Emerging technologies meet entrepreneurial ideas

Ever seen a ballerina dance on a table? Or tried to climb Mount Everest inside a library? For those who attended UNC-Chapel Hill’s 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) event at Kenan Science Library, the answer is probably yes.

These surreal experiences were made possible by augmented and virtual reality technologies, which were showcased at the event and are now available in several libraries across campus. The discussion panel and demo session were part of UNC-Chapel Hill’s participation in GEW, an annual international celebration of entrepreneurship that draws participation from creative thinkers and innovation enthusiasts from 170 countries. For one week in November, Carolina students, faculty and staff join millions of other entrepreneurs around the world who take part in local events designed to spark new endeavors.

“Every year, program leaders from different countries get together and share best practices,” said Judith Cone, vice chancellor for innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development, who worked as vice president of the Kauffman Foundation when the organization helped invent and expand GEW across the world. “We try to hook entrepreneurs together globally so that there can be a cross-pollination of ideas.”

This year, the Carolina community kicked off the week by exploring the intersection of entrepreneurship and technologies, including artificial intelligence, gamification, and augmented and virtual reality. The celebration was sponsored by Cone’s Innovate Carolina team and supported by key staff from UNC Libraries. It not only gave attendees the chance to learn from a panel of faculty experts, but also the ability to test drive a few of the technologies for themselves.

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