Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Past Events


CIE Workshop Series: Licensing Technology for Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, December 13

12:00 - 3:00 PM

Participants learned about why you should choose to license, technology scouting and how to search for technologies, the business model for licensing and scalable growth (& getting funding), negotiating the license deal, the different types of licenses, normal royalties, milestones, payments, expectations, rights to audit, etc., and things to watch out for.

Business Valuation Workshop

Tuesday, November 29

12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Attendees learned more about estimating and building the value of their businesses. They learned what drives business value, valuation acceleration strategies, choosing the right method of valuation, evaluating whether they needed an expert, and the biggest mistakes of valuation.

Port City Young Professionals Mixer

Wednesday, November 16

5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Young professionals in the Wilmington community mingled in a comfortable and inviting social environment.

Cucalorus CONNECT Conference

Wednesday - Sunday, November 9-13

Varying time and locations

Connect serves as a catalyst for economic development by showcasing the unique assets that make the city of Wilmington, NC an ideal location to launch and grow a new business. The Connect conference provides thought-leaders, aspiring entrepreneurs, students and community partners a platform to cultivate powerful relationships across entrepreneurial communities. 

SAROS - Turning Waves into Fresh Water

Wednesday, November 2

4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

We kicked off the SAROS Indiegogo campaign and heard from three renowned crowdfunding experts on how to raise money for your startup or product. The panel started at 4 PM, followed by light appetizers and food with a presentation from SAROS and a raffle. All proceeds went towards the SAROS Indiegogo campaign and t heir mission to provide clean water to those in need.

Welcome Wednesday

Wednesday, November 2

8:00 - 9:30 AM

These informal bi-weekly meetings provide an open forum for interested students, faculty and community members to exchange information pertinent to the growth and success of their businesses. Individuals meets CIE director Diane Durance and members of Seahawk Innovation, a venture funding and mentoring firm operating within the CIE. 

Leadership, Entrepreneurship, & Life: The Military Advantage

Tuesday, November 1

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Randy Hetrick: Navy Seal Commander, Entrepreneur, and TRX Founder, came to speak at the CIE prior to his main talk at Trask. 

Google Analytics Certification Workshop

October 3, 5, 11, 13, 17, 19, 24, 26

Each session was from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Free for students, $50 members, $75 nonmembers

This 8 session workshop was led by instructor Marc Mereyde, a CIE tenant and owner of TiktoPlus. Sessions were aimed to prepare students for Google Analytics certification exam. All material needed for the exam was covered during the workshop. 

2nd Annual Cape Fear Region MED Week Conference

Evolving Your Business: Make it Happen, Make it Matter

Thursday, October 13

8:00 AM – 3:00 PM


This conference was designed to recognize the contributions of the minority business community to the Cape Fear Region. Since 1983, every president has issued a Presidential Proclamation designating a National Minority Enterprise Development Week (MED Week) recognizing contributions of minority business' to the U.S. economy. The conference goal was to convene business leaders, business development advocates, promote business opportunities, report industry trends, and recognize outstanding minority business firms in our community. For more than 30 years, the Minority Business Development Agency has led the National MED Week program.

3 Day Start Up

October 14-16 all day

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship brought 3 Day Start Up to UNCW! This program took students through the business creation process all the way from ideation to execution. By the time the workshop was over, each student had an exciting business idea that was ready to operate. 

IEI Discovery Forum

Thursday, September 29

5:30 PM – 9:00 PM


NC State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues and BB&T cosponsored the Wilmington Discovery Forum at the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Ten teams had five minutes each to pitch their idea, and the audience voted on their favorite pitches. The top three teams were invited to an intensive leadership development weekend and given a chance to compete for $10,000. It was an evening full of innovation, inspiration, and networking!

SBA Boots to Business Reboot

Friday, September 16

8:00 AM – 4:30 PM


Boots to Business Reboot was a two-step training program that provided participants with an overview of business ownership as a career vocation, an outline and knowledge on the components of a business plan, a practical exercise in opportunity recognition, and an introduction to available public and private sector resources. * Registration was through

3D Printing Event 

Friday, September 9, 6:00pm-8:00pm, CIE 

Attendees learned about how 3D printing works and how to access 3D printing technology easily and affordably. There were presentations, demonstrations, and giveaways for everyone!

