Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

CIE News


The CIE at Cucalorus CONNECT

by Nikki Kroushl on October 27, 2017

Cucalorus Connect 2017

Cucalorus Festival, one of the most celebrated film and arts events in Wilmington for two decades, makes its 23rd return Nov. 8-12 in an epic five-day conference. Cucalorus CONNECT arrives for its third year in the Port City!

CONNECT brings together industry experts, entrepreneurs, innovators, and community leaders from across North Carolina to show off what an incredible entrepreneurial ecosystem exists in Wilmington. This year’s conference, led by Connect Executive Board President Tom Looney, will focus on the connected digital economy. The conference will explore the digital transformation through three primary tracks: digital industrial, digital enterprise, and digital consumer. Local companies, regional thought-leaders and presenters from across the US will discuss emerging trends in tech, media, social entrepreneurship and industry.

The conference includes dynamic speakers, interactive workshops, Rocket Pitches, networking opportunities, and parties. And once again, the CIE has an active role in the panels and festivities. For example:

  • Of the four Rocket Pitches, three are CIE-affiliated and two are student-owned startups.
  • Three CIE staff members are hosting panels.
  • Ten Cameron School of Business students are participating in the 10x10 Shadow Project.
  • The CIE Media Team, made up of UNCW film studies students, will be filming live feeds throughout the weekend.
  • And of course we’ll be present at the Kickoff Party to celebrate the start of the week!

Below are some of the highlight events of CONNECT that the CIE and its staff have a direct hand in.

Cucalorus Kickoff Party, Nov. 7, 5:30 p.m. - Our friends at TekMountain are hosting drinks, refreshments, and good times. 

Featured Lunch Keynotes: Fred Meyers and Paul Palmieri, Nov. 9, 12 p.m. - Fred Meyers (President of Queensboro Shirts Company) talks "Intuition, Character and Innovation in Teams, Business and the Digital Economy," and Paul Palmieri (Managing Partner of Grit Capital) talks "Data and the Mobile Ecosystem: What's Next?"

VETRACONx, Nov. 9, 1:45 p.m. - CIE friend and mentor Michael Barbera hosts and facilitates four TED-talk-style presentations from entrepreneurs who are military veterans.

Giving New Life and Memory to Metal, Nov. 9, 1:45 p.m. - CIE friend and mentor Bruce Mancinelli hosts a feature on Lucid Innovative Technologies, a new manufacturing and distribution company for medical and dental devices.

Crowdfunding to Build Independence, Nov. 9, 1:45 p.m. - Emily Best, CEO and founder of Seed&Spark, clearly lays out the steps toward a successful crowdfunding campaign, as well as the intersection between crowdfunding, audience connection, and career independence.

Seahawk Innovation - SportGait and ERBITs, Nov. 10, 10:15 a.m. - Seahawk Innovation founder and CIE mentor Tobin Geatz talks about ERBITs and SportGait, state-of-the-art technologies created by Seahawk Innovation-funded and CIE-housed companies SeekerDNA and LifeGait, respectively. "Growing entrepreneurs by identifying large, scalable problems and applying innovative solutions."

The Impact of Digital on the News Media: The Growing Offense Against Fake News, Nov. 10, 10:15 a.m. - Featuring CIE friend and mentor Fran Scarlett, this panel will be a lively discussion about how local news media has dealt with the influence of the digital on their audiences.

The Nuts and Bolts of Grant Writing, Nov. 10, 10:15 a.m. - The CIE's Nonprofit Adviser in Residence, David Morrison, shares his grant writing expertise geared toward artists, entrepreneurs, and filmmakers. 

Branded Video Showcase, Nov. 10, 11:30 a.m. - See examples of branded content from production companies competing in the 10x10 Challenge.

Collaboration Fuels Design Innovation & Social Change, Nov. 10, 11:30 a.m. - Andrew Williams of Elite Innovations and Aly Khalifa discuss collaboration across industries and how it leads to revolutionary products and tech.

Featured Lunch Keynotes: Gary Bonilla and Tom Morris, Nov. 10, 12:30 p.m. - Gary Bonilla talks "Planes, Hurricanes, and Automobiles," and Tom Morris talks "Socrates in Silicon Valley: The Philosophy of Steve Jobs."

Making Waves in Global Seafood Sustainability, Nov. 10, 2:15 p.m. - CIE Director Diane Durance joins Gary Vidmar (InnovateSENC) and David Cessna (Sandbar Oyster Company) to discuss current trends and concerns in the coastal oyster farming industry.  

Cucalorus Oyster Party, Nov. 10, 5 p.m. - Celebrate the conclusion of the CONNECT conference with raw oysters and a swanky evening at the Bellamy Mansion.

10x10 Challenge Screening, Nov. 12, 4:45 p.m. - Entrepreneurs (Vavaroom, The Foxes Boxes, Maverick American Spearfishing LLC, Pivot Launch Coaching, TagProspect, Anahata Swimwear, DoorBoards, Kidobit, Meredith Media Group, and Creative Unions Event Design) were paired with filmmakers at the beginning of the week. They had five days to make a four-minute promotional video. Come see the (phenomenal) results.

Rocket Pitches - After the lunch keynotes on Nov. 9 and 10, entrepreneurs will compete to win cash prizes in Rocket Pitches! Three of the four pitchers are CIE-affiliate,d including:

  • Happy Fish, a student-owned startup
  • Brilliant Sole, a CIE tenant making a splash with its VR locomotion technology
  • ModPod, a student-owned startup centered around e-cigarettes

Come out and see these great events! Purchase tickets here.

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