Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Past Events


Entrepreneurship Speaker Series

January 26, 5:30pm-7:30pm

Kick-off 2010 with the Entrepreneurship Speaker Series featuring Brett Martin, founder and CEO of Castle Branch and a very special Center announcement by UNCW Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo. Hear the story behind Brett's entrepreneurial success with Castle Branch and learn key aspects of his unique approach to innovation that has spawned seven other startups including,, plus numerous products. Join fellow entrepreneurs and interview host, Steve Harper, the Betty Cameron/Progress Energy Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at UNCW, for this very special event.

How to Innovate and Reach Your Entrepreneurial Potential Seminar

February 1, 6:00pm -9:00pm

Do you wish you could apply creative thinking at work to try new things? Do you doubt your own capacity for creativity and innovation? Would you like to gain some tools and knowledge for harnessing innovative ideas and turn them into reality? Relying on traditional ideas and assumptions can spell failure and be a detriment, especially in this every-changing economy. This seminar teaches you innovative thinking and development techniques to generate new ideas and solutions for implementing innovation and putting yourself on the cutting edge. In this interactive and hands-on seminar you will discover new tools and ways to break through mental barriers and roadblocks that can paralyze you. In order to strengthen your confidence and abilities, improve performance, stimulate creative thinking and develop new products, services, processes, and solutions.

This free seminar is offer in partnership through the Small Business Center at Cape Fear Community College. 

Panel Discussion - Economic Impact of Entrepreneurship in the Cape Fear Region

February 24, 5:30pm-7:30pm

The impact of Entrepreneurship and innovation is considered essential to our economy. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses generate 60 to 80 percent of new jobs annually. From a more localized perspective 70% of our region's businesses have less then 10 employees. The Cape Fear Future Project has identified Entrepreneurship as one of our region's critical success factors economically going forward.

But what does all of this really mean? Is Entrepreneurship really that important to our economy and future? And if so how can we improve innovation and entrepreneurial activity in our region? Please join our distinguished panel of four experts who will address these questions, provide additional perspective and address audience questions.

Tobin Geatz: Panel Member

Tobin Geatz

Tobin Geatz is a graduate of West Virginia University with an extensive background in business start-ups, expansions, and technology applications. Tobin was founder and Chairman of the Board of PharmaTech Solutions in 1999; he then became CEO and Chairman of the Board of Inclinix, Inc. He has been instrumental in the founding and development of several successful ventures, introducing innovative technologies to improve operating processes, including the Inclinix VMR™ technology.

Dr. Stephen C. Harper, Ph.D.: Panel Member

Dr. Stephen Harper

Dr. Stephen C. Harper, Ph.D. is the Progress Energy/Betty Cameron Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at The University of North Carolina Wilmington. He is the author of six books on entrepreneurship and leadership including Extraordinary Entrepreneurship: The Professional's Guide to Starting an Exceptional Enterprise. He has received numerous awards for teaching, research, and service. He has also served on the faculty at Arizona State University and Duke University.

Rob Kaiser: Panel Member

Rob Kaiser

Rob Kaiser is the owner and publisher of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal. His company also owns Wilma magazine. Before moving to Wilmington, he helped create a business journal in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as its editor and then became the newspaper's publisher. He previously worked as a reporter at the Chicago Tribune, Asian Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Business Journal and Lynchburg News & Advance. Rob has an undergraduate degree from James Madison University and masters degrees in business and journalism from Northwestern University.

Jason Thompson: Panel Member

Jason Thompson

Jason Thompson is the Founder and CEO American Property Experts, a recycling company and also serves as Chairman of the New Hanover County Commission. His service to the community is unparalleled including his prior role on the Wilmington City Council. His professional career also includes experience in the financial services industry. He is a military veteran who served with the U.S. Marine Corp during Operation Desert Storm and was awarded the Palmetto Medal of Honor. Jason is also a proud graduate of The Citadel.

