I&E Resources

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Launch Chapel Hill Startup Accelerator

Launch Chapel Hill is an international award-winning startup accelerator and co-working space located in downtown Chapel Hill that is managed by Innovate Carolina. It was created in 2013 through a partnership between UNC-Chapel Hill, the Town of Chapel Hill, Orange County and a private donor. If you are an entrepreneur who wants to build an early-stage, high-potential business into a self-sustaining enterprise, consider applying to join the program’s next cohort.


Ask an Innovator

If you’re working on an innovation, entrepreneurial project or a new venture, you’re bound to have questions — and lots of them.  Ask an Innovator is an online tool that makes quick and easy to get expert advice from a Carolina-connected community of experienced innovators and entrepreneurs. Simply send your questions online, and you’ll be paired with one or more experts who are ready to assist. It’s free and available for you to use whenever a question pops to mind.

I&E Courses

UNC-Chapel Hill offers more than 100 courses with content related to innovation and entrepreneurship. These courses are available in a variety of departments and professional schools across the University that build the entrepreneurial mindset and skillset through the study of many academic disciplines, including business, economics, computer science, biomedical engineering, education, public heath, social work, journalism and media, and more. Please check the UNC Course Catalogue for the latest listings of I&E courses.



With an open, flexible workspace conveniently located at 173 E. Franklin Street in the heart of downtown Chapel Hill, 1789 Venture Lab is the bridge between your on-campus entrepreneurial activity and the larger world. If you are a UNC-Chapel Hill student or alumnus who is interested in starting your own venture, you can receive special support, including access to relevant mentors, business coaches and essential services (legal, accounting, etc.). You can also take advantage of regular workshops, office hours and events.

Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship

If you’re an undergraduate Carolina student, the Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship provided by the College of Arts and Sciences is an excellent way to learn the skills of entrepreneurship and earn a minor, while allowing you to major in another discipline. The minor is designed to help you think like an entrepreneur and give you the skills to start your own venture. You’ll also participate in a required internship with an entrepreneurial venture.

KickStart Venture Services

KickStart Venture Services, which is part of the Office of Technology Commercialization at UNC-Chapel Hill, helps Carolina faculty form, develop and grow startup companies based on University intellectual property. If you are a faculty member working on an IP-based startup, the KickStart team can provide you with coaching, mentoring and early-stage funding. The team can also connect you with key service providers and offer guidance about issues related to company management, investors and space.

CUBE Social Innovation Incubator

CUBE is UNC-Chapel Hill’s social innovation incubator at the Campus Y where students and faculty tackle pressing social issues: food security, clean water, clean tech, STEM education, etc. If you have an idea for a social venture, you can apply to to join the CUBE program. If your venture is selected, you can receive seed funding, mentoring, co-working space, pro-bono support services, and the expert feedback from renowned social entrepreneurs you need to create a successful social enterprise.

Resources for Minority and Female Entrepreneurs

A wide variety of socially driven organizations and minority- and female-led ventures make a tremendous social and economic impact in communities across the region, state, country and globe. Innovate Carolina is here to support their work. Innovate Carolina has coordinated with entrepreneurial experts to publish a running list of resources available from organizations across the local region, state and country that support minority- and female-led startups and ventures.


ECON 125: Introduction to Entrepreneurship

ECON 125 was created in response to student demand and interest in entrepreneurship. Open to all undergraduate students, this follows a large, multidisciplinary format and will introduce you to entrepreneurship. You’ll explore theoretical frameworks and practical examples of what it means to think like an entrepreneur. You’ll also discover how such thinking can affect a variety of pressing societal challenges.

App Lab

Are you a student interested in learning web and mobile app development? Do you have a need for an app, or do you have any other questions about software? The App Lab in the Department of Computer Science is where UNC students can learn how to build web and mobile applications. Visit the lab and talk to our experienced faculty and staff who are ready to assist.

BeAM Makerspaces

UNC Be a Maker (BeAM) is a network of makerspaces where the UNC-Chapel Hill community comes together to design and make physical objects for education, research and entrepreneurship. You can participate in open studios, training sessions, workshops, hosted classes and group activities. Enjoy spaces equipped with emerging technologies like 3D printers, lasers and electronics as well as wood and metalworking shops.

Entrepreneurship Center

The UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School is committed to developing transformative entrepreneurial leaders as founders, funders and growth executives. To support that commitment, the Entrepreneurship Center offers a comprehensive array of curricular and co-curricular programs. Through a broad-spectrum entrepreneurship curriculum, the center offers you a collaborative, hands-on and results-driven learning environment designed to build an entrepreneurial mindset.

Kenan-Flagler Courses and the Concentration in Entrepreneurship

If you are an undergraduate or graduate business student, you can choose from numerous entrepreneurship-related business courses. Whether you want to start your own company, work for a startup, find an entrepreneurial opportunity within a larger company, or go into related areas like venture capital or social entrepreneurship, the emphasis in entrepreneurial studies is designed to give you the necessary skills to identify and pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.

Venture Catalyst Program

The Venture Catalyst Program allows UNC startups, serial entrepreneur coaches and talented graduate students to converge and collaborate. It includes two connected opportunities: Catalyst Coaching Sessions that connect UNC startup founders with serial entrepreneurs who provide expert advice, connections and mentorship via pitch-based coaching; and Venture Catalyst Fellows, who are Carolina MBA students, doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows engaged in experiential learning with startups.

UNC Reese Innovation Lab

The Reese Innovation Lab works to create and share novel and immersive storytelling experiences that engage audiences by leveraging new technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality with unique, research-based perspectives. Students and faculty use new technologies and human-centered design concept solve challenging problems for media companies. Projects are rooted in scientific and consumer/audience research and leverage collaborations with subject-matter experts across the university and many industries.

Workroom FashionMash

Workroom FashionMash is both a workspace for prototyping and building, as well as a way of thinking. Since 2009, the program has given advertising students in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Media and Journalism School the chance to work directly with fashion and lifestyle brands to envision new ideas. As a student, you’ll work with clients to move beyond the page or screen and bring concepts to life.

Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SIE) Lab

The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SIE) Lab at UNC School of Social Work supports students and faculty in exploring, designing, and implementing new ways of addressing complex social problems. SIE Lab has helped Master of Social Work students launch social venture startups and offers space for meetings and co-working within the School.

1789 Student Venture Fund

The 1789 Student Venture Fund provides financial support for UNC-Chapel Hill students to use to build commercial and social startups. Too often, the promising ideas that students have for building ventures are never given the opportunity to take off because they lack the early-stage funding needed for initial testing, development and growth. This fund provides you with the seed funding you need to ideate, create ventures and move startups from concept to reality.

Chapel Hill Analytical and Nanofabrication Laboratory (CHANL)

CHANL is a core facility that allows you to conduct cutting-edge research by providing equipment, expertise and training for nano/micro fabrication and characterization. It operates as a shared instrumentation laboratory open to UNC researchers from all departments as well as to researchers from other universities, government labs and industry. CHANL can train you to use instruments independently as well as perform fabrication and characterization services for you.

Dreamers-Who-Do Award

The Dreamers-Who-Do Award helps UNC students advance their ideas and turn novel concepts into concrete solutions. This award provides students with financial support for projects, programs and initiatives that help them learn what it means to be innovators and entrepreneurs. As an award recipient, you’ll put entrepreneurial insights into practice. Activities may involve on-campus programs or travel to off-campus competitions, conferences and events that help you develop an innovative mindset.

Center for Health Innovation

The UNC Center for Health Innovation operated by the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Health Care is a space to experiment with the creative disruption of health care delivery. It supports moving great ideas toward implementation, provides a forum for public-private partnerships, and serves as a learning laboratory where internal and external partners can test their visions for a healthier future. Are you innovative person or part of an organization that wants to help transform the national health care delivery system? If so, the Center team invites you to collaborate.

