Jim Kitchen is an entrepreneur-in-residence at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and also serves as a mentor at Launch Chapel Hill. Kitchen started his first business, specializing in group tours to the Caribbean, while attending UNC-Chapel Hill in the 1980s. After selling his company to multinational travel conglomerate TUI PLC in 2007, he served as the director of TUI Student’s Acquisition department, helping to build one of the largest student travel companies in North America. Currently, he is the principal of a commercial real estate business specializing in acquiring apartment complexes, drug stores and other triple-net investments. He received his MBA with honors as valedictorian at the University of Tennessee.
Having learned some of the most important lessons of his life while sleeping in grass huts in Nicaragua, building rooms and schools in Costa Rica, and visiting remote villages in Africa and Asia, Kitchen now devotes most of his time and talents to helping others. He stays busy teaching entrepreneurship at the business school and helps build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Chapel Hill as an executive board member at Launch Chapel Hill and founder of 1789 Venture Lab.
Kitchen is an active angel investor, supporting the growth of Triangle’s entrepreneurial community. He has invested in TAP and in a number of early-stage startups to help them get off the ground, including Launch ventures ABAN, Friendli and Keona Health.
An avid runner, he has completed more than 20 marathons and three ultra-marathons (50 and 100 mile runs). He lives in Chapel Hill with his wife and two children.