Speakers: Ms. Laura Brogdon-Primavera | Manager of CIE at UNCW Eli Wilson | UNCW Student and Additive Manufacturing Specialist Andrew Williams | Founder & CEO of Elite Innovations

Agenda: 6:00-6:15 – Walk in, 3D printing demonstrations, talk 6:15-6:20 – Start Presentations 6:20-6:25 – Ms. Laura Brogdon-Primavera: CIE at UNCW 6:25-6:40 – Eli Wilson: 3D printing technology and how to access it 6:40-6:50 – Andrew Williams: 3D printing in entrepreneurship and business 6:50-7:50 – 3D printing demonstrations and open discussion 7:50-8:00 – Walk out

3D Printers at the event: Fusion3 F306 Makerbot Replicator 2 Makerbot 5th Generation Replicator C-bot 3D Printer Lulzbot

Intro to Analytics Program

Wednesday, August 31, 6:00–8:00pm, CIE 

This program was given by CIE tenant and founder of Tikto Plus, Marc Mereyde. It taught the basics of analytics and digital marketing in order to prep those interested in our Google Analytics Certification Workshop in September for current UNCW students in any and all programs.  Dates were:  September 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, and 28 from 6-8pm.  

Student Engagement Mixer

Tuesday, August 30, 6:00–8:00pm, CIE

Students who signed up at our student engagement booth during our Welcome Week event were invited to come back to the CIE for a networking session with CIE student employees and other students interested in getting involved. We further discussed what the CIE does, and how it can benefit students.

SBA Entrepreneurial Academy

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) partnered with the UNCW CIE to provide a series of 6 small business workshops called SBA Entrepreneurial Academy.  The curriculum focused on developing a working knowledge of small business ABC’s for home based business development, starting a small business, marketing and outreach development, obtaining capital, learning government contracting processes for business development, and understanding the many area resources and programs available to small businesses through the SBA.

The Academy took place every two weeks between AUGUST 29 thru NOVEMBER 6. 

Workshop Descriptions

AUGUST 29: The 50 Most Popular Home Based Businesses

In 2016, nearly half of all startup small businesses were home-based businesses! This course was designed to provide startup entrepreneurs with the flexibility they seek in career options by exploring the availability of a home-based small business career. 

Offered by the US Small Business Administration, topics included developing the key processes for a home-based business, such as: the startup requirements; the business plan; the marketing plan; the financial plan; and how to obtain alternative lending for a home-based small business.

Special Offer: A 200+ page E-book of all 50 Home Based Business ideas was provided for students attending the seminar that discusses how to jump start and grow that home-based business!

SEPTEMBER 12:  Introduction to the SBA

The U.S. Small Business Administration provides a variety of resources to assist small businesses. This course helped attendees gain knowledge to help them grow their own small business opportunities through SBA programs and partnerships in their area.

In this overview of the SBA, attendees got the working basics about SBA alternative capital lending programs, how to qualify for lending assistance, natural disaster preparation and lending, SBA managed procurement programs (HUBZONE and 8a) to help market their businesses to the federal government with significant income opportunities for women, minority owned, disabled veterans, and for those with liquid net worth of under $250k (cash, stocks, bonds) and excluding the equity in their primary residences and accumulated equity in their businesses.

Most importantly, attendees gained insight into the SBA resource provider network in the Wilmington area through SCORE and SBTDC, where free and confidential small business counseling is readily available to turn a small business idea into a working reality. 

SEPTEMBER 26: Personal and Commercial Credit Scoring

A good-to-excellent personal credit score is vital for the short and long term success of every small business and a minimum FICO score of 680 is necessary to obtain an SBA loan guaranty.

The course focused on how to build good personal credit AND on establishing commercial credit for a company.

Commercial credit is key for those companies needing short-term vendor credit which may enhance their cash flow management. Good commercial credit becomes a tangible asset of a business. Attendees learned about developing commercial credit through the PAYDEX credit scoring system.

They also learned about the factors of credit scoring; how to overcome negative credit issues; the hidden costs of bad credit; how to minimize the risk of identity theft; how to rebuild negative credit reports, and how to engage creditors successfully.

OCTOBER 24: SBA Alternative Loan Programs

Provided by an SBA senior area manager to discuss how to successfully obtain a commercial credit loan, this workshop detailed how to approach your lender regarding applying for an SBA loan guaranty. Discussion points included personal and professional credit; the business plan; managing cash flow; business accounting; collateral requirements; the commercial loan process; how to increase your successful application to gain access to capital for your small business; and a discussion of small business lending programs available with the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

Much of small business lending is not done through a traditional bank. This key topic on "alternative lenders and brokers” provided access to capital when the bank does not.

OCTOBER 31: 337 Ways to Market for Greater Profits (rescheduled)

The key to any successful business is the development and strategic usage of successful marketing program that gets measurable results and keeps marketing costs low.

