Awards presented for the UNCG & Forge Greensboro Makerships

UNCG + Forge Makership

Each year, the NC Entrepreneurship Center awards three FREE 12-month memberships to the Forge Makerspace in order to better connect innovative students with the local maker community. 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.

The Forge Makerships for the 2020-21 go to students who have demonstrated a qualifying need and use for the offerings provided by the Forge Greensboro. These annual memberships are presented to Joseph Schorr, Jacob Hermon, and Alexander Rose.

Joseph Schorr is excited to access to the tools necessary to create a business around footwear, focused on accessories to protect shoes, which continue to be a crucial piece of trendy clothing.

Jacob Hermon is a third-generation woodworker also with leather and 3D-printing experience. A membership will allow him to more consistently work on projects, including 3D printing for honeybee hives, wood working to build workstations, artwork, as well as learn to weld.

Alexander Rose has always considered himself a creative. Now, he hopes to leverage this creativity around a business idea – creating scale models for building construction including community centers, performance spaces, even offices. He also has personal projects like sculptures, props and costumes.

Additionally, the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center  announced that Sheeba Dawood has been named UNCG Student Entrepreneur of the Year. 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



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


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.

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.

Announcing the winners of the NCEC Awards

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

NCEC Awards Celebration

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.

Mary Chen

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, 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.



2017 Forge Makerships Awards

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 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.

Under 30 Takeover! featuring Michael Boyer

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.

Register at

Kings & Queens of Comedy Creator

Business mogul, Walter Latham is often referred to as “The King of Comedy,” as he has made an indelible imprint in the evolution, creation and impact of urban comedy throughout the world. He is credited with launching the careers of several award-winning actors and comedians including, Tyler Perry, Chris Tucker, Steve Harvey, Mo’Nique, Cedric “The Entertainer,” and the late Bernie Mac.

In 2012, Latham partnered with YouTube on an urban comedy channel. The channel brings urban comedy to digital programming, 24/7, a historic milestone for urban comedy. It features content from Latham’s past productions featuring Bernie Mac, Tyler Perry, Mo’Nique and others as well as new content from Michael Blackson, Broken Equipment Productions and Tara “Miss P” Powell.

To date, Latham’s productions have grossed over $200 million worldwide.

To register visit

Check-in and networking 5:00-5:30

Speaker 5:30-7:00 with Q & A

Free Food and Easy Parking

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