Left to Right: Jerry McGuire Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Carlena Neely; 2 Minutes to Win It: Alexis Moore – 1st Place, Rachel Pennington – 2nd Place, Nathan Arnold – Best Presentation, Oliver Xie – 3rd Place; NCEC Volunteer of the Year: Glenn Seymour; Forge Makerships: Will Bledsoe, Anna Rufalowski, Katherine Doherty. Kneeling: Justin Streuli, Director
Blavity, the media and events startup focused on black millennials and black culture, has acquired travel startup Travel Noire for an undisclosed amount.
Travel Noire, which offers up traveling tips and guidance for black millennials, reaches over 2 million millennials a month. Next month, I’m heading to Nairobi with some TechCrunch colleagues. Thanks to Travel Noire, I now know to hit up the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an elephant orphanage located inside Nairobi National Park. Read More…
Greensboro, N.C. (Aug. 9, 2017) – The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T) have been awarded a five-year, $500,000 grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish Greensboro as an Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site.
NSF I-Corps is a federally funded program that prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the university laboratory and accelerates the economic and societal benefits of research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization.
As a designated I-Corps Site, UNCG and N.C. A&T will provide students, faculty, staff and alumni with the education and resources needed to take their innovations to market. The new I-Corps Site is one of just a few sites in North Carolina.
“I am proud that UNCG was chosen amongst a competitive field to lead a Greensboro-based I-Corps site with N.C. A&T,” said Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. “This unique National Science Foundation initiative will foster innovation and collaboration among faculty, students and the greater Greensboro community, as we continue to develop a growing innovation ecosystem that will have real world impact.”
The North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center held its award ceremony on March 23 at HQ Greensboro, following the 2 Minutes to Win It competition.
This year’s Jerry McGuire UNCG Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner is Tyler Freeman, a former Marine and co-owner of Barn Ridge Financial Partners. Since its beginning in 2014, his firm has engaged 200 clients, 575 individual accounts and has grown their assets under management to $62.5 million. In 2016, Tyler was elected the president of the Student Veterans Association. In the coming months, Tyler will serve as a Summer District Office Intern for Congressman Mark Walker, assisting with veterans’ issues and outreach. He was honored as one of the Triad Business Journal’s 40 Leaders Under Forty for 2017.
Kayla Martel, a runner-up for the Jerry McGuire award, is the founder and CEO of Red Ribbon and Company, launched in 2016. Red Ribbon’s main focus is apparel customization, including embroidery, sublimation, vinyl stickers and heat transfers. Red Ribbon and Company creates customized items for sports teams, clubs and other organizations. In 2016, Martel hired UNCG campus representatives to market Red Ribbon’s services, which led to growth in serving campus organizations. Also in 2016, Martel placed first in the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America Entrepreneurship competition in Greensboro.
Monique McLeary, a runner-up for the Jerry McGuire award, launched a natural skin and hair care company called Munch Cosmetics in 2016. Munch products are handmade in small batches. They are free of sulfates, mineral oil, petroleum, parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates, and other harmful substances. Since starting her business on Etsy, McLeary has sold many products nationally, and she plans to develop more products. McLeary also currently serves as a mentor with the African American Male Initiative.
The NCEC Volunteer of the Year award went to Mary Chen, the founder and CEO of Chen Language Services and Chen Global Services. Chen spoke in two different classes at UNCG Entrepreneur Day and was a judge for the 2 Minutes to Win It pitch competition.
Winners for the 2 Minutes to Win It were chosen by a panel of thirty judges, based on creativity, viability and presentation skills. 72 undergraduate and graduate student competitors from six universities competed, and four received awards.
Chase Smith won first place for LockBox.io, a system of RFID and fingerprint-enabled locks and lockboxes for managing industrial plant processes. Smith’s product would increase the safety of employees performing repairs.
Sheeba Dawood won second place for Nano Therapeutics. Dawood proposes creating a device that produces light capable of triggering nano particles. The nano particles would transport cancer-fighting drugs and the therapy could become an alternative to chemotherapy and radiation.
Piper Hudson won third place for Black Gold Compost, which would offer composted fertilizer and a service for compost material pickup and delivery. Hudson’s project would use social media to encourage participation and to provide education about food waste and how its disposal affects the environment.
Erika Bridges won the best pitch prize for The Pantry, a small delivery-based grocery store that operates via app and in small locations. The store is designed for commuters who would find it inconvenient to carry groceries on public transportation, and for vendors who would like to have a store in a small space with limited products on-hand.
Three undergraduate students were selected for UNCG Forge Makership awards.
Matthew Froehling currently practices 3D printing, wood and metal working. He plans to increase his skill set in order to build portable DJ facades, a photo booth, foldable table stands and other DJ-related projects.
Amanda Lenz has worked with a variety of materials, including leather, and she plans to use the industrial sewing machines at the Forge to grow her handbag business, Helene Dorothy.
Seth Allred uses 3D printing, sewing, molding, casting, wood and metalworking in making props and replicas for costuming and cosplay. He will use the tools at the Forge to make more props and increase his skills, and he will learn how to use circuitry.