Every business has a marketing expense – either through direct labor or by acquisition and purchasing.

Participants learned how to maximize marketing investment and improve strategic visibility by generating leads, developing and closing sales opportunities, increasing customer transactions and purchasing, utilize strategic pricing techniques, and dramatically improve bottom line profits.

Perhaps most importantly, they learned how to incentivize customers and fully take control of the most vital marketing strategy – word of mouth marketing campaigns.

This course was a "must see" for those small businesses seeking to gain maximum exposure of their product or service within their community and be able to better measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts through a step by step formula – all 337 ways!

NOVEMBER 7: SBA Socio-Economic Contracting Opportunities

The federal government is always buying! In 2016, SBA 8a and HUBZone programs developed over $435M in federal government contracting revenues in North Carolina alone! SBA is one of the largest prime contractors for the federal government and manages two key government contracting programs known as 8a and HUBZone. 

This seminar provided information and steps necessary to enroll in SBA 8a and HUBZone programs for minorities, women, disabled veterans, and economically disadvantaged (net worth LESS than $250k), or for those seeking to place a principal office within low-income geographic areas(HUBZones).

Also, attendees learned about contracting opportunities with two other huge federal services: the General Services Administration (GSA) and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).

2nd Annual CIE Welcome Week

Thursday, August 25, 5:00-7:00pm, CIE 

CIE hosted an annual Welcome Week event to bring hundreds of students to our facility for a fun, engaging evening. Booths featured many different companies and CIE groups will be set up outside as well as games and activities.

Leveraging Partners to Grow Your Business

Wednesday, August 10, 5:00–7:30pm, CIE 

Our keynote speaker was Ryan Hedspeth with Bloom, Inc. Bloom understands the needs of today’s consumers and youth-based organizations, and is dedicated to providing high-quality, high-profit funding solutions that are easy to manage and have a mind toward the greater good. The Bloom leadership team brings together more than 70 years of professional experience in fundraising, marketing, advertising, public and brand relations, and sales and client services. 

Graduate Student Networking Event

Wednesday, July 27, 6:00-7:30pm, CIE 

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Graduate Student Life hosted an evening of networking and learning about the services of the CIE.

NC Commerce Secretary John Skvarla

Tuesday, June 28, 1:00-2:00pm, CIE

NC Commerce Secretary John Skvarla visited Wilmington for a small-group talk about growing businesses and the state’s economy.

TED Talk Thursdays

Learn more about business and technology through fun, informal sessions designed to simplify complex concepts. Experts facilitated discussions on topics from big data and privacy to robotics.

  • Sessions were held each Thursday in June
  • All sessions were from 6-7:30 p.m.

Sessions included: 

Technology and Work

Thursday, June 2

with Mike Hunter, founder and coach of Pivot Launch Coaching

Current Trends in 3D Printing

Thursday, June 9

with Eli Wilson, UNCW student and additive manufacturing specialist

Big Data and Privacy 

Thursday, June 16

Marc Mereyde, founder and president of TiktoPlus

Topics in Alternative Energy 

Thursday, June 23

with Mack Coyle, general manager at Coyle, LLC

Interesting Findings in Robotics

Thursday, June 30

Ben Barbour, lead developer and architect for Lapetus Solutions, Inc.

Shark Tank Think Tank

Every Friday in June*, 7pm - 9pm, CIE

This "mini" Shark Tank will involve analysis of episodes of this reality television show followed by an activity led by local entrepreneurs to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each pitch. 

Innovative activities taught children how to pitch their own ideas and become entrepreneurs.

Popcorn and lemonade will be served. This event is free and open to youth in the community.

*Program dates were June 3, 10, 17, 24.

Website Basics for Business Owners

Every Monday in June, 12:00pm - 1:30pm, CIE

  •  All sessions were noon – 1:30 p.m.
  •  Free for students and tenants
  •  Members: $10 per session or $30 for all four sessions
  •  Non-members: $15 per session or $50 for all four sessions
  •  Lunch provided.
  •  Bring your own computer/device.

Sessions included:

Website Hosting Platform and Design

Monday, June 6

Do you need help deciding what platform to use?

with Sarah Ritter & Christine Babcock

Content Management Tools - SquareSpace and Wordpress

Monday, June 13

What content management should you use?

with David Wilson, Sarah Ritter, and Hannah Wilson. 

