The Office of Innovation Commercialization




The Growing Entrepreneurs by Mentoring Students(GEMS) program is an exclusive, high profile program that is open to full-time college students in Greensboro. Through a competitive application process, top entrepreneurial students will be selected to be matched one-on-one with experienced entrepreneurs who would serve as mentors.  The program will run throughout the 2017-2018 academic year with the group being comprised of up to twenty students and twenty mentors.  In addition to monthly one-on-one mentoring sessions, the program will also include dinners, receptions and other meetings/workshops to encourage networking and information sharing among mentors and students.  GEMS will be managed by the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center (NCEC). There is no cost for students to participate in this program.


Any full-time student currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in Greensboro and in good academic standing is eligible to apply.

Participating schools include UNC Greensboro, Bennett College, NC A&T State University, Guilford College, Greensboro College, High Point University, Elon University, and Guilford Technical Community College.

GEMS is sponsored in part by Kotis Properties and Quaintance Weaver Restaurants and Hotels.

Applying for GEMS – 2017 Applications Due May 1, 2017

To apply, eligible students should submit:

  • Current Resume
  • Current Photograph
  • 3-page Essay describing why you want to be in GEMS, what your life and career goals are, why you are a good candidate for GEMS, your fields of interest, personal hobbies and what your entrepreneurial goals are.
  • Letter of recommendation from a faculty member

 Applications should be submitted by email to Student finalists for the program may also be interviewed in person or by phone.

What GEMS Mentees Have to Say

My mentor has graciously given his time and expertise. The entire program has made me think differently about entrepreneurship and provided the motivation for me to move my ideas from the scratchpad to the launch pad.

Joe U.
UNC Greensboro

GEMS set me up with an awesome mentor.  My communication and correspondence with my mentor has added depth to my professional network, and gave me a person to talk to with any problems I was having in school or in my career search.

Jay B.
Elon University

I really enjoyed being in the program because my mentor was an example of what I could become. I enjoy talking to him and hearing his stories about how he developed and grew his firm over the years. My mentor also reviewed my design projects and offered a variety of resources to improve on my designs. It was wonderful having another experienced pair of eyes to examine my work.
I was recently offered and accepted a position with the Planning and Zoning Department in Alexandria City, Virginia. My title is Senior Planning Technician. I’m really excited and blessed to be pursuing my passion. Once I get settled I plan to start studying in preparation for the LEED Green Associate certification and then begin working on my business.

Amirah L.

Preference will be given to rising juniors and above, between the ages of 18 and 30, but others with exceptional qualities and motivation may apply. Students should show some evidence of their entrepreneurial drive through their personal experience, campus leadership roles and/or career interests.  Participants should consider it a great honor to be accepted in the GEMS program.

More Info on GEMS

Participating mentors must have at least ten years of business experience with at least one year as a business owner and/or non-profit executive director.  More importantly, mentors must have proven commitment to helping young people.

For complete details download the GEMS Program Guidelines