Dreamers-Who-Do: Entrepreneurial minds over matter

Three years. 56 student projects. A $100,000 gift. And countless lives improved. All made possible by a donor who’s passionate about student education and philanthropic opportunities that have a social impact.

The Dreamers-Who-Do program, open to all University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students with an innovative idea, offers an opportunity to put those ideas into action. The program aims to expand the minds and real-world experiences of UNC student entrepreneurs through sponsorships for projects, programs and guest speakers as well as travel to competitions, conferences and events which further the innovative mindset and skillset of students.

“Providing opportunities for student entrepreneurs to launch their ideas is what we strive for,” says Sheryl Waddell, director, Global Innovate Carolina Network. “Dreamers-Who-Do is the foundation of our ability to create innovation and entrepreneurship experiences for students as they create their own journeys.”

Innovate Carolina, the campus-wide initiative for innovation and entrepreneurship, manages the program. As the Innovate Carolina team was working to build the University innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) network over the past few years, it identified a gap in that network: beyond individual schools and departments, there wasn’t a campus-wide entrepreneurial program that allowed all students to directly apply for funding to pursue their ideas for making a positive economic and social difference. After connecting with alumnus and donor Jonathan Robertson, who became the driving force responsible for launching the program, the Dreamers-Who-Do program quickly gained momentum and continues to fuel positive, student-led ingenuity and impact.

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