KickStart Awards Program

The KickStart Awards Program provides funding of up to $50,000 to UNC-Chapel Hill startups that are founded on University intellectual property. The awards help early-stage companies meet commercial milestones either on the technical side (prototype development, animal studies) or on the business side (regulatory pathway, freedom to operate). If you are a faculty founder who would like to be considered, you may participate in the quarterly request-for-applications process.
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Faculty Innovation Workshop

This workshop helps faculty strengthen the skills used by successful innovators. Using design-thinking and lean startup methodologies, the workshop builds and strengthens skills in ideation, problem-solving, team building, and entrepreneurial practices that can help faculty take an idea through to successful implementation and impact. As a participant, you are guided by design and entrepreneurship educators who encourage and support thinking and working in nimble ways.
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Technology Development Grants

The UNC Office of Technology Commercialization offers technology development grants to help faculty and researchers develop unlicensed UNC technologies and move them to commercially relevant endpoints. Successful projects create technologies that are prepared for commercial engagement and, preferably, licensing. To be eligible for consideration, your technology must be one that you can patent or license as copyright or tangible property. Most grants range from $5,000 to $25,000, and your grant will be based on your technology and proposal.

Certificate in Entrepreneurship

Are you a professional who wants to learn how to start your own business or expand a startup? Or maybe your organization participates in the UNC Executive Development program and wants to send its executives through business courses to help them develop skills faster than they can in a degree program? The Certificate in Entrepreneurship program at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School will teach you how to apply core entrepreneurial principles to your own business plans, including new venture discovery, digital marketing, corporate strategy and sales.
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Startup UNC

Startup UNC (formerly Launch the Venture) is a new ventures course designed to help students, faculty, staff and alumni take a business idea or scientific innovation to market. The course starts by assessing the nascent ideas and technologies from the perspective of customer need, product-market fit, competition and value proposition. Using a lean startup approach, teams get to a go/no-go decision and may then develop a strategic roadmap and financial plans for launching the business.

Research, Innovation and Global Solutions for Public Health

Research, Innovation and Global Solutions empowers faculty members, students and staff at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health to solve local and global health problems through research, innovation and practice. It provides guidance and support in the areas of research, innovation and entrepreneurship, and global health. It also manages and provides support for several Gillings programs and initiatives, including programs funded by the Gillings gift.

Patent Landscape and Market Research Service

Wondering if you’ve got the next great invention? Is it really novel? Who would buy it as a product or a service? What funding opportunities exist that may help get your invention from lab to market? The Patent Landscaping and Market Research Service is available to current UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, staff, and students at no cost, and to organizations outside the University for a fee. This service helps you assess your technology, the marketplace and potential investment funding.

Carolina Research Ventures

To ensure that startups and other University-sourced companies have the opportunity to fully develop and deploy technology generated at Carolina, UNC-Chapel Hill launched Carolina Research Ventures (CRV). CRV has created an early-stage investment fund (the Fund or CRVIF) to provide critical discovery and development capital. The goal of the CRVIF is to unlock the potential of UNC-Chapel Hill technologies and advance the commercialization of these technologies by providing early-stage capital and industry expertise, as well as ongoing capital and support. If you are a full- or part-time UNC-Chapel Hill employee (faculty, trainees or staff), you are eligible to apply. You must be seeking to develop or commercialize a technology or invention created at the University or through the use of University resources.


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Carolina Angel Network

The Carolina Angel Network (CAN) is the only official angel investor network for startups and ventures associated with UNC-Chapel Hill. CAN brings together the UNC-Chapel Hill entrepreneurial community, University alumni network and innovative private companies to help fill the early-stage funding gap and empower the businesses that drive our future. As a CAN investor, you will have visibility into the best UNC startup deals. Or, if you are an entrepreneur affiliated with Carolina and are building a high-growth company, please explore how you might apply to be part of the network.

E(I) Lab

The E(I) Lab is a six-month experiential program that brings together graduate students, professional students and postdocs from diverse disciplines across UNC to conceive, develop and test innovative solutions to unmet needs in health care. Teams will be given generous financial support to develop the necessary prototypes, be inventors on patents, and be trained in various aspects of entrepreneurship and innovation. The top teams receive monetary prizes in addition to potential seed investments.

Eshelman Institute for Innovation

The Eshelman Institute for Innovation accelerates the creation and development of ideas that lead to discoveries and transformative changes in education, research and health care. Through strategic collaborations inside and outside of UNC-Chapel Hill, the institute creates jobs and spurs economic development in North Carolina and beyond. Whether you are a UNC faculty member, student or part of the staff, the institute can provide you with resources to engage in timely, opportunistic, creative, risky and innovative work that advances the mission of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

ACC inVenture Prize at UNC

Before the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) inVenture Prize Finals each year, UNC-Chapel Hill selects the best team to represent the University at the ACC InVenture Prize regional conference. If you’re chosen to represent Carolina and participate in the two rounds of competition, judges will evaluate your team on its quality of idea, business model, entrepreneurship and probability of success.

Robert E. Bryan Fellowship

The Robert E. Bryan Fellowship is designed for aspiring social change-makers who are interested in providing a significant contribution locally, nationally or internationally by creating an entrepreneurial project that addresses a community issue or need. As a fellowship recipient, you will enroll in a one-credit service-learning course in the UNC Department of Public Policy.

UNC School of Law Institute for Innovation

Located on Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill, the UNC School of Law Institute for Innovation provides early stage legal counsel to new for-profit and nonprofit ventures. Made possible by a generous gift from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust and support from the North Carolina General Assembly, the Institute serves business and social enterprise entrepreneurs on the campuses of UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, in partnership with UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and NC State University’s Poole College of Management, as well as the innovation and entrepreneurship infrastructures on both campuses.

Gillings Innovation Labs

The Gillings Innovation Labs focus on achieving fundamental breakthroughs in public health. If you’re a faculty member who has a primary appointment in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, you are eligible to apply for one of the annual awards offered by the program. The award will allow you to engage in cutting-edge research, translate interventions to high-impact settings, and develop novel technologies or methodologies that improve public health, locally and globally. As a principal investigator (PI), you are encouraged to involve Gillings or other UNC-Chapel Hill students in your project. Your proposal may also include a co-PI from another department or school at Carolina.
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Carolina Center for Public Service

The Carolina Center for Public Service connects the energy and expertise of both the University and the community to provide students, faculty and staff with deep and transformative experiences, while meeting the needs of North Carolina and beyond. The Center strengthens the University’s public service commitment by promoting scholarship and service that are responsive to the concerns of the state and contribute to the common good. If you’re interested in getting involved, you can participate in a variety of engaged scholarship and service programs offered by the Center that allow you to collaborate with others and find interdisciplinary solutions to local and global challenges.
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Kenan Science Library Workrooms

The Kenan Science Library has workroom spaces available for you to reserve: two co-working spaces, a “huddle” brainstorming space and four group rooms. The science librarians have offices in this library and are available for consultations, instruction, and customized services for the departments with which they work. If you are a UNC-Chapel Hill researcher in the sciences, they are also available to work with you to develop strategies for preserving and accessing research data.

Health Innovation Pilot Awards

The Center for Health Innovation administers multiple opportunities for pilot award funding, including collaborations with other UNC departments and programs to further UNC Health and UNC School of Medicine’s commitment to innovation.

Shuford Program Funding Opportunities

The Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship supports students through funding in various ways. Once accepted to the program, you can apply for funding for the following purposes: internships, student-led ventures, startups, study-away experiences and professional development. Available funding support has helped students accept internships in New York City, travel with the program to Shanghai, and receive patents for products.


Computer Science Entrepreneurs’ Lounge

The Timothy L. Quigg Entrepreneurs’ Lounge is a quiet place where budding computer Science entrepreneurs can meet with colleagues from other disciplines. Organizations like the Computer Science Entrepreneurs Club hold events in the space, and technology transfer staff use it to meet with potential licensees for computer science patents and copyrights. It’s also a great place for computer science startup companies to meet, plan and organize. If you’re a member of the computer science faculty, a graduate or undergraduate student, or a staff member, take advantage of this lounge as a place to read, think and create.

Davis Projects for Peace Award

The Davis Projects for Peace Award is open to all undergraduates at the 76 institutions (including UNC-Chapel Hill) that are part of the Davis United World College Scholars Program. The program is made possible by the late Kathryn Wasserman Davis, an accomplished internationalist and philanthropist, who celebrated her 100th birthday in 2007 by committing $1 million for 100 projects for peace. As a student participant, you are invited to design a grassroots project that you implement during the summer. Davis Projects for Peace selects 100 projects judged to be the most promising and feasible, and then the program funds the projects at $10,000 each.

Community Engagement Fellowship

The Community Engagement Fellowship awards a maximum of five fellowships of up to $2,000 each year. These awards help graduate students develop and implement engagement or engaged-scholarship projects that involve innovative, sustainable approaches to complex social needs and that have an academic connection. The fellowships run from March to October, and fellows primarily work during the summer to implement their projects.