Wachovia/Wells Fargo Entrepreneurial Speaker Series

March 24, 2010 - 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM

The Wachovia/Wells Fargo Entrepreneurship Speaker Series continues on March 24th when the Center hosts entrepreneur Earl Galleher. This will be a very special event as UNCW entrepreneurship students will be in attendance and a formal dinner will proceed the speaker and include opportunities to engage students and network with fellow entrepreneurs. The cost will be $20 and will be collected on the day of the event. There is no cost for Center Members and Donors. Any proceeds after food costs go to supporting UNCW students involvement in the Entrepreneurship Center.

Earl Galleher, Founder and CEO, Basho Technology

For non-members this might be a good time to become a member of the Center and enjoy all of the benefits offered. Individual memberships start at $75/annually and discounts are available to companies and partners.

Earl is the founder and CEO of Basho Technology a high-growth tech startup based in Boston. Prior to Basho, Earl served as Executive Vice President at Akamai Technologies, Inc. in addition to being a Series A investor. He helped grow Akamai from a $10 million company into a $4.4 billion public corporation before exiting in 2001. Mr. Galleher's record of success in developing valuable Internet companies began in 1996 when he created and was President of the Web Site Management Services Division of Digex, Inc. He led Digex, now part of Verizon Communications, to become the world's largest provider of dedicated Web Site Management Services for Fortune 2000 corporations.

Very few entrepreneurs hit one home run, Earl Galleher has hit two and is swinging for the fences again. Hear his incredible story and learn the vision it takes to continually build multi-million and billion dollar success stories.

Join fellow entrepreneurs, business leaders, entrepreneurship students and Earl Galleher for this formal event. Networking will commence at 5:30pm with dinner starting at 6pm and the speaker portion at 6:30pm.

Rocket Pitch Event

April 28, 5:30pm-7:30pm

Five local entrepreneurs will be presenting their companies business models and growth strategies in 10-minute pitches at this innovative and inspiring event. The event is designed to highlight some of the top startups companies in the region by providing a fast paced, high energy environment. Attendees have the opportunity to provide feedback to the entrepreneurs and ask questions. The five companies will be announced over the final week leading up to the event.

The first pitch will be delivered by Rogo LLC, which provides hi-tech home monitoring systems using your existing technology. This hi-growth business has attracted an excellent leadership and engineering team as well as attracting national investor interest. Founded in 2007 Rogo's patent pending approach combines several technologies in a new manner to create an offering significantly different from, and superior to, other competitors in the surveillance camera space.

Becoming An Investor Ready Entrepreneur

May 6, 8:00am-5:00pm

Raising equity capital is challenging at best. Becoming an Investor-Ready Entrepreneur is a day long seminar/workshop designed to educate and prepare growth-oriented entrepreneurs to successfully engage private equity investors. This program was developed with direct input from experienced entrepreneurs, angel investors, angel networks/fund executives and venture capitalists, and provides an "insider's look" into the world of equity funding. By viewing investors as "customers of equity", entrepreneurs can reduce barriers to funding, navigate the process more easily, and increase the chances of obtaining funding for their business.

  • Learn about the equity funding "food chain"
  • Find out what investors look for and expect from the companies they fund
  • Learn how to make your company "investor-ready" (and improve your business while you're at it)
  • Assess your own "readiness" at each step of the way
  • Hear from those who've "done it". Panelists will include serial entrepreneurs and angel investors who've "been there".
  • Receive a comprehensive workbook, ongoing counseling support and access to additional online resources
  • Save countless hours and and enhance your chances of successfully raising equity capital.

Instructors, Panelists and Moderators include:

  • Chad Paul, Harbour Island Partners - investor and fund executive
  • Ed Graham, UNCW - professor and investor
  • Kip Johnson, WCSR - transactional attorney and investor
  • Tim Janke, SBTDC / IMAF - investor and early stage fund executive
  • Bill Parrish, SBTDC - consultant, entrepreneur and investor
  • Luncheon Keynote: Tom Looney, Co-founder of NextChannel Partners

Cost for the event is $295 which includes materials/food/etc, however UNCW Entrepreneurship Center members receive a very special rate of $95.

