Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

CIE News

The CIE at Cucalorus CONNECT

by Nikki Kroushl on November 4, 2016

Connect & Synergize

Cucalorus Film Festival, one of the most celebrated film and arts events in Wilmington for two decades, makes its 22nd return next week in an epic five-day conference full of screenings and panels. But for the second time, Cucalorus CONNECT also finds a home in the Port City.

Last year, the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship teamed up with Cucalorus and tekMountain to launch CONNECT, a part of the conference that brings together industry experts, entrepreneurs, innovators, and community leaders from across North Carolina to show off what an incredible entrepreneurial ecosystem exists in Wilmington. 17,000 people attended the 2015 Cucalorus and CONNECT conference, and we’re expecting even more this year with more than 40 great CONNECT programs in store including keynotes, entrepreneur documentaries, TED talk-style panels, workshops, and more. The focuses range from healthcare and lifestyle to biotech to entertainment to financial services.

But the CIE isn’t just sponsoring CONNECT—it’s actively participating. For example:

  • Three of the six Port City Pitches are current UNCW students with ties to the CIE; two of them are alums.
  • Three CIE student staff members are moderating panels.
  • Six UNCW students tied to the CIE are panelists in a variety of breakout sessions.
  • Six Cameron School of Business students are participating in the 10x10 Shadow Project.
  • Seven Film Studies students on the CIE Media Team will be filming throughout the conference.
  • And of course we’ll be present at the Kickoff Party to celebrate the start of the week!

Below are some of the highlight events of CONNECT that the CIE and its staff have a direct hand in.

Cucalorus Kickoff Party, Tues. Nov. 8th, 6 p.m.—our friends at TekMountain are hosting this great “anti-networking” party.

EdTech Developments at UNCW, Wed. Nov. 9th, 2:30 p.m.—former staff member, current grad student, and CIE tenant Sarah Ritter of Turnip Learning and UNCW Graduate School Director Dr. Ron Vetter contribute to this panel discussing how UNCW is revolutionizing the educational technology sector through new apps and knowledge-building tools.

Where Are They Now? Port City Pitches, Wed., Nov. 9th, 2:30 p.m.— Catch up with these four startups from Connect 2015. Have they found fame and fortune? Here's your opportunity to ask them! Performance Culture, LifeGait, Service Whale and Special Pedals (a CIE tenant!).

Social Entrepreneurship: Non-Profit Sector, Wed. Nov. 9th, 3:30 p.m.— David Morrison, the CIE’s nonprofit adviser, also of Miracle League of Wilmington, curates a panel on the impact non-profits have on our local economy.

Women in Entrepreneurship, Wed., Nov. 9th, 3:30 p.m.—The UNCW CIE's Media Team shares their short doc about women in the startup scene and talks about women's economic contributions. Event Coordinator Sydney Sides moderates!

Notion to Ocean: Ideas Translated Into Products, Wed. Nov. 9th, 4:30 p.m.—OIC Director and UNCW Entrepreneurship professor Craig Galbraith contributes to a conversation about the translational science that turns research into commercial products and how it happens in Wilmington in partnership with InnovateSENC. 

Seahawk Innovation, Wed., Nov. 9th, 4:30 p.m.— Tobin Geatz and Brendan Collins lead a discussion of the organization's various entrepreneurial endeavors.

Port City Pitch: Fecal Finders, Wed., Nov 9th, 7 p.m.—Wilmington Discovery Forum winner Mary Jaskowiak pitches her research-based technology used to cheaply and quickly locate waste in water sources.

Port City Pitch: Greenflare—alum Hillary Scott presents Greenflare, a mobile app that connects filmmakers.

Port City Pitch:, Wed. Nov. 9th, 7 p.m.—Case Vision is the integrated incident review & report approval portal built specifically to facilitate excellent communication and service as the citizen’s incident information is checked and a disposition is established.

Port City Pitch: Plastic Ocean Project, Thurs., Nov. 10th, 12 p.m.—The mission of Plastic Ocean Project, Inc. 501(c)3 is to educate through field research, implement progressive outreach initiatives, and incubate solutions to address the global plastic pollution problem. Working with and for the next generation to create a more sustainable future.

Port City Pitch: Turnip Learning—CIE tenant and UNCW student Sarah Ritter presents her company, Turnip Learning, which is developing an online marketplace for teachers to upload interactive lessons.

Port City Pitch: SeekerDNA, Thurs. Nov 10th, 12 p.m.—SeekerDNA™ uses the world’s only DNA tagging product to provide an infinite number of unique and forensically secure coded marking sprays and gels to tag valuables. SeekerDNA presents authorities with a unique technology to aid in crime detection and individuals with an inexpensive product to aid in crime prevention.

Build Out Your Badass Brand with LinkedIn, Thurs., Nov. 10th, 9:30 a.m.—Learn to build and leverage your brand through the largest free social networks with Mike Hunter, CIE Tenant and Pivot Launch Coaching CEO.

Come out and see these great events! Purchase tickets here and don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to get updates on conference goings-on!