Innovation Showcase

The annual Innovation Showcase at UNC-Chapel Hill is hosted by Innovate Carolina under the Vice Chancellor’s Office for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. This is your chance to connect with other enterprising researchers and business enthusiasts – including UNC faculty and students – whose work is poised to make a significant economic impact in North Carolina and beyond. You’ll get to meet and learn from the most inventive minds at Carolina as they share their latest innovations with the entrepreneurial and investment community. Hear their pitches, see their demos, and have in-depth conversations to understand the inspiration behind their ideas.

Development Finance Initiative

The Development Finance Initiative (DFI) at the UNC School of Government partners with local governments in North Carolina to attract private investment for transformative projects by providing specialized finance and development expertise. If you work in local government, you can collaborate with DFI on a variety of projects that require private investment and will benefit your community: building reuse, community development, downtown revitalization, economic development, neighborhood redevelopment and small business finance.

C. Felix Harvey Award

The Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost encourages faculty to submit proposals for the C. Felix Harvey Award to Advance Institutional Priorities: Applied Innovation of Humanities and Social Sciences Scholarly Expertise. The award recognizes exemplary faculty scholarship that reflects UNC-Chapel Hill’s commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation via the successful implementation of a novel, valuable idea. If you are a full- or part-time faculty member (excluding adjuncts) at Carolina and have a proposed project that applies humanities and/or social sciences methods or approaches to directly and positively impact constituencies outside the University, you are eligible to apply. One award of $75,000 will be given to support a project of up to 15 months.

Kenan-Biddle Grants

The Kenan Biddle Partnership, funded by the William R. Kenan Charitable Trust and the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, was initiated in 2009 to foster collaboration between students at Duke and UNC. Starting in 2017, the revitalized partnership will annually award $55,000 to projects led by student at both universities. Applicants are invited to propose an innovative initiative that addresses a social or environmental need within the campus communities, Triangle, or beyond.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellowship at Eshelman Institute for Innovation

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellowship was created as a two-year post-doctoral training program based in the Office of Entrepreneurial Development at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. As a fellow, you gain experience assisting with the identification, protection and commercialization of intellectual property, while helping to educate and train faculty, students and postdoctoral fellows. You’ll also support faculty inventors and pharmacy-founded startup companies, collaborate with on- and off-campus entities involved in innovation and entrepreneurial development, and provide oversight of the Eshelman Institute for Innovation MicroIncubator, including facility use agreements.

Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars

The Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program brings together selected faculty from across campus to engage in a two-year experiential, competency-based curriculum designed to advance their engaged scholarship. As a scholar in this program, you will participate in sessions in community settings to learn from other Carolina faculty and your community partners. While developing individual projects, your class of scholars will form a learning community along with the faculty and community course directors to support one another’s projects and community partners.

Carolina THINK

Carolina THINK is a student organization that serves as the entrepreneurship club for undergraduate students. The organization raises awareness and interest in the entrepreneurial field and helps students discover entrepreneurship as a discipline that expands beyond the confines of conventional business. Carolina THINK shows students that everyone has the potential of becoming an entrepreneur. Besides hosting a wide range of events to help students develop the connections and skills they need to succeed as entrepreneurs, the organization helps students by pointing them towards available resources on campus to ensure that everyone has a smooth entrepreneurial journey without feeling lost.

Adams Apprenticeship

UNC-Chapel Hill is committed to developing transformative entrepreneurial leaders. To support that mission, the Adams Apprenticeship program matches high-achieving students with successful UNC alumni to shape, support and speed the transition to entrepreneurial careers with successful outcomes. As a fellowship recipient, you can gain lifelong access to one of the top entrepreneur networks in the world, enroll in the entrepreneurs lab course (including co-curricular sessions) and attend networking events to establish meaningful relationships. You’ll also build a personal board of advisors, develop a customized leadership development plan and attend entrepreneurship trips covered by the program.

NC TraCS Institute

The North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute, the integrated home of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program at UNC, is supported through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Consortium members share a common vision to reduce the time it takes for laboratory discoveries to become treatments for patients, and to engage communities in clinical research efforts. If you are a principal investigator working in clinical and translational science, you can benefit from working with faculty and staff experts across NC TraCS who can provide you with with targeted, comprehensive and interdisciplinary solutions related to your area of focus. These include a no-cost, personalized mentoring program that offers you highly specialized expertise in translational research.

Carolina Creates

Carolina Creates is UNC’s Incubator for Student Creativity. The mission of the student organization is to foster innovative creation on campus by providing the resources needed to make ideas happen. Examples of successfully incubated projects include campus organizations like TEDxUNC and Should Does. Carolina Creates is sponsored by Innovate Carolina and UNC Student Affairs.

Carolina Union Communications and Creative Services

Carolina Union Communications and Creative Services helps UNC-Chapel Hill students, faculty and staff create targeted communications about their organizations. If you’d like to market your department or group, you can collaborate with Design Services on print and web/interactive design projects. By taking advantage of print and digital channels, your group can attract more members, advertise your mission or purpose, direct people through physical space, or promote an event, contest or survey.

Watson University Incubator

Watson University is the first incubator leading to a degree for the world’s next generation of change-makers and social entrepreneurs. As a student in the program, you may go through the semester incubator or the bachelor’s degree track. The Watson University incubator also offers you master courses taught by leading mentors, practitioners and entrepreneurs as well as training in social entrepreneurship and personal development. Additionally, you can apply to Watson’s semester program to incubate your idea before (gap year), during or immediately after your undergraduate studies.

Audacity Factory

Audacity Factory is an accelerator and collaborative located in Raleigh that is focused on ending modern-day slavery. If you are a social innovators with ideas toward this cause and are accepted into the accelerator, you’ll be connected to mentors, advisors and a network as they work on audacious movements to fight modern slavery worldwide. You will focus on measurable impact, scalability and sustainability, while using technology and digital marketing best practices to engage millions.

Acumen Global Fellowship

The Acumen Global Fellowship is a 12-month program that trains the next generation of social impact leaders. The fellowship offers you the chance to gain world-class leadership training and serve in the field with a social enterprise. To be eligible for the fellowship, you need to have a minimum of four years of work experience.

Fulbright Fellowship

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the US government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 8,000 grants annually. Roughly 1,600 U.S. students, 4,000 foreign students, 1,200 U.S. scholars, and 900 visiting scholars receive awards, in addition to several hundred teachers and professionals. If you have a strong academic background, leadership potential, a passion for increasing mutual understanding among nations and cultures, and the adaptability and flexibility to pursue your proposed Fulbright project successfully, you may consider applying for the program. There are opportunities for you to apply the Fulbright Fellowship to an entrepreneurship initiative.

Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowship

The Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowship supports visionary leaders by giving them boundless space to turn an inspired idea in the field of social justice into a world-changing reality. The fellowship awards three individuals up to $150,000 each to pursue an innovative project that seeks to address a challenge related to climate change or inequality – or within the intersection of these two major issues. To be eligible for the fellowship, you must be a US citizen whose project is focused on work within the United States.

Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship

The Skoll Foundation presents the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship each year to a select group of social entrepreneurs whose innovations have already had significant, proven impact on some of the world’s most pressing problems, and invests directly in the promise of even greater impact at scale. Each Awardee receives a $1.25 million, three-year core support investment to scale their work and increase their impact. Awardees are selected with a focus on one or more of the following issues: Environmental Sustainability, Education, Economic Opportunity, Health, Peace and Human Rights, and Sustainable Markets.

Carolina Challenge Pitch Party

Established in 2005, the Carolina Challenge Pitch Party has become one of the most dynamic and exciting hallmarks of the UNC-Chapel Hill entrepreneurship ecosystem. As the University’s flagship venture competition, the Carolina Challenge is run by a student committee and gives you and other competitors the chance to win seed funding for your early-stage ideas. The Pitch Party is a valuable opportunity to gain experience with entrepreneurship through experiential learning and a comprehensive program that’s open to all Carolina undergraduate students.

Hult Prize at UNC

The Hult Prize at UNC is a one-day pitch competition that serves as the qualifying round for the Hult Prize Foundation international challenge, which is a global startup competition with a grand prize of $1 million in seed money to fund the winning social enterprise idea. If you’re a student (graduate or undergraduate) or recent alumni, you’re welcome to participate. You’ll work with a team to form an idea and business plan with support from the Hult Prize at UNC team before pitching. In order to compete, all you need is an idea. No prior experience is necessary.

