Student Programming

Our program mission is to help students develop entrepreneurial thinking skills and make an impact with their ideas through co-curricular activities and impactful learning.


49er Impact is an interactive pitch competition built by our students that CEI holds each semester. CEI hosts a number of workshops, panels, mentor office hours, networking and other initiatives geared to meet student needs. These events, along with other curricular and co-curricular activities, culminate in the Charlotte Venture Challenge, a showcase and competition each semester.


The 49er Foundry is UNC Charlotte’s student idea incubator program. This is a wholly student-focused program and exists to encourage and support students in entrepreneurship and innovation. 

Program Benefits

  • No cost furnished office space within the student incubator 
  • Access to mentors and center resources
  • Access to amenities such as shared conference room, coffee and tea bar, shared copiers, printers
  • Access to Charlotte’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, who can provide additional coaching, mentoring and connections
  •  Access to funding opportunities, networking with local founders and partnership opportunities


Program Qualifications

  • Must be a current UNC Charlotte student
  • Venture and/or idea is aligned to founding members technical, creative and business skills 
  • Commitment to exploring innovative and entrepreneurial ideologies, processes and trends  
  • Completion of entrepreneurial programming such as the Credential Program, Pitch Event, academic project or advised as an academic recommendation

Program Requirements

  • Attend no less than two center events per semester
  • Remain responsive to time sensitive communications with a response time of 24-48 hours 
  • Provide Idea status twice per semester

Admissions Process

  • Submit your application
  • In-person interview
  • Decision will be made within two weeks

For more information, contact Carrie Bovill or Laura Smailes.


This cohesive, interactive program will allow students to show that they have acquired specific skills or competencies useful in the workplace. Recent studies have shown that there is a growing 1099 workforce and employers are looking for graduates that understand how to create value by solving problems. The skills acquired during this program will provide students with competencies that you will be able to highlight on your resume, Portfolium and LinkedIn. Think of these as professional development skills to propel you in your industry and/or launch your own company or non-profit organization that tackles a community issue.

This program consists of networking and mentoring opportunities. Students have access to panels, interviews with community and campus leaders, asynchronous learning modules and in-person workshops – all focusing on customer discovery, design thinking, storytelling, innovation and collaboration. The skills learned through this program are instrumental in assisting students and can be transferable to any career choice.

Each micro-credential is 10-12 co-curricular hours, that is programmed to work with, and accentuate, a student’s academic studies. There are three milestones for each micro-credential and each one has several options to fit everyone’s schedule. 

  1. Entrepreneurial Thinking
    • Milestone 1: Intro to Entrepreneurial Mindset
    • Milestone 2: Intro to Customer Discovery
    • Milestone 3: Making Your Impact
  2. Customer Discovery + Design Thinking
  3. Launch Your Idea


Applicants must be current students at UNC Charlotte. Students can sign up at any time during the semester and attend any of the events.


Complete this assessment or email Laura Smailes.


The Undergraduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship provides students with an understanding of how to think and act entrepreneurially in efficient and effective ways. Open to all UNC Charlotte undergraduate students, the certificate aims to satisfy the increasing societal demand for skill sets related to entrepreneurship, such as being able to recognize and evaluate opportunities or knowing how to create and communicate a vision.


The graduate-level Entrepreneurship and Innovation Certificate provides students with unique skills to complement their existing education and experiences in order to create new ventures or to add new value to their corporate employers. In particular, the certificate is relevant for students who are:

  • Seeking to become managers who can more effectively envision new opportunities and understand how to leverage resources to pursue those opportunities 
  • Aiming to achieve proficiency as marketing practitioners who can understand customer needs and direct their firm’s innovative efforts towards viable solutions
  • Searching for jobs as engineers and scientists who desire to understand the practical relevance of their work and how they can transform their work into solutions to address societal needs and support superior organizational performance


Area 49 is on the second floor of the J. Murrey Atkins Library, and is open to all current UNC Charlotte students, faculty and staff. It’s designed to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration, experimentation and exploration. These spaces provide students and researchers access to specialized equipment that enables Area 49 to serve as the catalyst for ideation, innovation, and entrepreneurial research and development.

Makerspace is designed to support:

  • Low-tech and high-tech making
  • Prototyping
  • Design thinking
  • Academic or personal projects

The space is equipped for all kinds of making, and contains equipment and materials such as 3D printers, a laser cutter, desktop CNC routers, sewing machines, paints, wood, circuitry kits, textiles and more.


How can I use the Makerspace?

You can use our tools and supplies for any academic or personal use. You can use a machine once you are trained on it. Go to the Technology Instruction page to find the current list of workshops and trainings and to register.


There are no fees associated with using the Makerspace tools and equipment, but users will pay for selected consumable supplies. Payments are collected at the Circulation Desk on the first floor.

Reserving Machine Time

Any machine requiring extended use time, such as the 3D printers, the CNC milling machines and the laser cutter, must be reserved in the Group Study system. You will gain access to the schedules for these machines once you undergo trainings.

If you have any questions, please email or talk with a Makerspace Monitor.

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