This event is sponsored by the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC).

Madeline Suite, UNCW Campus
601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403

2010 Chick-fil-A Leadercast Conference

May 7, 8:15am-4:00pm

The UNCW Entrepreneurship Center in partnership with Chick-fil-A and Express Employment Professionals are pleased to be a host region for the 2010 Leadercast Conference. Hear some of the world's best leaders speaking about the principals that matter most, and how to become that one leader who makes a lasting impact on the lives of those around you.

You will Learn:

  • The key to connecting with others
  • How to set yourself apart from competition and others
  • New ideas for creative problem solving
  • Best practices for leading in challenging circumstances and creating strong team cultures
  • How to avoid, detect, and reverse decline

Broadcast live at the UNCW Executive Development Center by Giant Impact from Atlanta to hundreds of locations around the world. Speakers include:

  • Jim Collins, Author of Good to Great, How the Mighty Fall, and co-author of Built to Last
  • Tony Dungy, Retired head coach for the Indianapolis Colts
  • Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS Institute, Inc. (named #1 on the Fortune "100 Best Companies to Work For" 2010 list)
  • John C Maxwell, Leadership expert and best-selling author of the The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
  • Ben Carson, Neurosurgeon and Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Connie Podesta, human behavior and leadership development expert
  • Chip Heath, Author of Made to Stick, columnist for Fast Company, and Stanford Professor
  • Steve Uzzell, Award-winning corporate photographer and former staff member of National Geographic
  • Mark Sanborn, Best-selling author of The Fred Factor
  • Ed Bastian, President of Delta Airline

Cost for the event is $50/per individual and $45 for groups of 10 or more. 

UNCW Executive Development Center
1241 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington, NC 28405

The Facts About SBA Lending

May 13, 8:00am-10:00am

"Removing the Mystery" - What Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know About SBA Lending. Come learn the facts about SBA Lending and the critical information you need as a business owner to determine how to start, grow, and succeed!

  • 10:00 a.m. Breakfast, Networking, & Registration
  • 8:30 - 10:00 a.m. SBA Presentation and Q&A

Offered in partnership with Carolina First Bank and the SBTDC to support the businesses in our community.

Madeline Suite
601 South College, Wilmington, NC 28403

Operation Entrepreneurship Workshop for Retired Veterans 

May 20, 2:00pm-4:00pm

This three day intensive workshop is designed to give participants the knowledge and tools required to start and grow a successful business. Specific areas include identifying business opportunities, conducting feasibility studies, developing the business plan, becoming financially literate, evaluating alternative ways of financing new ventures and identifying the appropriate form of legal organization.

The workshop is a three day commitment and takes place over two separate weekends. This format allows participants to apply the concepts and knowledge learned during the first two sessions towards developing a preliminary business plan. Part of the third session is designed to help participants further develop and formalize their preliminary business plans. Upon completion of the workshop you will be eligible to transition to a counselor from the UNCW Small Business and Technology Development Center for continuing advice and guidance. If you have been thinking about starting a business, this workshop will have you well on your way to turning your visions into reality!

Location: UNCW Campus - Computer Information Systems (CIS) Building

Date(s): Friday May 20, Saturday May 21, and Saturday June 4th

Time: 9:00 - 4:00 each day (May 20 registration opens at 8:30).

Instructors: Workshop is taught by members of the UNCW entrepreneurship faculty.

Registration Fee: $35.00 individuals and $50.00 veteran + spouse

Materials: Books and reference materials will be provided (over a $75.00 value).

Eligibility: Retired (non-active) veterans of any branch of the U.S. Military and / or their spouse. In addition, you should be truly motivated to start a business and thus willing to complete assigned work between sessions.

