Dreamers-Who-Do Program

What’s the role of Carolina students: To dream or to do?

When students arrive on campus in Chapel Hill, they bring fresh aspirations with them. And our students don’t just dream, they dream big. They have an uncanny ability to think critically. Test assumptions. Generate novel ideas. Ponder daring possibilities. And explore new directions by learning in the classroom, creating in the studio and experimenting in the lab.

But being a Carolina student involves more than just thinking or dreaming big. It means doing big things. It isn’t about waiting to see where their ideas will lead. It’s about deciding how they will use their ideas to lead.

Our students are dreamers who do. As part of the Innovation Generation, they have a passion for putting their ideas in motion. Thousands have enrolled in courses focused on entrepreneurship – and demand for these classes continues to soar. They’re learning the entrepreneurial mindset and skillset.

But where can they apply the skills they learn in the classroom? How do they turn lab experiments to real-life ventures?


How this opportunity makes a difference
The Dreamers-Who-Do Program gives students the unique chance to transform academic knowledge into tangible, real-world results. Student gain practical experience by:

  • Participating in undergraduate internships with a UNC startup company.
  • Traveling abroad for a semester to study economic, social and cultural systems.
  • Working as part of an early-stage business.
  • Launching new ventures of their own – often in collaboration with UNC faculty and entrepreneurial experts.
  • Engaging in learning experiences, including entrepreneurial projects, programs and events.


By providing entrepreneurial students opportunities to work on full-time on projects that they’re passionate about – bio-medical spinouts, social ventures or commercial enterprises, for example – the University gives them real-world learning experiences. The entrepreneurial and scientific knowledge they’ve gained in the classroom or lab finds practical outlets. Students learn by going, seeing and doing.

The Dreamers-Who-Do program includes tracks for undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students to participate. Students who apply to the program can practice entrepreneurial skills in a variety of areas:

  • IP-based scientific startups
  • Business and entrepreneurial ventures
  • Social innovation

The award funding helps students become immersed in practical experience and move step-by-step toward their ultimate goal – which could range from completing an internship project to launching a new company.


Why your gift matters
Contributions provide critical funding support in a variety of areas: travel costs, living expenses and stipends related to undergraduate internships; innovation event expenses; costs associated with applying for and participating in business accelerator programs; and study abroad expenses for students traveling to other countries to further their work on entrepreneurial projects.

This support is essential to helping Carolina student entrepreneurs translate the knowledge they gain in classrooms and labs into reality – through scientific spinouts, community programs, innovative projects, and business and social ventures that make an economic and human impact. With your help, they’re ready to take the biggest of dreams and do even bigger things with them.

Read about Dreamers-Who-Do students who are already putting their ideas to work.

Give Now