VCIC (Venture Capital Investment Competition)

The Venture Capital Investment Competition® began in the middle of the technology bubble in 1998 as an educational event for MBAs to learn about venture funding. Now, nearly 20 years later, VCIC® has evolved into a marketplace for entrepreneurs seeking investors and a training ground for future venture capitalists. Each year, VCIC includes 50 events on three continents, and serves 1,200 MBA students, 175 venture capitalists and 125 entrepreneurs. If you’re an MBA student interested in gaining experience with venture funding, it’s an outstanding program that operates like a network of mini-venture fairs. You’ll join a group of presenting entrepreneurs, about a quarter of which go on to raise venture funding.

Invest for Impact Competition

UNC developed the Invest for Impact competition to give students exposure to the field of impact investing. As this is a relatively new field, industry practices are changing rapidly as investors find new ways to measure impact, and develop new investment mechanisms that are more appropriate for impact focused companies. Invest for Impact is designed to focus on 3 key issues: assessing impact, financing impact, and measuring impact.

Infy Makers

Share your innovative thinking and making skills to solve important problems facing your community and our world. Participate in the Infy Makers Awards Contest and address major challenges in education, health, environmental sustainability and hunger. You could be one of 25 makers to receive $10,000 to help you take your innovation to the next level.

Tiger Launch

TigerLaunch is the nation’s largest student-run, inter-collegiate entrepreneurship competition. In addition to connecting you to mentors and offering you at least $30,000 in prize money, TigerLaunch also gives you the chance to meet with some of the top venture capital firms in the country, such as Sequoia Capital. That kind of opportunity can prove even more valuable than any monetary prize.

NC IDEA Seed Grant

Twice a year, NC IDEA provides seed grants of up to $50,000 to startup companies based in North Carolina. If your startup receives one of these grants, you can use the funds to support business activities that validate potential markets, reduce risk of early failure and advance projects to the point of self-sustainability, at which time they are suitable for private equity investment. If you have technology-based business with the potential to become a high-growth company, you may be eligible to apply for an NC IDEA seed grant. Additionally, you may also be able to take advantage of the NC IDEA Ecosystem Partner Grant of up to $250,000, which is available to both nonprofit and for-profit organizations in North Carolina with new or existing initiatives and innovative ideas.

Forbes 30 Under 30

Each year, Forbes welcomes nominations for the world’s greatest roll call of young entrepreneurs and game-changers. Tell Forbes who should appear on the annual 30 Under 30 list by submitting nominations. Once you apply, Forbes will evaluate your application based on a set of metrics, such as funding, revenue and the number of people you’ve reached. It also considers other qualities, including your inventiveness and the social value you’ve provided.

The Stevie Awards

The Stevie Awards are the world’s premier business awards. They were created in 2002 to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals worldwide. The Stevie Awards include multiple award categories, including the American Business Awards, the International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, and the Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service. As an award entrant, you will have access to the comments about your nomination made by the panel of judges, who include many of the world’s most respected executives, entrepreneurs, innovators, and business educators.

Entrepreneur 360 Awards

Entrepreneur.com looks for the best privately-owned businesses founded by entrepreneurs in the US. These awards celebrate the grit, passion and success of top entrepreneurs in front of the world. To be eligible, your business must be a privately owned, US-based company and cannot be a franchisee or franchisor. In addition, one of the original founders must still be involved in the day-to-day operations of your business. These awards provide you recognition as a thought leader in the entrepreneurial community and offer you exclusive networking opportunities and media coverage.

Youth Business International: Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

The Young Entrepreneur Awards, hosted by Youth Business International in partnership with Barclays, demonstrate the contributions that young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 to 35 can make around the world. As a young entrepreneur and winner of the award, you’ll be paired by Youth Business International with an experienced volunteer business mentor who is on hand to guide you through the challenging early stages of establishing a business.

Strowd Roses Awards

The Strowd Roses awards are grants to qualified nonprofit organizations based in Chapel Hill or Carrboro or organizations devoted primarily to benefiting those communities. The Strowd Roses foundation awards an average of 55 grants per year totaling $260,000. As a grant recipient your organization may, at the board’s discretion, use the funds for operating support, as well as capital expenditures, seed money and matching grants. As an individual recipient, you may use the grant for a scholarship or fellowship; to produce a report or similar product; or to improve or enhance a literary, artistic, musical, scientific, teaching or similar capacity, skill or talent, which you will use to benefit the life of the Chapel Hill or Carrboro communities.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Awards

Each year, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce unveils the recipients of 10 Business of the Year award categories and a dozen People’s Choice categories. The Business of the Year Awards include these categories: university-born business, new business, micro-enterprise, Chapel Hill Young Professionals Under 40, midsize business, business woman of the year, large business, community impact, nonprofit, and innovation. In addition, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce unveils additional community service, citizen, and partnership awards to the community. As a winner, you’ll be invited to a red carpet ceremony complete with a cocktail reception, awards ceremony, entertainment and after party.

Triangle Business Journal Awards

Each year, the Triangle Business Journal unveils multiple innovation, business and leadership awards. These awards are given based on nominations from local companies and individuals as well as submissions from third-party committees made up of local industry leaders. The awards include the Fast 50 Awards, the 40 Under 40 Leadership Awards, the Life Sciences Awards, the Leaders in Diversity Awards, the Health Care Heroes Awards, the CIO Awards, and the Women in Business Awards. Once you submit your award application, a panel of judges will review it among the pool of nominees and vet and score each one, ultimately selecting a winner for each category.

Do Something Awards

Since 1996, DoSomething.org has honored the nation’s best young change-makers, ages 25 and under. Do Something Award finalists have made a significant difference in furthering their causes. If you are chosen as one of the five finalists, you will receive a $10,000 grant to continue your work. You will also benefit from media coverage and the support of the team at DoSomething.org. If named the grand prize winner, you will be awarded a $100,000 grant to take your initiative to the next level.

Camelback Ventures Fellowship

The Camelback Ventures Fellowship offers funding and support to new leaders with promising ideas, empowering them to enact change within their communities. As an entrepreneur and fellow participating in the six-month program, you receive coaching, capital and connections. You also benefit from dedicated one-on-one coaching related to strategy, accountability and support. The fellowship can also provide you with specialized coaching in key areas (such as budget management and pitch deck design), along with peer mentorship within your purposefully chosen cohort. As a fellow, you’ll receive an investment of up to $40,000 in your venture (capital) and have the chance to engage in in-person summits to develop technical skills, as well as to deepen your relationships with tech talent, investors and other partners.

Impact Assets

Impact Assets 50 is a resource guide showcasing all of the impact investment fund managers. When using it, you can filter search results by sector including: clean technology, education, fair trade, global health, health and wellness, housing and community development, media, technology, and mobile, microfinance and financial services, natural resources and conservation, sustainable agriculture, small and medium business development, and water and sanitation. Assets of these fund managers range from less than $10 million to more than $250 million.

River Cities Capital Funds

River Cities Capital Funds is one of the most active and experienced growth equity funds in health care and information technology. With nearly $500 million under management and more than 100 investments made, River Cities has established itself as a preferred partner among the entrepreneurial and private equity communities. It targets companies generating more than $5 million in revenue and provides an initial investment of $5 million to $15 million. If you are a progressive and proven leader with a company that has a disruptive solution in a large, established market, Rivers Cities may be an outstanding partner for you to contact.

Rex Health Ventures

Rex Health Ventures (RHV) supports the discovery and development of new treatments, tools, products and services that foster innovation and positively impact the provision of health care. RHV invests in and partners with companies and entrepreneurs to help bring their products and services to the health care marketplace. If you have an early-stage idea or a mid-stage company, consider contacting RHV to discover the opportunities that may be available for your organization.

Pappas Ventures

Pappas Ventures is a Durham-based venture capital firm that invests exclusively in the life sciences industry – biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, drug delivery, medical devices and related ventures. It evaluates more than 700 investment opportunities in a typical year. With longstanding relationships throughout the industry, it can help you find talent for your team. Its in-depth knowledge of the drug development process also enables its management teams to provide you with insightful guidance and help you craft effective clinical and regulatory strategies. Working with Pappas Ventures also allows you to tap into its extensive professional network, which can further advance your company.

