CIE Showcases Student Entrepreneurship Opportunities at Open House

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship invites students to find out how the CIE can help them develop, finance and market their own business. The Second Annual CIE Welcome Week event runs from 5-7 p.m. Aug. 25 at 803 S. College Road near the main campus.

“Students interested in starting a business or getting involved with a fast-growth venture in Wilmington will want to stop by,” said Diane Durance, CIE director. “We’re making connections happen and introducing students to university and off-campus opportunities for learning, employment and entrepreneurship.”

At the CIE, members of the business community join UNCW faculty and students to turn ideas into new entrepreneurial enterprises. Coaching and resources are available to help students, CIE members and tenants navigate the logistics of starting a business, including developing a business plan, seeking financing and marketing.

Leah Sherrill ’16 was among those who came to last year’s welcome event. The special education major worked with graduate student David Morrison to launch Special Pedals Inc., a company that trains and employs people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in bicycle repair and maintenance. The venture was a runner-up in the UNC System Social Entrepreneurship Conference and Competition.

Sherrill said CIE gave her the tools to fully develop her idea. “When I came in, I had no business background at all,” she said. “What CIE did most for me was provide me with the opportunity and the resources to help my business grow.”

This year, booths featuring companies and CIE groups will be set up outside so students can talk to tenants and local sponsors, including Seahawk Innovation, Lapetus, Port City Robotics and Elite Innovations. UNCW resources such as the Career Center and the Cameron School of Business will also be on-hand, and students may tour the CIE.

The welcome event will feature games, prizes (including gift cards to local merchants), and a free taco bar provided by Islands Fresh Mexican Grill. The first 100 students to drop in will get a free T-shirt, and DJ Battle will provide music.

Free round-trip transportation will be provided from Wagoner Dining Hall and the Hawk’s Nest.

-- Tricia Vance