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.