Intersouth Partners

Based in Durham, Intersouth Partners seeks a broad range of investment opportunities in the technology and life science sectors. Intersouth manages $780 million in seven venture capital limited partnerships, making it the largest venture capital fund in North Carolina and one of the largest in the Southeast. It invests in seed and early-stage companies that have the potential to become market leaders by creating breakthrough technologies in their respective sectors. Its strong preference is to participate in the first institutional round of a company with an initial investment between $500,000 and $6 million and with an average total investment in a single company of $12 million.

IDEA Fund Partners

Based in Durham, IDEA Fund Partners is one of the most active seed and early-stage venture investors in North Carolina and throughout the Southeast. It typically provides the first institutional money for the companies in which it invests. IDEA Fund Partners likes to make small initial investments and set aside plenty of follow-on capital for future rounds. It has invested as little as $100,000 and as much as $750,000 in a round, and can invest up to $1.5 million over the life of a company. IDEA Fund Partners looks for several investment criteria: You must demonstrate great management, and your company should have the potential to become a leader in the field through the application of unique and defensible technologies and business models. In addition, it will look for you to have a technology that’s disruptive to existing markets or that can enable an entirely new one.

Hatteras Venture Partners

Based in Durham, Hatteras Venture Partners is a venture capital firm formed to invest primarily in early-stage companies (typically in the Research Triangle Park area) with a focus on biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics, health care IT and related opportunities in human medicine. If you have a new biomedical company, your organization can benefit from working with the firm’s experienced team, which has a broad and complementary skill set that is particularly relevant to building successful companies in the life sciences sector. The Hatteras team can bring your company operational experience, a successful track record, and a proven ability to enhance the value businesses with which it works.

Golden Pine Ventures

Golden Pine Ventures is a venture capital company that seeks out biotechnology and biomedical opportunities developed by leading researchers and grows them into valuable businesses. It is focused on opportunities in the Research Triangle Park region that have the potential to yield a substantial return within a three to five-year period. As it evaluates your company as an investment opportunity, the management of Golden Pine Ventures will look for you to meet the following criteria: technical feasibility, favorable market prospects, multiple unique products or services, strong intellectual property and the active participation your scientific champion.

Excelerate Health Ventures

Based in the Research Triangle Park area, Excelerate Health Ventures invests in groundbreaking companies that change the way health care works. Its unique advantage includes its ability to assemble and apply the domain expertise and contacts of its network of providers, payers, and strategic partners to select, validate, mentor and grow its portfolio companies. Excelerate Health Ventures typically invests in early-stage companies that are raising their seed or first institutional round. If you have a pre-seed or seed-stage startups, it can provide you with consulting and advising services regarding new venture creation, help prepare your company for angel and/or venture funding, and assist you with a go-to market strategy. Your company may benefit from a variety of the firm’s services: mentoring, networking, business planning, marketing, event planning, branding, sales channel development, organizational planning and recruitment.

Cato Bioventures

Cato Bioventures invests in innovative therapeutics, medical devices and stem cell technologies that improve pharma’s research and development productivity. Drug development, including pre-clinical studies, clinical studies, manufacturing, and regulatory affairs, have been the core components of the Cato Research business model for more than 30 years. Cato BioVentures focuses on early- to mid-stage investment opportunities in private companies and undervalued public companies. It seeks to invest in companies with a reasonable business model built on innovative drug candidates or technologies supported by a strong intellectual property position and a solid pathway to commercialization. To introduce your company to Cato BioVentures, you will need to send the firm an executive summary (1 to 5 pages), roadshow (corporate presentation) and business plan, if available.

Piedmont Angel Network

The Piedmont Angel Network (PAN) is a committed capital angel fund that focuses on investment opportunities in early-stage companies that present high-growth opportunities. Since 2002, PAN has invested in numerous companies, focusing primary on the life science, technology, software and advanced materials fields. While the fund prefers to invest in companies from the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, PAN has made investments across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The first investment from the fund is between $250,000 and $350,000, with possible add-ons from individual PAN members or other investors. To introduce your company to PAN, you will first submit an executive summary to the fund executive. If your plan has potential for funding, the fund executive will request a full business plan from you to see that your plan is complete.

Triangle Angel Partners

Triangle Angel Partners (TAP) is an experienced group of angel investors who invest their time, analysis and money into early life cycle companies in the high-tech and life sciences industries. TAP members, who are executives, PhDs, successful entrepreneurs and professional investors, can give your company more than just capital; they can also provide you with counseling, mentoring and access to an extensive network of potential investors, customers, strategic partners and management talent. TAP is also unique because it shares deal flow with other venture capital affiliates throughout North Carolina, southern Virginia and northern South Carolina.

Investors’ Circle

Investors’ Circle (IC) is the largest and most active early-stage impact investing network. Together with hundreds of angels, venture capitalists, foundations and family offices, IC has propelled over $200 million into more than 300 enterprises dedicated to improving the environment, education, health and community. If your company chooses to apply, IC will screen your application and make it available to its member network. If your company is located in one of IC’s local network network regions (CO, DC, MA, NC, NY, or PA), or you have a presence/specific connection to a local network region, you will be considered for upcoming pitch meetings.

SJF Ventures

With an office based in Durham, SJF Ventures’ experienced venture capital investors have been at the forefront of impact investing since 1999. SJF invests in high-growth companies that create a healthier, smarter and cleaner future. It is looking for companies with proven customer validation and typically more than $1 million in annualized revenue. It normally invests $1 million to $10 million during the period in which it is involved with a company. Beyond the capital SJF can provide your business, its principals draw from a wealth of sector expertise, personal networks and investment experience to help your company develop growth strategies, recruit talent, obtain future capital, execute company acquisitions and navigate other business dynamics.

HUSTLE Winston-Salem

HUSTLE Winston-Salem exists to facilitate and promote a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem by working with both entrepreneurs and community stakeholders. It focuses on and advocate for those that are most at-risk for systematic exclusion or marginalization in the local innovation economy: People of Color, including but not limited to, Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latinx, Asians, Native Americans, and immigrants; women of all races, ages, classes, backgrounds, and education levels; marginalized neighborhoods for whom entrepreneurial development can serve as a catalyst for needed economic growth or that at risk for gentrification.


Around half of all new startups fail in the first 12 months. NC IDEA LABS helps founders make better decisions faster, and take the proper steps to avoid mistakes frequently made by new entrepreneurs. Essentially, it helps reduce risk. NC IDEA LABS looks a lot like a technology accelerator – it allows you to participate in a mentor-driven, selective, 12-week program. The difference is that it does not make an investment, and you do not have to give up equity in your company. You can take advantage of the program at no cost.


Techstars is more than a three-month mentorship-driven accelerator program. It makes entrepreneurship accessible by opening doors to capital, mentorship, marketing, business development, customer acquisition and talent recruitment. The program’s global ecosystem of founders, mentors, investors and corporate partners work together to create a network of support that lasts throughout your entrepreneurial journey. Once your company is accepted in the program, you will automatically be offered a $100,000 convertible note, $20,000 in exchange for 6 percent common stock with an equity-back guarantee, and 400 perks worth over $1 million. You can also connect with founders, mentors and investors at local alumni events, the program’s annual founder celebration and at other meetings.

Y Combinator

Twice a year, Y Combinator invests a small amount of money ($120,000) in a large number of startups (approximately 100). If your startup is selected for the program, you will move to Silicon Valley for three months, and Y Combinator will work intensively with you to get your company into the best possible shape and refine its pitch to investors. Each cycle culminates in Demo Day, when your startup will present to a carefully selected, invite-only audience.

ThinkImpact Fellowship

ThinkImpact connects college students and recent graduates in the US with partners in Rwanda, Panama, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana to work on social entrepreneurship through ThinkImpact’s Global Development Internships and Fellowships. ThinkImpact operates in-country year-round and runs institutes anywhere from seven days to eight weeks. With ThinkImpact, you become trained in design thinking, social entrepreneurship and fieldwork, while starting or contributing to a real enterprise that can generate incomes, promote health, reduce hunger, empower community engagement or provide education.

Leadership exCHANGE Fellowship

Leadership exCHANGE seeks to empower the next generation of change agents. Join students from more than 80 different countries who have participated in its various fellowship programs that run throughout the year in Prague and Raleigh. You can benefit from a variety of study abroad programs, including academic courses, workshops, leadership training, community service and cultural activities. By living and learning alongside young people from around the world, you will have the opportunity learn about country where you are studying as well as a wide range of cultures. Studying in this environment gives you the chance to learn the true meaning of global citizenship.

