The Office of Innovation Commercialization

Student Entrepreneur Award

2019 Jerry McGuire UNCG Student Entrepreneur of the Year

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.


2018 Jerry McGuire UNCG Student Entrepreneur of the Year

Carlena Neely

Carlena Neely took 1st place in a state wide hackathon and being recognized as the best mobile application concept for the future of shopping.  Her most current project is called #Aberrant. Aberrant is a campus originated movement and a clothing brand. Aberrant is defined as departing from the accepted standard. The purpose of aberrant is to create a platform for individuals to make their own path and diverge from the norms of society. Additionally she is working on another mobile app, Connex  a mobile application that makes it effortless for students to connect with peers, organizations, and affinity groups.


2017 Jerry McGuire UNCG Student Entrepreneur of the Year

Tyler Freeman

After five years and three deployments with the Marines, Tyler joined Ameriprise Financial in 2014, only two days after completing his active duty. After 2 successful years at Ameriprise,he and his business partner launched their own firm called Barn Ridge Financial Partners, as an Ameriprise Financial franchise. Since then, his firm has engaged 200 clients, 575 individual accounts and grown their assets under management to $62.5 million.  Tyler was selected as a Summer District Office Intern for Congressman Mark Walker to assist with veteran’s issues and outreach and he was also honored as one of the Triad Business Journal 40 Leaders Under Forty for 2017.


Click Here to Enter Nominee Information

Make your Nomination Now!

The Jerry McGuire Student Entrepreneur Award is an annual $1,000 award going to UNCG’s most entrepreneurial student or student team. This fund was established in honor of Jerry’s retirement in 2014.

The submission deadline for 2019 is Mar. 1, 2019!

Jerry McGuire has over 30 years of experience in technology commercialization with both industrial and university technologies. He established UNCG’s Office of Technology Transfer in April, 2002 and served as its first director. Under his leadership, this operation has dramatically increased commercialization activities on-going research and innovation at UNCG. He was promoted to Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Development in 2009.

The Jerry McGuire Student Entrepreneur Award will be administered as an endowed fund under the following guidelines:

  • An award will be made annually to a student (or student team) who has exhibited exceptional entrepreneurial experience. Recipients will be selected by a panel of judges appointed by the Director of the NC Entrepreneurship Center including, but not limited to, UNCG faculty and staff, alumni, business owners, and/or others knowledgeable about entrepreneurship.
  •  Students may self-nominate or be nominated by others. Nominees may be any full-time undergraduate or graduate students enrolled at UNCG graduating no sooner than the semester in which the award is made and may include students who have started businesses, social entrepreneurship ventures, on-campus programming, new clubs and organizations, as well as community service. Individual students or teams of students may be nominated. In the event the winner is a team, the scholarship will be divided equally among team members.

 Click here to enter Nominee Information.