Intro to SEO and Google Analytics

Monday, June 20

Do you know how many people are visiting your website every day?

with Andres Lluch and Christine Babcock 

Intro to HTML, CSS, and JQUERY

Monday, June 27

How can you personalize your new website?

with Jake Spillane and Sarah Ritter 

2nd Workshop: Build Your Own Portable Solar Generator with Mack Coyle

June 15, 4:00pm, CIE

Workshop: Build Your Own Portable Solar Generator with Mack Coyle

May 21, 11:00am, CIE

This was a hands on workshop where we took part several iterations of Coyle generators and physically built and commissioned a prototype from "scratch."  

Bringing First-Class Mobile Apps to Small Communities with William Mansfield

May 18, 5:00pm, CIE

Small communities and small companies both want excellent apps.  However, the path to creating those apps is only paved for financial giants.  How can a small community or small company reap the rewards without being the trailblazer? These questions and more were answered with Senior Technical Architect William Mansfield. 

Learn to Code with Minecraft

March 1 - May 17, 5:00pm - 6:30pm

A 12-week series by Tikto Plus Seminar.

Chancellor’s High School Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition of 2016

May 14

The first annual Chancellor’s High School Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition of 2016 was presented by the University of North Carolina Wilmington in partnership with Chancellor Sartarelli and UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This competition was an amazing opportunity for High School thinkers, dreamers, and innovators to explore their inner entrepreneurial spirit.

Brand You 2.0 hosted in partnership with Mike Hunter and Pivot Launch Coaching

April 30, 8am-12pm, CIE

Attendees learned how to build their brands and launch their careers.

Wilmington Chamber of Commerce Biz Mix 

April 28, 5:30-6:30 

Attendees learned about the UNCW CIE, met UNCW leaders, and networked with fellow Chamber members.

Financing Your Small Business - Presented by Small Business Technology and Development Center and US Small Business Administration

April 27, 2:00-4:00pm 

Attendees learned how to successfully leverage capital wisely for business startups, veterans, women, minorities, business expansion, refinancing of business debt, lines of credit, business acquisition, contracting, and new or existing commercial real estate.

Fundraising with Anna Tharrington Lunch and Learn Presentation

April 21, 11:30am - 1pm 

Anna’s presentation focused on different types of fundraising (primarily note/debt financings, angel financings and venture capitalist financings) and will provided some useful tools for navigating the investment process.    April 7th, 11:00am - 2:00pm - Women in Technology: Understanding the Technology Job Market Kimberly Griffiths, Senior Solutions Specialist for Adobe, gave a presentation and an interactive small group session that focused on critical elements for creating and thriving in a technology career. 

TED Ex Airlie

March 31

CIE Business Week Event: Entrepreneurial Success with Dave and Vess  

March 30, 5:30-6:30pm 

Aptive Environmental leaders traveled from Utah to speak about their successes in pest control. Dave and Vess spoke about start-ups, the growth of Aptive, their start as entrepreneurs, the opportunity to sell while in college, and the importance of selling. They discussed how they were able to graduate from college debt free and with tens of thousands of dollars in the bank by doing door-to-door sales! Using this capital, they launched Aptive and talked more about how to successfully build capital and launch a business. 

CIE Staff at Biz Expo

March 30

Artificial Intelligence: Human and Machine Learning with Julian Keith and Mike Orr

March 24, 5:00pm 

Dr. Julian Keith and Mr. Mike Orr discussed the possible role that artificial intelligence could have in the future, how technology can be creative, and current research and development. 

Making Innovation and Creativity Work 

March 17, 4:00pm

Keynote Presenter Gail Ostrishko with The HR Group Inc. joined us to discuss how to embrace creativity. Our TED-style talks addressed ideation to innovation, innovating new market segments, know what your customers want before you ideate, and six thinking hats/lateral thinking. 

Hutchinson Lunch and Learn 

March 9

Internship Summit

February 25

Students were able to interview with multiple companies offering paid/unpaid internships. Over 20 companies registered, and 25 students attended.

People Make a Difference HR Event

February 18 

Topics included: ten biggest HR mistakes, personality types in the workplace, team building initiatives, the staffing and hiring process, the principles of HR, diversity in the workplace, and achieving success through others. 

Business Focus Group with Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry

February 4

Starting 2016 Off Right

January 28

Working to generate a healthy company culture. 

Student Art Exhibition

January 26

UNCW students were given the opportunity to present their artwork to the community and their peers through an exhibition held in the CIE. This is held each semester. The art stays on display in the CIE until the next exhibition in order to help promote the work of the students. 

My Sunshine Adventures Website Launch Party

January 12

Networking and marketing website; designed to inform professionals of events and who will be attending them.