“C” What’s Next For Ventureprise

Categories: General News Tags: News

As we conclude the first semester back on campus since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to reflect on our Fall 2021 programs and look at what is in store for Ventureprise in 2022. We have seen so many excellent and innovative minds this semester, and we are thrilled to work with even more in the coming year!

Recap of Fall 2021

Inclusive Innovation Leadership Academy

Our inaugural cohort for the Inclusive Innovation Leadership Academy had 18 industry leaders ranging from energy to technology development. They attended four workshops in August, provided by Ventureprise, City Startup Labs, Georgia Tech Venture Labs and the NC IDEA Foundation. The programming covered entrepreneurial thinking, mentoring startups, Lean LaunchPad methodology, customer discovery practice and venture readiness and review.

Upon completing the workshops, our Fall 2021 cohort served as NC IDEA Micro Grant reviewers for startups seeking funding through the NC IDEA Fall 2021 cycle grant program. The Inclusive Innovation Leadership Academy concluded with a Match Day event on Sept. 16.

On Match Day, eight North Carolina entrepreneurial organizations pitched opportunities for academy graduates to serve in leadership, mentorship and decision-making roles in their respective groups. Our participants will now take their expertise into the Charlotte startup community to assist entrepreneurs in developing ideas and scaling their businesses.

Click here for a brief look at the Academy, and check out our recent article on it.

49er Impact and Global Entrepreneurship Week

This semester’s 49er Impact program featured seven undergraduate and graduate students at UNC Charlotte who focused on social impact ideas on campus and in the community. They attended several workshops, panels and mentorship hours and learned how to talk about their ideas throughout October.

These students also practiced customer discovery, where they interviewed potential customers and users of their products and asked targeted questions. Our finalists went above and beyond in meeting with mentors and creating three- to four-minute pitches for their ideas.

During Global Entrepreneurship Week (Nov. 8-12), Ventureprise held the 49er Impact Pitch Competition, highlighting the final work of our participants spanning five weeks. Three judges gave feedback to everyone who participated. Ventureprise awarded over $1500 in prizes to four students for their impressive pitches and ideas!

Check out the 49er Impact Pitch Competition recap article and the list of past participants.

Looking Ahead to Spring 2022

Ventureprise has several programs planned for the spring semester, so there will be something for everyone on campus. Even if you only have a simple idea, you can work with us and develop it into a business, program, application or platform. Most of our programming will be available virtually for those who cannot visit our PORTAL office in person.

CLAS 3000-001: Making An Impact: Ideas to Action (CRN 27265)

If you are a student who wants to spark change in your community and beyond, you can earn academic credit for doing so. The LEADS program will partner with Ventureprise in this unique course where you can develop an entrepreneurial mindset to benefit your life and learn how to transform your ideas into action.

You can even win cash and other prizes by competing in Ventureprise programs! This class is designed for anyone interested in making an impact, whether you already have an idea you want to develop or simply want to explore the possibilities.

Making An Impact: Ideas to Action is open to students with a sophomore standing or higher. It is a two-credit course that will meet face-to-face weekly on Tuesdays from 2:30-4:30 pm. We have limited space in this class, so be sure to sign up soon!

Visit your my.charlotte.edu account to register today.

NSF I-Corps

If you are a STEM-based researcher who wants to explore commercialization opportunities, consider joining the spring cohort for Ventureprise Launch NSF I-Corps. Faculty, students and staff members can participate in this six-week program and attend workshops for commercialization advice, training and funding to identify potential customers.

You will need a two-person team with an academic lead (faculty member) and an entrepreneurial lead (student or staff member) with relevant research knowledge. The program prepares participants to extend their focus beyond the university laboratory and helps accelerate the economic and societal benefits of NSF-funded research projects ready to move toward commercialization.

Through I-Corps, participants learn to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research. They gain skills in entrepreneurship through training in customer discovery and guidance from established entrepreneurs.

For a brief look at our Ventureprise Launch NSF I-Corps program, check out the information sheet here.

Charlotte Venture Challenge Credentialing

Regardless of whether you have already participated in Ventureprise programming or not, you can take the next step in your entrepreneurial journey with Charlotte Venture Challenge (CVC) credentialing next spring. This program is available to all students, regardless of major.

We will host a few asynchronous activities spanning several months that are centered around entrepreneurial thinking, customer discovery and pitching your ideas and opportunities. Similar to this fall’s 49er Impact, you will have the opportunity to make your own innovative impact through a social change or business idea.

Upon completing CVC, the credentials you receive will serve as a marker on your resume for professional development. You will demonstrate experience working with student entrepreneurs, conducting customer discovery interviews and marketing your ventures.

CVC will feature a variety of panels, many of which come from Ventureprise. It showcases outstanding pitches, and it is where the university meets the community, highlighting campus research, community teams and student ideas. The program culminates in a pitch competition, which also serves as a networking event for up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

You can watch the 2021 Charlotte Venture Challenge & Innovation Virtual Summit here and check out past events.

49er Foundry

If you are looking for a physical space to work on your ideas, the 49er Foundry is just what you need. Ventureprise has just received approval to open our 49er Foundry, a co-working space for students and recent graduates. It builds a community of student innovators and entrepreneurs who learn and work together to amplify their entrepreneurial efforts.

The 49er Foundry is located in Suite 202A of the PORTAL building and will be open from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm. You can find the application here, and anyone can apply for a spot as long as they are in good standing with the university. Once you apply, you will have an in-person interview with the Ventureprise director, Devin Collins, and assistant director, Laura Smailes.

As you can see, there is something for everyone here at Ventureprise, whether it be resources and information or programming and mentorships. We have had an incredibly successful Fall 2021 semester, and we expect Spring 2022 to be even more productive and eventful. Experience what entrepreneurship and innovation on campus are like for yourself!