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Nov 30, 2023

Celebrating Student Entrepreneurs and Global Entrepreneurship Week at UNCW

Sponsored Content provided by Robert Burrus - Dean , Cameron School of Business - UNC-Wilmington

This piece was contributed by Jamie Stalfort, full-time lecturer in Entrepreneurship within CSB.

November is nationally recognized as Global Entrepreneurship Month, and Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is a huge part of the celebration. GEW is an international movement, occurring in 200 countries, with 10 million people participating in 40,000 activities! Because the focus of GEW is about removing barriers and inviting all to the entrepreneurial community, every program is a critical component of helping everyone to succeed through entrepreneurship. 

In 2023, GEW is supported by many Wilmington Coalition partners and UNCW programs including: Brunswick Community College Small Business Center, Cape Fear Community College Small Business Center, Channel powered by Live Oak Bank, Network for Entrepreneurs in Wilmington, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, and UNCW Cameron School of Business, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Research and Innovation. Wilmington has been dubbed as an entrepreneurial hub, due in part to the robust collaboration between resource partners in the ecosystem. Since 2019, new business filings in New Hanover County have shot up significantly and continue to grow steadily. These resource partners work together with the Cameron School of Business to support and grow small businesses, innovative marine science ventures, mid-size companies that provide jobs to our area, mom and pops, and more.

Some of the shining highlights include this year’s inaugural Seahawk Innovation Challenge. Students from all majors at UNCW participated in the multi-round showdown which took place over the course of the fall semester, culminating in the final pitch on November 14th. The NC Idea Foundation also awarded a $1700 grant to the Department of Management for the prize money. The top three ideas were:

Oceanside Commercial Photography – A commercial photography business started by UNCW junior Owen Palmer, specializing in real estate and interior design.

Film It Forward – A small film company startup that also donates a portion of time and production capacity to non-profits, started by MFA student Kim Carr. 

And finally, junior Mallory Gardner’s innovative siren detection system that automatically lowers the volume in cars when a siren is detected in the vicinity. 

Owen Palmer took home first place, Kim Carr took second place, and Mallory Gardner took third place.

Entrepreneurship thrives in environments where there are limited resources available, specifically financial resources.

Encouraging students at the collegiate level to engage in entrepreneurship is no easy feat, especially when pursuing their idea requires significant capital. As the Seahawk Innovation Challenge grows, we hope to be able to offer students more opportunities to connect with community members, receive mentoring from peers and experienced entrepreneurs, and jumpstart their ideas. 

Other exciting events included 1 Million Cups, a weekly networking program hosted by the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. GEW’s presenter was Evan Lord with Coach Note, a startup that turns coaching audio into insightful summaries, tips, and performance analytics. 

Global Entrepreneurship week is an integral part of Cameron’s commitment to engage with students and the community. CSB is dedicated to working with our resource partners to provide our students with education, mentorship, and practical support to reach their entrepreneurial goals. GEW 2023 was a smashing success, and we can’t wait for next year! 

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