Congratulations to our 2017 Forge Makership recipients! On March 23, the NC Entrepreneurship Center presented not one, but three Makerships to UNCG students who demonstrated an elevated desire and need for the community and tool the Forge ,akerspace povides. Joe Rotundi, the Forge Executive Director was on had to present the award to the following students:
Matthew Froehling – Matthew is a Senior in Entrepreneurship who also owns a DJ business. He applied for the Forge Makership in order to get access to tools to prototype new ideas and build products for his current businesses. He has experience with 3D printing, wood and metal working, but hopes to learn more skills to build portable DJ facades, a photo booth, foldable table stands and other DJ-related projects to grow his business.
Amanda Lenz – Amanda is a Senior in Psychology. She applied for the Forge Makership to become more engaged with the maker and crafter community here in Greensboro. She has over 5 years’ experience working with a variety of materials and is most looking forward to using the industrial sewing machines at the Forge to grow here handbag business she started in 2013. She has been making one-off leather handbags and sells them online through her company Helene Dorothy, visit HeleneDorothy.com to see all her products.
Seth Allred – Seth is a Junior studying Business Administration. He applied for the Forge Makership to learn new techniques and expand his skillsets. He is already familiar with 3D printing, sewing, molding, casting, wood and metalworking through making props and replicas on commission for costuming and cosplay. He hopes to use the tools at the Forge to make more props, increase is skillsets to offer more commissions as well as learn how to work circuitry with a raspberry pie.
Greensboro, N.C. (March 1, 2017) – Registration is now open for the ArtsRevolution Artrepreneur Art-Business Workshop, a unique opportunity for local artists to increase their business acumen and develop strategies to start and grow art-focused businesses.
Presented by UNCG’s North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center (NCEC), the event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, at Revolution Mill. The event includes 10 experiential breakout sessions led by local business professionals and successful career artists. Participants will have extensive access to each expert speaker, as well as the opportunity to network with other artists.
“Given the success of last year’s event, we’re thrilled to once again offer this workshop and provide longer, more in-depth sessions to our participants,” said Jan Szelkowski, assistant director of NCEC. “We’re focused on providing a highly valuable experience to artists who are working within a budget.”
The workshop is part of the annual daylong ArtsRevolution event, which also features a free, community-wide ArtaPalooza arts festival with more than 25 live artistic performances and experiences.
Student tickets for the workshop start at $40 and general attendee tickets start at $80. To learn more and to register for the workshop – and to view the complete list of performers for the festival – visit ArtsRev.com.
ArtsRevolution is presented by NCEC and hosted by Revolution Mill, with support from Self Help, City Arts and Guilford Technical Community College.
About the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center
The North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center (NCEC) at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro provides co-curricular and outreach programs to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, and to serve as a catalyst for the creation of sustainable and globally competitive enterprises in the Piedmont Triad, North Carolina and beyond. For more information, visit the NCEC’s website at ncec.uncg.edu or call 336-256-8649.
Michael Boyer, founder and managing attorney at Carolina Craft Legal, a Greensboro based small business and administrative law practice focused on North Carolina alcoholic beverage law and innovative legal solutions for the creative class of local startups and entrepreneurs.
I practice business and administrative law. Most of my clients are entrepreneurs, whether directly involved with the alcoholic beverage industry or driven by the same principles of localism and sustainability.
No matter the business, my clients look for an attorney that can keep their business nimble. That means my legal services are not only practical and convenient, but innovative and community-minded. I navigate the legal box so they may do what they do best.
The Forge is a co-working Makerspace in downtown Greensboro. Members have access to welders, 3D printers, laser cutters and other tools and machines to build and create. To help better connect UNCG students with the local “maker”, the NCEC is awarding a Forge Maker-ship; a FREE 12-month Membership to The Forge worth $500. www.ForgeGreensboro.org
Ryan Pratt (Founder and CEO of Guerrilla RF) did not begin his career with the intent of creating his own business. After graduating from North Carolina State University in 2000 with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Ryan took a position at his father’s company, RF Micro Devices. Throughout the next eight years at the company, Ryan worked hard and moved his way up into the management team. However, in 2008, Ryan decided it was time for a change, and left RFMD to work for Skyworks, one of their competitors. In his new role, Ryan was given the opportunity to create and start a design center within the company, an experience he referred to as “a startup experience within a corporate umbrella”. Unfortunately, that experience ended in 2013 when he was laid off from the company.
The year that began with his lay off quickly turned into the year that Ryan created Guerrilla RF. Guerrilla RF is another semiconductor company, and their focus is on the infrastructure side (think of the big cell towers you see when you’re driving down the highway). They enable these infrastructure devices to cover a larger area, which means less towers covering more area. Their funding began with winning the NC IDEA grant, which Ryan said was the “make or break point for our company”. With the grant money they received, Guerrilla RF was able to create their first prototype, which led to over a million dollars of investment money coming to fruition within three months. Investors are an important part of Ryan’s company, and he can’t stress enough that picking who you approach is important. “You need to find people who get what you’re doing, and you’re building a relationship where they trust you. If they don’t trust you, they’re the ones who are going to try to get overly involved in the business. In his case, his investors know very little about the industry, but they are aware of Ryan’s track record and they trust him to run it.”