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 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.

Come to Arts Revolution



Registration now open for ArtsRevolution ‘Artrepreneur’ workshop

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

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 or call 336-256-8649.

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

Win a Makership and Flex Your Creativity

NCEC Giving Away Maker-ship

Are you a Creator?

Do you DIY?

Do you like:

Welding, Building, Sawing
Cutting, Electrifying, Soldering
Splicing, Experimenting, Programming?

FREE Membership to The Forge

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.

Maker-ship Scholarship

Forge Maker-ship Application     Deadline – January, 31, 2018

Ryan Pratt

Ryan Pratt – Founder and CEO of Guerilla RF

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.”