This is workshop is made possible by a grant from the UNCW Cameron School of Business and is co-sponsored by the UNCW Entrepreneurship Center and the UNCW Small Business and Technology Development Center.

Coastal Entrepreneurship Awards

May 21, 7:30am-10:30am

On Friday, May 21st the entrepreneurial community in Southeastern North Carolina will pause and come together for two and a half hours to celebrate their successes, share their war stories, discuss opportunities, and cheer on their counterparts at the Coastal Entrepreneur Awards. Ten category winners will be crowned along with the 2010 Coastal Entrepreneur of the Year. The categories are:

  1. Biotechnology
  2. Film
  3. Health Care
  4. Non-Profit
  5. Manufacturing & Distribution
  6. Real Estate, Design & Construction
  7. Retail & Hospitality
  8. Professional Services
  9. Technology
  10. Emerging Company

If you are an entrepreneur, a regional business leader, or part of an entrepreneurial support organization then the 2010 Coastal Entrepreneur Awards will be the place to listen, learn, share, and celebrate everything entrepreneurial about Southeastern NC.

This event is a part of a joint partnership between the UNCW Entrepreneurship Center and the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.

Entrepreneurial Speed Dating

August 26, 5:30pm-7:30pm

Ever wish you could ask an accountant a quick question about your business finances. Or get some advice from a successful entrepreneur. Or have your business model evaluated by an investor. Or get feedback from a banker. Or ask a lawyer about intellectual property. Or just hang out with fellow entrepreneurs.
At Entrepreneurial Speed Dating on August 26th you will have a chance to do all of that and more.

The list below highlights some of the experts that are available specifically to meet with individuals to discuss key areas of their businesses:

  • Charles Baldwin, Attorney at Law, Rountree, Losee & Baldwin, L.L.P.
  • Dr. Pam Evers, Associate Professor of Commercial Law, UNCW Cameron School of Business
  • Rickey Godwin and Mark Stanley, Tax Managing Directors, RSM McGladrey, Inc
  • Dr. Howard Rasheed, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, UNCW Cameron School of Business
  • Kevin Hicks, RBC Bank
  • Adam Shay, Accountant, Shay Group LLC
  • Jarrett Shearin, Branch Director, Senn Dunn Insurance
  • Jack Morrow CPA, Counselor, Small Business and Technology Development Center
  • Janis Mueller, Counselor, Small Business and Technology Development Center
  • Dr. Ed Graham, Associate Professor of Finance and Equity Investor, UNCW Cameron School of Business
  • Frank Crowl, Angel Investor, Wilmington Investor Network

Attendees will be able to speak with the above individuals in 5-10 minute "speed dating" intervals. Each booth will have a sign-up sheet for the "speed date" on an ordered first come first serve basis.

So come prepared with your questions, issues, and inquiries. And make sure you are a member of the UNCW Entrepreneurship Center, otherwise you will be last on the list.

Food and drinks will be available and entrepreneurial networking is part of the evening as well, so make sure you attend even if you don't have a question.

Trends in Raising Capital

September 16, 1:00pm-6:00pm

Please join the Wilmington Investor Network (WIN) and UNCW Entrepreneurship Center as we present this half-day workshop, TRENDS IN RAISING CAPITAL. This workshop will be presented by Bob Okabe, Managing Partner, RPX Group LLC, one of the U.S.'s foremost angel investors. Additionally, Bob is President of The Angel Resource Institute, a spin out of the Kauffman Foundation. The Institute conducts research in current early stage investments, produces educational programs, and promotes best practices for early stage and angel investors.
TRENDS IN RAISING CAPITAL will equip you with an understanding of the current investment climate and empower you to establish productive relationships with angel investors and entrepreneurs. By drawing upon and combining leading industry data sources and a first ever survey of angel groups' investment practice, this workshop presents a unique view of the capital raising environment. The workshop covers best practices for analysis - including current preferences in valuation methodologies and deal structuring (see below for more details).