Kairos Society Fellowship

Kairos North Carolina is dedicated to promoting an entrepreneurial spirit among university students in North Carolina. To become a member of the Kairos Society, you must receive an invitation and a formal recommendation from one of the organization’s many advisers or partners. To be eligible, you need to be an entrepreneur, scientist, engineer or designer under age 25. When nominated as a prospective fellow, you are invited to submit an application for review. Once accepted as a fellow, you are given a unique membership number and credentials to the organization’s private social service. You also receive access to regional Kairos events and the organization’s international summits in New York City and Den Haag.

University Innovation Fellows

The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become leaders of change in higher education. Fellows are creating student innovation spaces, founding entrepreneurship organizations, hosting experiential events, and working with faculty and administrators to develop courses. They range from undergraduates to PhD students and study a wide variety of disciplines. By becoming a part of this program, you serve as an advocate for lasting institutional change with academic leaders and represent UNC-Chapel Hill at national events.  As a fellow, you may choose to work independently at Carolina while collaborating with faculty and peers, or you may opt to work as part of an on-campus team of up to four fellows called a “Leadership Circle.”

Ashoka Fellowship

Ashoka pioneered the field of social entrepreneurship more than 35 years ago, and today it engages the world’s largest and most powerful network of social entrepreneurs by searching for and selecting Ashoka Fellows. As a fellow, you receive a tailored stipend for up to three years, if needed, to dedicate yourself full time to the advancement of your idea. You also benefit from customized engagement opportunities that accelerate the impact of your idea, increased visibility, and the ability to connect with a global community of peers.

Echoing Green Fellowship

As an Echoing Green Fellow, you receive an individual stipend of $80,000 (or $90,000 for two-person partnerships) paid in four equal installments over two years as well as a health insurance stipend and yearly professional development stipend. You also join a community of like-minded social entrepreneurs, public service leaders and industry leaders, including the Echoing Green network of more than 700 fellows working in 60 countries around the world. You benefit from leadership development, peer mentorship, networking opportunities and the assistance of a dedicated Echoing Green portfolio manager who facilitates access to technical expertise and pro bono partnerships. The signature Global Fellowship is open to any social entrepreneur, from anywhere in the world, with an innovative solution for any issue. The Black Male Achievement Fellowship supports leaders dedicated to improving the life outcomes of black men and boys in the United States. The Climate Fellowship was launched for leaders committed to mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Venture for America Fellowship

Venture for America is a fellowship program that places recent graduates at startups in cities with emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems, forging a community of entrepreneurs committed to building companies that matter. As a fellow, you will spend five weeks at Training Camp, learning the hard and soft skills you will need to excel at a startup; work for two years at a high-growth company in one of our 17 cities, learning the ins and outs of entrepreneurship; join a tight-knit community of like-minded builders; and gain access to the resources that will help you build something of your own, from community initiatives to startups.

Social Business Creation Competition

The Social Business Competition is structured as a course that provides experiential learning and uses gamification to enhance the student learning experience. You’ll learn how to use market mechanisms to address social challenges, apply a social collective mindset, collaborate with various stakeholders and develop your business idea into a real business. This competition offers a win-win platform that allows for bottom-up development, and your team can compete for a cash prize of up to $15,000.

Baylor Business New Venture Competition

The Baylor New Venture Competition event is a two-day, dual-round business plan and speed pitch competition that promotes entrepreneurship and small business development. If you’re an undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate student, or a recent alum of UNC-Chapel Hill or any accredited university across the U.S., this competition is an excellent way to receive expert feedback and win prizes to help fund your venture. If you make it to the finals, you’ll compete with top teams from both tracks to win a prize up to $60,000.

TCU Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Competition

Presented by the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center, this is a unique annual competition for undergraduate students around the world. It’s a great chance for you to pitch plans for a business, product or service that make a profit, while also benefitting the environment, community or a specific population. If you’re a winner, you can receive up to a $25,000 prize.

SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event Competition

The annual SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event showcases innovative new technologies to a panel of judges and emcees who are industry experts, high-profile media personal, venture capitalists and angel investors. To participate, you company will have to be selected by the SXSW Screening Committee from the hundreds of startups from around the world that apply. Winning has big perks: you’ll be placed in the spotlight as a technology leader of the future and gain exposure to funders.

Deloitte National Case Competition

Each year, the Deloitte National Case Competition invites a field of highly competitive teams from across the country to square off in a bracket-style tournament. During this competition, your team will be pitted against others to test your critical thinking, business knowledge and strategic problem-solving potential through case simulation. You’ll have the opportunity to build personal and professional relationships with Deloitte Consulting Partners, win a cash prize from the $50,000 national prize pool and gain national recognition in head-to-head competition against teams from top MBA programs.

Triangle Health Innovation Challenge

The Triangle Health Innovation Challenge (THInC) brings together students and young professionals to tackle and build innovative solutions for the biggest challenges in health and health care. THInC brings together the academic, industry, pharmaceutical, startup and student communities to collaborate and solve problems of immense importance. At THInC, you’ll join a team that’s tackling a specific pain point in health. Over a 48-hour period, you’ll work together to construct technological solutions to address your team’s problem. If the panel of judges selects your pitch as a winner, you can receive up to $4,000 in cash prizes.

Global Entrepreneurship Week at UNC

Every year in November, UNC-Chapel Hill participates in Global Entrepreneurship Week, the world’s largest celebration of innovators, by hosting a weeklong series of events on campus that reach across all disciplines. For multiple years, Global Entrepreneurship Week at UNC has been ranked among the top two university partners in the nation and draws the public from across The Triangle. Whether you are actively involved in entrepreneurship or new to it, you will find a variety of participation opportunities designed to engage everyone: students, faculty, staff, alums and community members.

Carolina Innovations Seminar Series

The Office of Commercialization and Economic Development offers various workshops, including the Carolina Innovation Seminar. This monthly series of events gives you the opportunity to hear from a lineup of distinguished guest speakers who are experts in a wide range of topics related to innovation, commercializing research and starting new ventures. Join colleagues in the Great Room at Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery from 5:30 to 6:30 p .m. on the first Thursday of each month to hear the guest speaker presentation. Afterwards, you’re invited to networking reception in the same space, where you can connect with other attendees, unwind and share insights.

UNC Water Institute Conferences

The Water and Health Conference explores drinking water supply, sanitation, hygiene and water resources in both the developing and developed worlds with a strong public health emphasis. The Water Microbiology Conference creates a forum for researchers and practitioners focused on microbiology and public health issues to come together around the intersection of the two.


TEDxUNC is an annual conference held at UNC-Chapel Hill that brings together innovative thinkers from across the University and larger community. If you’re interested in exploring ideas for our collective future, this event is for you. The conference is completely planned and executed by a committee of about 35 Carolina students. If you are an undergraduate student and would like to consider pursuing a leadership role with the event, TEDxUNC invites you to get involved on its organizing committee.

Undergraduate Business Symposium

The Undergraduate Business Symposium is one of the oldest and largest student-run career development events in the nation. It serves as the premier opportunity for companies to establish or strengthen their recruiting brands and presence within the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School community, while connecting with some of the nation’s top undergraduate candidates. If you are an undergraduate student in the business school, you can meet with companies to explore internship and full-time positions.

Crash Campaign

The Crash Campaign is an annual event for students to gain real-world experience, develop professional connections and help local businesses and non-profits with various PR, marketing and business problems. As a student participant, you have 24 hours to devise and present a solution to a panel of judges from the UNC School of Media and Journalism as well as from leading marketing firms.

Carolina Women in Business Conference

The Carolina Women in Business Conference, which occurs annually, provides workshops, distinguished keynote speakers and panel discussions to several hundred attendees. Participants include students of the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, Carolina faculty and staff, alumni, and members of the surrounding community. The conference gives you the opportunity to engage with experts on career development and explore a variety of topics like communication and philanthropy.

Pearl Hacks

Pearl Hacks is an annual all-female hackathon organized by UNC-Chapel Hill students for women in high school and college. The event helps address the gender gap in the computer science field. During the 24-hour hackathon, you participate in workshops run by experienced programmers on numerous topics: building websites, basic software development, big data and computer hardware. If you don’t have a lot of programming experience, don’t worry. You’ll find workshops geared toward coders of all skill levels. If you’re an undergraduate student interested in taking a leadership role with the event, Pearl Hacks welcomes you to get involved on its organizing committee.


