Innovate Now Series

Make an impact with your ideas – anytime, anywhere.

Innovate Carolina’s Innovate Now series helps you put your ideas into action anytime and anywhere that works for you.

For some sessions, you'll choose to sign up ahead of time. For others, you might watch on demand. Either way, this online series offers you new opportunities to learn from – and collaborate with – other innovative-minded experts in a variety of ways.

When is the best time to make your idea work?
Whenever you’re ready to say “now.”



Maybe you’re working remotely – or just looking to carve out a few minutes from your demanding schedule to ideate, innovate and plan your next steps. Whether you’re launching a startup venture, inventive initiative, new mode of teaching or an impact-driven program, we understand that what you want to work on shouldn’t be dictated by when you have time to work on it.

Engage with a mix of entrepreneurs, startup founders, faculty, students and others from our campus and local innovation community. You’ll make valuable connections, discover new possibilities and design creative paths forward … starting now.



See events and engagements below

For Students

Training: How to Become a Startup Consultant

When: Every other Wednesday (May 20 through July 15), Noon to 1 p.m.
How:
On-demand video available after sessions
Length:
1 hour

Overview: Innovate Carolina is hosting this series of virtual lunch-and-learn training sessions that will provide you and other students with an introduction to the skills and knowledge you need to provide venture-based consulting services or work as interns at startup companies. By participating in in these sessions, you’ll get high-level tips and direction on what it takes to help young companies identify new markets, pursue funding, engage in customer discovery and tackle other challenges. If you’re interested in working with – or getting a position at – a startup company, these sessions will get you started. Each session features a 30-minute presentation by a startup consulting expert, followed by an interactive Q&A session. 

 

Sessions Created in Collaboration With: KickStart Venture Services, Carolina Graduate Consulting Group, Kenan-Flagler Business School Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club

Who Should Attend/Watch: Graduate students, professional degree students and undergraduate students interested in startups and entrepreneurship.


May 20: Secondary Market Research

Presenter: Patrick Kastian, Research Analyst, Innovate Carolina
Watch on-demand video


June 3: Customer Discovery

Presenter: Chris Morrison, owner, ViaVerus LLC
Watch on-demand video


June 17: Company Valuation and Due Diligence

Presenter: Chelsea Eshraghi, director, Carolina Angel Network
Watch on-demand video

Meet the 1789 Mentor

When: June 10, June 24, July 8 and July 22
How:
Live Zoom meetings, on-demand video
Length:
1 hour

Overview: Did you know there are 15 entrepreneurship mentors at 1789 ready to talk with students about their ideas and how to make them work? Let Innovate Carolina personally introduce you to them. This team of local entrepreneurs, business and innovation pros, and startup pros usually hangs out at the 1789 Hub on Franklin Street. But, now they’re available to connect with you virtually – to introduce themselves and see how they can help you wherever you are. During each session, you’ll get to meet three 1789 mentors to understand what they do and how they can help. Then, leaders from Innovate Carolina and other UNC-Chapel Hill programs will open it up for Q&A between you, the mentors and other Carolina students who are interested in entrepreneurship.

Many of our mentors have their own personal experiencing founding companies or working for startups. Some are faculty members. Some are staff. Some are graduate students. All are available to you and ready to provide guidance on how to:

● Build prototypes

● Complete secondary market research

● Consider social impact

● Incorporate your venture

● Brand your organization

● Visualize data

● Raise funding

 

Who Should Attend/Watch: Any UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate or graduate student interested in working on an entrepreneurial idea or venture.

June 10

Meet these mentors:
● Melissa Carrier, UNC Office of Social Innovation director
● Jonathan Collins, restaurant, food and beverage consultant
● Nancy Lovas, UNC e-ship information consultant/librarian
Register now


June 24

Meet these mentors:
● Ethan Peikes, analyst at VC firm IDEA Fund Partners
● Collin McKinney, director of UNC CRiTCL Electronics Core Lab and Nano Device Characterization Lab
● Niki Shamdasani, founder and CEO of Sani, a South Asian-inspired fashion brand
Watch on-demand session


July 8

Meet these mentors:
● Trevor Scanlon, project coordinator for MetLife Complex Problems team
● Liz Chen, Innovate Carolina design thinking lead
● Arden Rosenblatt, business launch specialist at Small Business & Technology Development Center
Register now


July 22

Meet these mentors:
● Patrick Kastian, research analyst at Innovate Carolina
● Mirah Alix, UNC grad student with a passion for social enterprise and environmentally responsible business
● Kimi Yingling, student engagement and events manager at Innovate Carolina
Register now

For Faculty



Workshop: Designing Teams and Cultivating Creativity Virtually

When: Available June 2020
How:
On-demand video recordings
Length:
90 minutes

Overview: Team formation is done all the time, but how intentional are the teams you build or the teams that you are part of? This workshop will discuss how you can think differently about designing teams for specific outcomes, how you can get team members to invest early in the team project and outcome, and how you can facilitate an efficient and meaningful onboarding experience so that your team can gel faster. In addition, how do you assess and describe your current team culture now that we’re remote? How do you set expectations for the team virtually? And how do you acknowledge and embrace tension during meetings on Zoom? Join Liz Chen, assistant professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health and design thinking lead at Innovate Carolina, for this interactive workshop where you’ll explore the answers to these and other questions.

 

Who Should Watch/Attend: UNC-Chapel Hill faculty who are interested in practicing skills and methods that can help them accelerate innovation projects, explore inventive curricular methods, and launch new initiatives, nonprofits and startup ventures.