Understanding the latest trends in the early stage capital raising environment is a key component to being a successful investor, entrepreneur, or economic development director. All three parties need to know the expectations, realities, and current market conditions for early stage fund raising and investing.

Who should attend?

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Economic development professionals
  • Angel investors & private investors
  • Business innovation professionals

Event Cost:
$125 Non-Entrepreneurship Center Members
$100 Entrepreneurship Center Members
$65 UNCW Students

Information about the Facilitator

Bob Okabe has been involved with early stage enterprises on multiple levels for well over a decade. As a co-founder of RPX Group in 2002, he helped develop the firm's strategy and has led many of its largest and most successful engagements. Prior to RPX Group he has completed numerous debt, equity, M&A, and advisory assignments for entrepreneurial and venture backed companies during his twelve year career as an investment banker for some of the U.S.'s largest firms. In addition, Bob has held positions at General Electric and GE Capital as well as Moody's Investors Services. Bob was awarded his Bachelor of Science in Finance and Organizational Behavior, cum laude, from the Boston University School of Management. He has been a guest speaker at the University Of Chicago Graduate School Of Business, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and internationally for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Additional Workshop Details

CURRENT ENVIRONMENT FOR RAISING CAPITAL: Analysis of data from multiple industry leading sources provides a deep overview of the latest investment trends and investor preferences.

ANALYTIC METHODS & TOOLS: Walks through the basics of investment returns (home runs make up for strikeouts), such as the dynamics of angel investor & VC relationships, and examples of how a fund's size dictates its investment size.

TERM SHEET MECHANICS: A discussion of many key deal terms, concepts and approaches every angel investor will use such as liquidation preferences and anti-dilution clauses.

MEETING INVESTOR EXPECTATIONS: Uses survey data compiled from over 500 angel investors to set up discussions of best practices for company documents (i.e., executive summary, business plan, slide deck, financial model) as well as due diligence and governance.

COMPANY VALUATION: A review of current valuation data, particularly for pre-revenue companies, as well as primary methods used by experienced angel investors.

Entrepreneurial Speaker Series

September 19, 5:00pm-7:30pm

Wilmington will play host to the 2010 North Carolina Entrepreneurship Summit on Sept 19th/20th at the Hilton Riverside. This year's summit, "Keys to NC's Economic Future," will be the fourth statewide gathering to celebrate and connect small businesses and high-growth entrepreneurs from across the state.

The EC is partnering with the Summit to host the kick-off speaker and reception on Sunday, Sept 19th at 5pm. This evening will provide EC members with a special opportunity to meet over 200 entrepreneurs and government leaders from across the state. EC members can attend the kick-off celebration and speaker at no cost and are encouraged to purchase Summit passes for the remainder of the conference on Sept 20th. Registration is required for both and space is limited.

2010 North Carolina Entrepreneurship Summit

September 20, 7:30am-5:00 pm

The North Carolina Entrepreneurship Summit is the premier event for people who want to celebrate and cultivate our Entrepreneurial State.

Developing Entrepreneurship, whether small businesses or high-growth ventures, is a proven and essential component of building a vibrant economy. North Carolina is working hard to build on the state's successes in innovation-based entrepreneurship.

The 2010 NC Entrepreneurship Summit is a living, growing, and working collaborative of leadership from across our diverse state on a mission to create 'homegrown' jobs. This year's summit, "Keys to NC's Economic Future," will be the fourth statewide gathering to celebrate and work for small businesses and high-growth entrepreneurs.

Join us for the 2010 NC Entrepreneurship Summit, if you are interested in:

  • Catalyzing entrepreneurial economic development
  • Strengthening state and local policy supporting entrepreneurship
  • Enhancing entrepreneurial education of adults or youth
  • Learning what other states are doing to improve the economic climate for small businesses and high-growth entrepreneurial ventures
  • Fostering entrepreneurship in creative industry sectors, such as arts, biotechnology, and the green economy