HackNC is a weekend conference for students of all skill levels to broaden their talents. Your challenge? Make an awesome project in just 24 hours. You will have access to hands-on workshops and demos from the event sponsors, and you can hear exciting talks about new trends in computer science and technology. If you’re an undergraduate student interested in taking a leadership role with the conference, HackNC welcomes you to get involved on its organizing committee.

Internet Summit

The Internet Summit is a premier digital strategies forum where you can be part of the future transformation of the digital commerce ecosystem – including marketing, UX & design, search, content and mobile. The summit gives you and other digital professionals an opportunity to learn directly from the world’s digital industry experts, network with your peers, and discover how to turn your ideas into transformational solutions.

NC DevCon

The annual NCDevCon Conference is North Carolina’s premier web and mobile event. Join other leaders and experts in web development and digital design on the Centennial Campus of NC State University to explore a variety of timely topics: web development, web design, mobile development, Javascript, Ajax, best practices, ColdFusion, and more.

Social Innovation Summit

The Social Innovation Summit brings together the top leaders from around the world for an intense series of discussions, debates and networking. While most events connect you with luminaries to explore the next big idea, this summit brings you together with others who are hungry not just to talk about the next big thing, but to build it.

Hopscotch Design Festival

The Hopscotch Design Festival, which takes place in the Research Triangle area each year, is a gathering of designers, thinkers, makers, and storytellers who are shaping what’s next right now. Join the brightest creative minds in the North Carolina region and from across the country. You’ll gain inspiration and have a chance to collaborate with other designers who are prepared to lead in the complexity of today’s world.

All Things Open Conference

All Things Open Conference is an annual conference that explores open source, open tech and the open web in the enterprise. By attending, you’ll join more than 2,000 technologists and decision makers from all over the world. This event gives you the opportunity to participate in multiple tracks, choose from more than 180 sessions, hear numerous keynote speakers and engage in infinite networking opportunities.

NC Datapalooza

NC DataPalooza is on a mission to provide a robust set of usable, open data that can be manipulated by local entrepreneurs; increase regional collaboration around open data; stimulate significant economic and community development; and position North Carolina as a hotbed of open-data and entrepreneurial activity. During this annual open-data startup competition, you’ll have a chance to be part of North Carolina’s innovation community, accelerate your ideas and help make an economic impact in the state.

Triangle Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event that brings together designers, developers, entrepreneurs and experts from all domains in the Research Triangle Park area to do amazing things. You’ll find that all Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. As a participant, you will be part of a team that forms around one of the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and embark on a three-day frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur and contribute to a more sustainable world, be part of Startup Weekend Triangle.

Triangle Global Health Annual Conference

The Triangle Global Health Consortium hosts an annual Triangle Global Health Conference, which welcomes more than 200 attendees from academic, governmental, business and nonprofit organizations, all coming together to discuss and collaborate on how to improve the health of the world’s communities. By attending, you can collaborate with other experts to explore the interconnected forces that determine our health across boundaries, cultures and governments. You’ll also see how practices and innovations applied locally can have global implications and vice versa.

99U Conference

The 99U Conference is a one-of-a-kind live experience that inspires creative professionals to bring their ideas to life and shape the future of the industry. Learn from the world’s top thinkers and doers in a series of main stage talks over two days. 99U speakers offer you pragmatic, real-world insights that transcend creative sectors. Expert-hosted workshops give you a chance to pick up career skills and dive into new disciplines. You’ll also find many opportunities to network with fellow attendees and get exposed to new ideas.

Net Impact Conference

The Net Impact Conference is the leading forum for students and professionals who want to tackle the world’s toughest social and environmental problems. At the conference, you can discuss trends at the forefront of numerous industries, network with recruiters and learn valuable career-building skills. You will have a chance to interact the founders of impactful companies, professionals using business as a force for good, and students and graduates preparing for careers with purpose.

SOCAP 365 Event Series

An ongoing event series, SOCAP 365 features world-class speakers and opportunities connecting at the intersection of money and meaning. Through thought leader panel discussions, inclusive dialogues, and community-building events, SOCAP 365 serves the rapidly growing network of impact investors, social entrepreneurs, conscious corporations, philanthropists, government agencies and innovators in every sector. Whether you’re a long-time SOCAP attendee or relatively new and curious about the field, SOCAP 365 is a chance to connect locally with like-minded peers committed to accelerating the flow of capital toward global good.

Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship

The Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship seeks to accelerate entrepreneurial approaches and solutions to the world’s most pressing problems by uniting social entrepreneurs with essential partners. At the event, you can participate with others in a collaborative pursuit of large-scale social change. If your application to be a delegate is accepted, you will have the chance to attend the forum with other delegates representing nearly 65 countries and participate in a range of interactive events. This forum creates an environment where you and others can openly share, collaborate, innovate and advance social entrepreneurship.

VentureWell Open Conference

VentureWell’s Open Conference gathers together representatives from across the innovation and entrepreneurship spectrum to share stories, start new collaborations and learn best practices in the rapidly growing field of technology entrepreneurship education. At this conference, you’ll find a wealth of informative sessions and ample time to network with a friendly and engaging group of attendees interested in moving the field forward.

Global Entrepreneurship Congress

Every year, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress gathers together thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and other startup champions from more than 160 countries to identify new ways of helping founders start and scale new ventures around the world. At the weeklong GEC, you can collaborate with other delegates, make connections, gain insights, learn about new research, and leave ready to renew your programs, policy ideas or founder skills.

Startup Grind Global Conference

Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire and connect entrepreneurs. Each year, Startup Grind hosts an annual global conference where you can join 3,000 founders and investors, attend more than 40 keynote and fireside sessions and learn from more than 50 exhibiting startups.

CED Life Science Conference

As one of the leading life science gatherings in the nation, the CED Life Science Conference attracts nearly 1,000 participants each year, boasts globally recognized industry leaders as speakers, showcases the most exciting and innovative North Carolina-based life science companies, and connects these companies to a diverse group of venture capital and corporate investors. As an attendee, you’ll meet innovative thinkers and companies from across the life science landscape: biotech, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, digital health, diagnostics, drug delivery and AgBio.

Unite for Sight: Global Health and Innovation Conference

The Global Health & Innovation Conference is the world’s leading and largest global health conference. It’s also the largest social entrepreneurship conference, with 2,200 professionals and students from all 50 states and more than 55 countries. If you’re interested in health issues and social change, this is a must-attend conference. Join other leaders, changemakers and participants from all sectors of global health, international development and social entrepreneurship to share your insights and learn the latest.

Clinton Global Initiative University Conference

Building on the successful model of the Clinton Global Initiative, President Clinton launched the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) in 2007 to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world. Each year, CGI U hosts a meeting where students, university representatives, topic experts, and celebrities come together to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. If you are a student who is interested in attending, you can apply as either an an individual or as part of a group. As a student attendee of the meeting, you’ll create your own Commitment to Action that addresses an issue on campus, in a local community or around the world.

IMPACT Conference

The IMPACT Conference strives to connect, educate and mobilize college students, nonprofit professionals and educators to strengthen their communities through service, action and advocacy. By attending, you’ll be part of the largest annual conference focused on the civic engagement of college students in community service, service-learning, community-based research, advocacy and other forms of social action.

Thought for Food Global Summit

The Thought for Food Global Summit showcases how some of the world’s most common assumptions in food and agriculture are being turned on their heads. By attending the summit, you’ll meet and learn from revolutionary change makers and inspiring thought leaders, hear breakthrough pitches from the Thought for Food Global Challenge finalists, and experience the creative power and impact of the next generation through edgy workshops.

Social Impact Exchange Conference

The Social Impact Exchange’s purpose is to share and develop knowledge that leads to successful execution of local, national and international scaling efforts, facilitate increased financing of scaling initiatives through collaborative funding opportunities and venues, and develop infrastructure that helps build the field of scaling social impact. At the organization’s annual conference, you join with funders, advisors and leaders from across the social sector who gather to share knowledge, learn about innovative co-funding opportunities and develop a community to help scale top initiatives and build the field.

CED Tech Venture Conference

As the premier event for technology entrepreneurs in the Southeast, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development Tech Venture Conference attracts some of the most innovative minds from across the nation. Join these leaders in Raleigh, NC, recently ranked the No. 5 tech hotspot, and collaborate with more than 800 entrepreneurs, investors, corporate visionaries and community leaders as well as more than 75 investment funds. During the conference, you’ll experience live on-stage company pitches, a demo room for networking with more than 90 emerging North Carolina companies, top industry speakers, and special entrepreneur-only opening workshops.

Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Ed

Co-founded by the Deshpande Foundation and the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 2012, the Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education brings together academics, policy planners and practitioners to discuss best practices in integrating entrepreneurship throughout their college and university communities. This annual conference, held in Lowell, Massachusetts, brings you together with national speakers and those at the forefront of innovative strategies in higher education.

Ashoka U Exchange

The Ashoka U Exchange is one of the world’s largest annual gatherings that showcases exciting new models of social innovation in higher education. Over the course of three days, the exchange offers you more than 100 sessions, including site visits, workshops, panels, keynotes and curated lunch conversations that all aim to help you work as part of a community of changemakers in higher education.

SwitchPoint Conference

Hosted annually in historic Saxapahaw, North Carolina, SwitchPoint is a conference about creativity, partnership and action. It’s where humanitarian innovation, global health and technology collide. SwitchPoint is produced each year by IntraHealth International, a global health organization that understands the power of creative people and partnerships and the fast-growing interconnectivity of global development. This event focuses on unusual collaborations, spreading great ideas from around the world and incubating yours. You’ll hear from leading experts in a variety of fields as previous speakers have presented on numerous topics: building medical devices out of broken toys, using drones and 3D printers to save lives, creating innovation hubs, crowdsourcing crisis response, driving policy, shaping investment, and mapping everything.

Creative Business Cup

Each year, National Partners hosts national Creative Business Cup competitions. The Creative Business Cup empowers entrepreneurs in the creative industries, connects them to investors and global markets, and strengthens their innovative capabilities to the benefit of industry and society. To be part of the competitions and compete as a finalist at Creative Business Cup in Copenhagen, you must contact the U.S. National Partner, National Creativity Network.

Unite for Sight Innovation Prize

The Innovation Prize is a $10,000 and a $5,000 cash prize that is awarded to the two best social impact pitches that are presented at the annual Global Health and Innovation Conference. All conference registrants — both students and professionals, and both non-profit and for-profit organizations — are eligible to apply. Early-stage pitches and established-stage pitches are equally eligible for the cash awards. The Innovation Prize supports outstanding ideas, programs, and organizations which are locally-developed and locally-responsible.


The world has already invented ways to end poverty, yet the best interventions are not being distributed at mass-scale. The D-Prize competition will challenge you to design a business or a non-profit organization that solves a distribution challenge for girl education, agriculture, energy, global health, education, governance and infrastructure, or another challenge that you specify. If you’re selected as a winner, you can receive up to $20,000 to launch a pilot in any region where extreme poverty exists.

VentureWell E-Team

Working on a promising technology invention? You may want to participate in the VentureWell E-Team competition, which is designed for college students working on technology-based ventures. If you’re among the winning student innovators, you’ll receive up to $25,000 in funding to support your venture, access to immersive workshops and specialized coaching to help move your invention into the marketplace.

DEBUT Competition

If you’re part of an undergraduate student team working on an innovative solution to health and clinical problems, consider exploring the Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) competition. It’s a great way to earn recognition for your excellent work in biomedical innovation and also win a prize of up to $20,000.

BME Idea

The world needs more effective, functional and affordable technology solutions to clinical medical problems. If you’re a student biomedical entrepreneur, the national BME Idea competition offers you the chance to develop these kind of solutions, win up to $10,000 and receive critical early-stage validation of your ideas. Whether you’re a graduate or undergraduate student, you can participate in the competition and take on the challenge of pioneering a health-related technology that addresses a real clinical need.

Web Summit ALPHA

Each week, the Web Summit selects early-stage startups from around the world to exhibit as part of ALPHA. If selected for ALPHA, you’ll get an exhibition stand, three tickets, an opportunity to access Investor Office Hours, Mentor Hours, Startup University, Startup Workshops, Startup Roundtables and much more.

University Startup World Cup

The University Startup World Cup starts off with one week in Copenhagen, where 50 of the best teams from all over the world are invited to network with entrepreneurs, investors and business people. While there, your team will also have the chance to develop and benchmark its business idea. If your team is elected as the winner at the end of the week, you’ll be able to call yourself the world’s best university startup. The perks don’t stop there. As the winner, you can receive up to $25,000, become part of a large international network, receive professional feedback on a business plan and spend one week in Copenhagen exploring a flourishing startup environment.

Mentor Capital Network Sustainable Business Plan Competition

The Mentor Capital Network supports entrepreneurs across the world who are building for-profit companies that make the world a better place by just existing. If you are launching or growing a for-profit company where your social, environmental and/or cultural mission strengthens your financial margins, then the Sustainable Business Plan Collaboration is for you. You’ll be eligible to pursue prizes that include cash and professional services worth more than $60,000.

Global Student Venture Competition

The Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) provides aspiring student entrepreneurs with mentoring, exposure and $80,000 in prizes to transform their ideas into businesses that will have a positive, real-world impact. To win the award prize from GSVC, your team will need to demonstrate the highest, most integrated financial and social returns – a business that demonstrates blended value. Your team must include a student, whether a current or recent graduate, from any level of higher education (undergraduate, masters/graduate or doctoral) from any area of study in the world.

Global Student Entrepreneur Awards

The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) is the premier global competition for students who own and operate a business while attending a college or university. As an award nominee, you’ll compete against your peers from around the world in a series of local and/or national competitions to qualify for the GSEA finals. If you’re an undergraduate student who has owned and operated a business for at least six months, you’re eligible to participate.

Research Hub at the Health Sciences Library

The Research Hub at Health Sciences Library specializes in supporting researchers in the clinical and biomedical sciences at every stage of the research process. It’s a collaborative space that offers UNC researchers the tools and expertise to make their research more connected. If you’re a researcher or part of a research team, you can use the technology-enabled spaces for meetings and can take advantage of expert referrals and training from Hub librarians and campus partners. You’ll also have the chance to participate in informative programming that will improve your ability to collaborate.

Research Hub at Davis Library (GIS and Data Services)

If you’re an innovator or researcher in need of geographical information systems (GIS) and data services, you’ll find them in Research Hub at Davis Library. The Research Hub helps you acquire and use spatial and numeric data from a variety of sources and also gives you a convenient open space for team meetings. If you’re interested in working with data, mapping, texts and technology, the Research Hub supports data investigation, analysis and visualization in many formats. It also gives you access to classroom training, online learning and GIS computing.

Carolina Union Underground

The Carolina Union Underground is a technology-equipped space with modular furniture, private rooms and audio-visual equipment for student teams to use for their work. Looking for a place to get the creative ideas flowing? Check out this high-tech, collaborative lounge area.


XPRIZE is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. It democratizes problem-solving, captures the world’s imagination and inspires others to reach for similar goals, spurring innovation and accelerating the rate of positive change. XPRIZES are monetary rewards based on competitions that have measurable goals. By participating, you’ll cross national and disciplinary boundaries and compete with teams around the world to address some of today’s most pressing issues.

Carolina Coworking

Carolina Coworking offers flexible subscription pricing without leases.  From coworking day passes to monthly coworking and private office subscriptions, all include access to high-speed internet, laser printing, private call rooms, a spacious kitchen, standup meeting areas and locked storage.  Each private office features two sit-stand desks, comfortable seating and large mobile whiteboards.  The Conference Center seats up to 25 and has state-of-the-art digital projection and a 24-foot-wide whiteboard “brain.”  Adjacent to UNC-Chapel Hill, Carolina Coworking’s West Franklin Street location is steps away from a variety of restaurants, shops and entertainment.

American Underground

Whether you’re a solo-entrepreneur, remote employee or have a 30-person team, you can take advantage of unique workspaces at American Underground designed to accommodate any stage of your business life cycle. Benefit from a powerful community of thinkers and doers, plus events that help you network, learn and succeed. American Underground also serves as a Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub, which offers you unique access to Google and its products. Plus, with one location in Raleigh and three locations in downtown Durham, you can choose from the spot that works best for you.

The Frontier

Looking for a free place to plug in, a private office for your growing company, or something a bit larger in the Research Triangle Park area? Everyone that walks through the doors of The Frontier receives a bevy of benefits and can get connected to the larger local entrepreneurship community. This centrally located convening space in the heart of the Triangle gives you access to Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, events and parking. Even better, you’ll find that most of the space is free.
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