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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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