The world doesn’t wait. Let’s make your ideas work. 

Have an idea for solving an important economic or social problem? Want to start putting your idea into action? Or maybe you’re just beginning to get interested in entrepreneurship and want to see what it’s all about.

It doesn’t matter how much or little entrepreneurial experience you have, whether you’re an undergrad or grad student, or what your major is. If you have an idea or interest in working on an entrepreneurial project or venture, Innovate Carolina can get you started, connect you with other student innovators and help you move forward faster.  

Explore our student innovation services

Innovate Carolina’s student innovation team manages a variety of spaces funds and programs that help you take the next step on your idea. We also advise student innovation organizations and can help prep and support your team for competitions. Our team can also connect you to additional student innovation resources provided by a network other departments and programs at UNC-Chapel Hill and beyond. For a full listing of student innovation resources, see our student I&E impact guide and full innovation resource directory.



1789 is an open, flexible workspace and co-working community designed for students conveniently located in downtown Chapel Hill. It’s the bridge between your on-campus entrepreneurial activity and the larger world. If you have an idea you want to work on, 1789 lets you connect with other innovation-minded students, get advice from entrepreneurial mentors, and find a spot to meet, ideate and collaborate.

1789 Venture Fund

The 1789 Student Venture Fund provides financial support that helps Carolina students build commercial and social startups. By applying, you may receive the early-stage funding you need for initial testing, development and growth of your startup. With this funding, you’ll have the chance to ideate, create a venture and move your startup from concept to reality.

Dreamers-Who-Do Award

The Dreamers-Who-Do award provides financial support for student entrepreneurial projects that solve a problem or enhance innovation and entrepreneurship on campus, in a local community or on a global scale.. These projects help you learn what it means to be an innovator and entrepreneur and give you opportunities to put those insights into practice.

Venture Catalyst Fellows

Offered as part of our Venture Catalyst Program, these fellows are a select number of MBA students, doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows who receive educational and experiential learning opportunities as they work directly with startups. They help ventures uncover market opportunities and solve business challenges.

ACC InVenture Prize

The ACC InVenture Prize is a chance to turn your idea into a real solution and compete against other students at UNC and the Atlantic Coast Conference to show why your idea rises to the top. This innovation competition begins at UNC through Innovate Carolina. If your team is selected as the top idea at Carolina, you compete against the top student innovators from the 14 other ACC schools.

Map the System Competition

Map the System is a global systems thinking competition hosted by Oxford University’s Said School of Business. Innovate Carolina’s Office of Social Innovation runs UNC’s local campus stage of the competition. During the competition, you create systems maps about problems you have a passion for solving. If chosen as the top UNC team, you can compete with other students in Oxford’s regional and global finals.

Innovation Showcase

Take part in UNC’s signature innovation and entrepreneurship event hosted by Innovate Carolina. Present your idea, connect with investors and discover other emerging innovations.

UNC Startup Meet and Greet

Are you a Carolina student who’s curious about working at a startup? Log on and meet UNC-affiliated startups, learn what it’s like to work in a startup environment and make connections with startup leaders that could land you an internship or potential job. You’ll also meet Carolina alumni who are active in the entrepreneurial community.

Student Innovation Advising & Alliance

If your student I&E group is looking for a staff advisor, our Innovate Carolina team can offer guidance. We mentor and support a variety of student I&E groups. As an innovation club leader, you can join our Innovative Student Alliance, a team of student leaders who convene to collaborate, share opportunities and promote events.

Connect with our team

Our team of student innovation specialists are ready to help you launch your innovative project or entrepreneurial venture.