his 2nd Semester of UNCG’s Nonprofit Management Certificate Program while also serving as the Founder and Executive Director of Raise ‘Em Up Mentoring. Raise ‘Em Up Mentoring is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit formed in 2016 that takes college students from local Universities and places them in Title 1 schools to provide trained mentorship to K-12 students. The organization has recorded over 1,000 service hours while maintaining on average 30 volunteers and is currently working with 4 schools in Guilford County. In the next year, Joshua looks to expand the organization into more schools and begin writing a curriculum to be inserted into schools.

Joshua has also created the event ‘Cultural Experience Day’ at UNCG. The goal is to encourage high school students to further their education, get a realistic depiction of college life for a person of color before they attend and encourage them to follow their dreams.

Joshua was also one of 6 student leaders at UNCG who planned and executed the Spartans Take DC initiative, consisting of over 90 UNCG students and faculty who took an educational trip to Washington, D.C. for the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March.

Joshua also works as Teacher Assistant at Casa Esperanza Montessori Charter School in Raleigh, NC. He has previously served as an AmeriCorps VISTA, been awarded the Community Impact Award by North Carolina Campus Compact, a Humanitarian Award for his leadership and commitment to service, served as President of UNCG’s Black Business Student Association, President of UNCG’s American Marketing Association, EUC Facility Manager, and OLSL Civic Engagement Fellow.

Taylor Mabe – Taylor Mabe is a Fall 2018 Graduate of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering PhD in Nanoscience Program, maintaining a 4.0 GPA during his tenure and publishing 7 peer-reviewed journal articles and 1 book chapter.

Taylor currently serves as the President and CEO of the medical device start-up 3i Nanotech, Inc, founded in 2018, commercializing innovative intellectual property generated during his PhD studies at the Joint School. His device is a platform technology for using blood for point-of-care sensing in a prehospital setting with the goal of facilitating early diagnosis of disease. 3i Nano has raised significant non-dilutive capital, starting with $5k by first participating in the Greensboro NSF I-Corps Program as Team 1 in Cohort 1. Upon successful customer validation, 3i Nano was awarded $50k and selected to participate in the 2018 NSF I-Corps National Node Program as Team 1211 where they were further awarded the “Spirit of iCorps Award” for exceptional performance and use of resources, the only team receive an award. This success led Taylor and 3i Nano to successfully receive a $75k NC Biotechnology Center Technology Enhancement Grant to further improve their innovation. This built the foundation for 3i Nano to be selected as UNCG’s 2018 Recipient of the Next Steps Program Grant, allowing them to participate in First Flight Ventures Liftoff Program for assistance in applying for a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research Grant. Submitted in December 2018, 3i Nano has received positive feedback that they will likely receive this SBIR grant of over $250k, further matched by upwards of $50k in funding through the One NC Small Business Program, to build a market-ready prototype of their medical device, bringing their total non-dilutive funding raised to upwards of $430k.

Taylor was also accepted to present at the CED Life Science Conference in February 2019 and pitched at Launch Greensboro’s Capital Connects in March 2019.

Outside of 3i Nano, Taylor founded, created, directed and produced the JSNN Video Tutorial Series to train 1st and 2nd year students how to operate the scientific and analytical equipment at JSNN.

He was the Popular Vote Winner of the Journal of Visualized Experiments worldwide “Film Your Research” contest in 2017, 1st Place Winner of UNCG 3 Minute Thesis in 2017, 1st Place National Prize Winner of the National Nanotechnology Initiative Nano Film Contest in 2017, 1st Place Winner of the UNCG Research and Creativity Expo in both 2016 and 2017, Winner of the Graduate School’s Summer Research Fellowship Award in both 2016 and 2017, 1st Place Winner of the UNCG 2 Minutes to Win It business pitch contest in 2014, 3rd place in 2015, and 2nd place in 2016.

In 2015, Taylor gave a TED Talk at TedX Greensboro titled “Small Particles for Big Problems” and was also selected as the sole UNCG student to share his dissertation research with the N.C. General Assembly at Legislative Graduate Day this past year.

2 Minutes to Win It

Now for our Winners – these top finalists survived two rounds of judging against 90 other competitors from 5 different universities against students ranging from freshman to PhD students and nearly 30 majors represented

Best Pitch – $250, Strategy Consultation – Earthlyn Armstrong, Mommy Tribe

Third Place – $250, Eligible for NSF I-Corps, Strategy Consultation – Matthew Hawkins, Karman Rockets

Second Place – $500, Eligible for NSF I-Corps, Strategy Consultation – Chloe Headley, Booze Box

First Place – $1,000, Spot in NSF I-Corps, 6-month membership to HQ Greensboro – Jewel Moser, Backpack Bolster

Forge Makerships 2019

UNCG Forge Makership:

The UNCG Forge Makership is meant to help UNCG students become part of the local maker and entrepreneurial community. Today, one of these student finalists will get a free 1-year membership to the Forge Makerspace, just around the corner here in downtown Greensboro. Before we announce the winner, I’d like to bring up Executive Director of the Forge Joe Rotondi to share more about the Forge and what a student receiving a 1-year Forge Makership will have access to. Joe –

We have two students that were selected as finalists for this year’s Forge Makership.

Stephanie Masullo – Stephanie is a Public Health Education and Health Studies Major scheduled to Graduate in Spring 2020. Her favorite past “maker” project was working with her brothers to build their own home growing up. She hopes to leverage her passion, work ethic, skills and artistic experience to create new innovative products to aid individuals in meeting their health-related needs. She has designs and plans for 30 projects to execute over the next 24-months should she be awarded this makership.

MaryGrace Beard – MaryGrace is a New Media and Design Major scheduled to Graduate in Fall 2019. She has experience in metal – working with plasma cutters, torches, saws and welders, while also having the skillsets to sew, paint, carve and sculpt. She hopes to leverage the Forge makership to expand her skillsets further, but also improve on the things she knows, using metals to make furniture and “monster” sculptures. Both of these finalists are looking to leverage there skills and there membership to the Forge to grow their skillsets, hobbies and potentially businesses.

Seeking Creative Solutions

September 30: First Round Submission Due ONLINE

The 2018 Civic Innovation Competition is open to all full-time UNCG & NCAT Students interested in developing innovative solutions for local government problems. Outlined on the competition website are 7 Problem Statements currently challenging Guilford County Government. Your task is to develop an innovative solution for one or more of these problems. Participants will submit their first-round ideas online, while finalists will have over a month to prepare for LIVE Final Presentations. 10 Finalists will all be awarded $500 and the overall winner will be awarded $5,000.
Learn more and apply!

BOA Launches $20 Million Lending Program for U.S. Military Veteran Entrepreneurs

Friday, June 8, 2018 8:30 am EDT

Bank of America today announced a $20 million Veteran Entrepreneur Lending Program to connect U.S. military veteran business owners with affordable capital to help kick-start and grow their businesses.

“Helping our veterans translate their skills and become entrepreneurs driving the U.S. economy is one of the ways Bank of America is thanking them for their service,” said Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan. Read More.