Workshop: Understanding Users Amidst Social Distancing: How to Empathize Before Problem Solving

When: Available June 2020
How:
On-demand video recordings
Length:
90 minutes

Overview: The first phase of IDEO.org’s human-centered design process is Inspiration. While many of us tend to start problem solving once problems or challenges are already defined, it is important for us to step back and engage with real people first. This direct engagement, now virtual, is important for us to better understand the wants and needs of the individuals we are trying to design for (e.g. patients, community members, end users) so we are confident that we are setting out to solve problems or challenges that align with real people’s lived experiences. Join us for this session to learn more about and experience a variety of inspiration methods that you can employ amidst social distancing. Liz Chen, assistant professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health and design thinking lead at Innovate Carolina, will lead this interactive workshop.

 

Who Should Attend/Watch: UNC-Chapel Hill faculty who are interested in practicing skills and methods that can help them accelerate innovation projects, explore inventive curricular methods, and launch new initiatives, nonprofits and startup ventures.



Workshop: The Art and Science of Brainstorming – How to Foster Convergent and Divergent Thinking

When: Available June 2020
How:
On-demand video recordings
Length:
90 minutes

Overview: The second phase of IDEO.org’s human-centered design process is Ideation. Many of us have taken part in “brainstorms” in the past. Think: how freely were you able to brainstorm in these past experiences? How often were truly out-of-the-box ideas generated? This session will provide actionable steps for facilitating better brainstorming sessions that will yield a wider range of ideas. In addition, we will also discuss ways teams can strategically choose ideas once they have been brainstormed. Divergent thinking (creating choices) is different from convergent thinking (making choices) and we provide methods to facilitate both sets of activities in your virtual teams.

Who Should Attend/Watch:
UNC-Chapel Hill faculty who are interested in practicing skills and methods that can help them accelerate innovation projects, explore inventive curricular methods, and launch new initiatives, nonprofits and startup ventures.



Workshop: Testing and Prototyping Your Ideas

When: Available June 2020
How:
On-demand video recordings
Length:
90 minutes

Overview: The third phase of IDEO.org’s human-centered design process is Implementation. In addition to finding solutions that are desirable, it is equally important that solutions are feasible and viable. That being said, we need to test and prototype different pieces and versions of solutions with real people to gather real-time feedback so we can adjust and strengthen our solutions. In a world where we are social distancing, we need to be a little more creative here. This session will put forth prototyping methods that UNC faculty can use to engage with end users (e.g. patients, community members) virtually. Liz Chen, assistant professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health and design thinking lead at Innovate Carolina, will lead this interactive workshop.

 

Who Should Attend/Watch:
UNC-Chapel Hill faculty who are interested in practicing skills and methods that can help them accelerate innovation projects, explore inventive curricular methods, and launch new initiatives, nonprofits and startup ventures.

For Startup Founders & Entrepreneurs



Workshop: NIH SBIR/STTR Proposal Development & Commercialization Strategy

When: Friday, May 29 (1 – 4:30 p.m.)
How:
Virtual Training Session
Length:
90 minutes

Overview: Innovate Carolina is sponsoring an NIH SBIR/STTR webcast hosted by the Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC), and we invite you to join us. All North Carolina-based researchers and small businesses are welcome to attend this highly acclaimed training course, now in its third year. Participants will have the opportunity to delve into the NIH SBIR/STTR proposal process and commercialization development strategy. This webcast event is free of charge and open to all North Carolina-based faculty and small businesses. Take advantage of this opportunity to strategize with SBIR/STTR experts and meet virtually with fellow faculty and small businesses who are commercializing their research. During this session, you’ll learn about:

● The NIH SBIR/STTR R&D funding mechanism
● Phase 1 and Phase 2 proposal development strategies
● Commercialization of your research
● Conflict-of-interest requirements at universities
● Spinning a company out of a university
● Post-award financial management
● Proposal reviews and scoring

Who Should Attend/Watch: North Carolina-based faculty entrepreneurs and startup companies interested in developing a proposal for a NIH SBIR/STTR grant



Workshop: Virtual Startup Coaching Services

When: Every other Wednesday starting May 20 at 4 p.m.
How:
Live Zoom meetings
Length:
1 hour

 

Overview: Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network was launched in the Triangle Region of North Carolina in 2011 with a gift from The Blackstone Charitable Foundation. The Network’s mission is to catalyze the regional development of the Triangle’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and thereby strengthen economic development in the area. Harnessing the talent of a regional pool of seasoned entrepreneurs, the Network created a tightly connected team of entrepreneurs-in-residence (EIRs) to support marketable innovations, created by area universities and regional startups, with the greatest potential to become high-growth companies.

Innovate Carolina is relaunching this service to form a virtual coaching team of EIRs. This group of highly experienced and successful EIRs work together to mentor local startup entrepreneurs – helping them achieve significant business milestones, build advisory boards, and make connections to a wider network of entrepreneurial experts and funders. The EIRs partner with student fellows, who are current master’s or doctoral students at UNC-Chapel Hill, to support participating startup companies in a variety of ways. These companies enjoy access to industry experts across many sectors, venture coaches, angel investors, and administrative and marketing support provided by the student fellows.

Who Should Attend: 

UNC-affiliated startup companies that seek business guidance and connections.

Format
Company presentations (15 min
Q&A (30 min)
EIR Updates (10 min)

Note: These sessions are not open to the public. However, if your startup is interested in learning more about this support service, please contact Sheryl Waddell.

  • 641-754-0072
  • innovate@unc.edu
  • 109 Church St.
    Chapel Hill, NC 27516

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