Xaver Neumeyer

November 12, 2019

Xaver Neumeyer recognizes a strong connection between engineering and entrepreneurship because he has experience with both. After earning a Ph.D. in engineering, he transitioned to researching entrepreneurship which, like his original career choice, encourages creativity and imagination. 

As his research has shown, entrepreneurship also encourages empowerment. Neumeyer, who came to UNCW in August 2018 as an assistant professor of management, studies entrepreneurs from economically disadvantaged communities or underrepresented demographic groups who, out of necessity, create their own opportunities. 

Residents of high-poverty areas who start businesses “are excellent entrepreneurs,” he said. “They have to be scrappy. They don’t have venture capital. They don’t have banks making them big loans. They have to be very efficient.” 

Neumeyer’s research focuses primarily on developed countries, where thriving economies often exist alongside communities with high poverty rates and low job prospects. But those settings also nurture an entrepreneurial mindset, he said, even if on a smaller scale than well-capitalized startups that make headlines. 

Neumeyer has published several articles in professional journals this year relating to entrepreneurship and underrepresented communities in the Journal of Small Business Management, Small Business Economics and The Journal of Technology Transfer

After a faculty position at the University of North Dakota, Neumeyer sought an institution where he could better leverage his engineering background and interest in technology and found UNCW. His office in Cameron Hall is lined with futuristic space travel posters designed by staff at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a nod to both his engineering background and the entrepreneurial spirit. In his first year on the faculty, he organized the inaugural Big Idea Competition

In Wilmington, the native of Germany has found both a social network and an outlet for his favorite pastime among the area’s international community. 

“I have played and watched soccer (a.k.a. football) since I was little,” Neumeyer said. “It’s the dominating sport in Germany, and I think a great example of when good teamwork can outperform a collection of individualists.” 

-- Tricia Vance