UNCW Names Diane Durance Director of UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Diane Durance has been named director of the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), the university announced today. She will assume her duties beginning June 20, 2016.

Durance brings 10 years of leading, coaching and mentoring startup technology ventures and entrepreneurial support organizations to UNCW. She is currently president of MiQuest, a Michigan 501(c)(3) supporting early- and second-stage ventures across the state.

“After a very competitive search process, I’m pleased to welcome Diane to the helm of the CIE,” said Ron Vetter, UNCW’s associate provost for research and dean of the graduate school. “She understands the challenges entrepreneurs face in the startup and growth phases. Her experience and expertise will help us continue to provide business start-ups the tools and resources to get off the ground and grow.”

Prior to her position at MiQuest, she served as executive director for Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest (GLEQ), the predecessor to MiQuest and president of the Ann Arbor IT Zone, the region’s first incubator for start-up technology ventures. Additionally, she launched and operated a telecommunications engineering firm, a contract publishing firm and a residential construction company. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Public Administration, both from Southern Methodist University.

As director of the CIE, Durance will collaborate with various campus units and centers as well as businesses, government agencies and investors to enhance the mission of the CIE as a leading business accelerator and incubator space for UNCW and Southeastern North Carolina.

“I’m excited to be joining the CIE and look forward to accelerating the growth of a dynamic, collaborative, and resource-rich entrepreneurial environment at UNCW and throughout the region,” Durance said. “I’m impressed by the work that has been done to establish the CIE and I’m eager to build on the strengths of its programs and relationships to support and increase the success of student, faculty and community ventures.”

Since it opened its doors in 2013, the CIE has given local startups a place to call home and nurtured high-growth, high-impact companies in southeastern North Carolina. It partners with the Greater Wilmington Business Journal to spotlight entrepreneurs and nonprofits in the Cape Fear region with the annual Coastal Entrepreneur Awards. Many of those businesses have their roots at UNCW or in the CIE. In addition, it hosts nearly 100 events each year centered around relevant economic challenges and opportunities for today’s growing businesses.

--Caroline Cropp