UNCW Names Jim Roberts Director of Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Jim Roberts has been appointed Director of UNCW's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), the University announced today during the 2013 Coastal Entrepreneur Awards, an event co-hosted by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal to honor local businesses and the people behind them.

With a grand opening slated for the fall, the CIE will house UNCW's Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC), future tech transfer operations and the Seahawk Fund. Emerging startup businesses will also be housed in the CIE and are expected to begin working at the center this summer. The CIE will also serve as an accelerator space for academic and entrepreneurial pursuits.

"I am thrilled that we have hired Jim Roberts to lead our Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship," commented Chancellor Gary L. Miller. "His vast knowledge and experience will help create the right synergy for entrepreneurs. His leadership will allow UNCW to be the place where start-ups, small businesses, and new ideas and ventures from faculty, staff and students will grow."

Roberts assumed his new position earlier this week and will report to UNCW's Chief of Staff, Max Allen.

"My new role at the CIE is a terrific fit for both my professional experience and my personal passion for innovation and entrepreneurship," commented Roberts. "I am eager to meet with entrepreneurs, UNCW faculty and the community to gather input on the strengths and opportunities that exist in the realm of entrepreneurial development. Aligning available statewide resources with our regional goals will be critical in raising the profile of Wilmington as a fertile ground for emerging entrepreneurs."

Named one of the "40 Most Influential People Under 40" by the Charlotte Business Journal, Roberts's experience with business development, life sciences, information technology and governmental agencies align with the university's vision for the CIE. He started an entrepreneur council in Charlotte called FirstRound during the technology boom of 2000. He was then recruited to the Asheville region to start the Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council (BREC) and Blue Ridge Angel Investor Network (BRAIN) where he hosted the annual Carolina Connect Entrepreneur and Venture Capital Conference. He also served as the Director of Business Development at the Center of Innovation for NanoBiotechnology (COIN), a program of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center; and as a Business Development Manager for the International Trade Division of the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Roberts graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising.

The CIE is located at 803 South College Road, at the south perimeter of the UNCW campus. For more information, please visit