Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

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Past Events


Grant Writing Basics for Social-Impact Ventures

March 15th

5:30 - 7:30 PM

Back by popular demand, David Morrison, MPA, CMRc and Althea Lewis, MBA, MCE teamed up to present this action-packed seminar focusing on the basics of grant writing for social good. Nonprofits and socially-responsible organizations welcome.

In the session, participants learned to:
• Identify and understand the value components of a grant application, including the request for proposal (RFP) and letter of inquiry (LOI)
• Develop key strategies for success from the introduction to the last line item of the budget
• Discover online tools and resources that you can use to impact the way your organization finds, outlines, and delivers effective grant proposals today

NC fILM Forum: Connecting Our Community's Creatives

March 14th

5:30 - 7:00 PM

Wilmington Brewing Company

A monthly gathering of the Wilmington film community coming together for local artists' screenings, networking, and discussion about how to advance the film industry in the ILM.

Meredith Jones and Mary Margaret Folds, co-founders of Firelux Films, shared their comedic story about the lessons they learned as entrepreneurs in the Creative Startups cohort. 

Cold Calling & Overcoming a Sales Slump

March 13th

4:00 - 6:00 PM

Cold call like a champ & keep your head UP! Seminar with David Reeser. Participants:

  • Learned powerful cold-calling techniques for in-person and phone sales
  • Achieved a victory mindset to overcome a sales slump, create longevity in your sales career, and earn more money in less time
  • Made more money with positive, powerful, easy-to-learn sales strategies
  • Learned to set yourself up for success and overcome the slings and arrows of the sales world
  • Learned more about sales, marketing, and other fields where influence is important

Avoiding HR Nightmares – Intro to Employee Relations

March 8th

5:00 - 6:30 PM

From bad hires to underperformers to substance use affecting the workplace to office romance gone bad, the list can go on and on. This session brought truth, humor and advice to business leaders about getting through sticky situations with employees. Session hosted by Lisa Leath of Leath HR Group.

Going Beyond the Pink: What's Normal, What's Not

March 6th

5:00 - 6:30 PM

Helping women and men to become active participants in their own breast health. Participants:

  • Learned skills needed to perform a self-exam using life-like models.
  • Learned what is normal for your breasts and what signs/symptoms are not normal.
  • Learned how to be a good advocate for their own breast health.

AI Series Meetup

February 27th

5:30 - 7:30 PM

Folks interested in artificial intelligence, how it might affect business, and creating products that use AI gathered to talk with others in the Wilmington area that shared the interest.

The AI Series meets each month on the 4th Tuesday to discuss a hot topic in the world of AI. 

Our first event was hosted by Dr. Curry Guinn and Dr. Karl Ricanek of UNCW Computer Science, Dr. Julian Keith of UNCW Psychology, and Michael Orr of Watson Group/Watson Health Group/IBM. 

Tuesdays with Tobin: From Problem to Product

February 27th

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Tobin Geatz, Co-Founder and General Partner of Seahawk Innovation, joined the CIE for seminars on entrepreneurship. His vision and leadership have helped Seahawk Innovation and their unique model to launch, fund, expand, and manage innovative businesses.

In today's fast-paced startup world, a comprehensive model that shows where all cash flows interact with your solution is way more important than the old “classic” business plan. The business model approach is a flexible, living, breathing representation of how to make money! By the end of this session, participants could identify the single biggest threat to their startup succeeding.

EBD 380 Entrepreneurship Speaker Series: Alex Dale, Ward and Smith on Business Law and Intellectual Property

February 26th

5:30 - 6:30 PM (Part 1)

6:30 - 7:45 PM (Part 2)

Experts came to speak to students--and you. CIE Director Diane Durance taught an entrepreneurship class at UNCW. As part of the class, she brought speakers to the CIE.

Feb. 26th's speakers were:

Alex Dale, attorney at Ward and Smith, gave consecutive presentations:

"Business Law for Startups." Alex addressed some of the most common questions and situations that arise in the early days of forming and starting a business. Attendees learned the pros and cons of different business structures. Other topics included employment agreements, contracts with customers and suppliers, leases and purchase agreements.  

"Building and Protecting Intellectual Property." Alex shifted gears to cover the basics of Intellectual Property. Take steps to protect your inventions, products, research, and brand with the right tools. Attendees learned when and how patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets create value for business.   

NC fILM Forum presents: An ILM Music Video Party

February 24th

6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Waterline Brewery

We had over 50 submissions from filmmakers and bands statewide and showcased this selection with filmmakers representing Asheville, Raleigh, Jacksonville, Winston, Greensboro, and Wilmington. It was a kickoff to 2018 and all the art/fILM/dance/music collaborations that are about to take over our state

Hosted by Honey Head Films, the NC fILM Forum Admins, UNCW CIE, & Cucalorus.

Nonprofit or Social-Impact Venture? Grow the Right Organization to Maximize Your Impact

February 22nd

5:30 - 7:30 PM

Participants joined David Morrison, MPA, CMRc of DF Morrison Consulting as he prepared them for working in the social sector. They learned:

• The differences between nonprofit and for-profit social- impact ventures and why your decision matters
• How to test your idea with your community
• What it takes (structurally speaking) let your positive spark shine brighter in today’s social economy.

EBD 380 Entrepreneurship Speaker Series: Pat Fontana, Words Working

February 19th

5:00 - 6:30 PM

Experts came to speak to students--and you. CIE Director Diane Durance taught an entrepreneurship class at UNCW. As part of the class, she brought speakers to the CIE.

Feb. 19th's speaker was Pat Fontana, CEO of Words Working, presenting, "Talk to me like I’m a human!" In business, we are inundated with electronic communications. Between the texting, tweeting, posting, and messaging, though, we need to focus on the real humans that are on the receiving end of our communications. In this session, we worked on real-life exercises that reminded us how to communicate with the humans we are connected to in our businesses!

GenFKD Info Session

February 15th

6:00 - 7:30 PM

Interested in gaining financial literacy, career prep, and entrepreneurial skills? Participants learned about the UNCW chapter of GenFKD and what it has to offer. 

  • Interactive workshops
  • Guest speakers
  • Hands-on skills training
GenFKD is equipping millennials with the skills and education necessary to create and lead the “new economy.” Founded in 2013 as a financial literacy organization, GenFKD is growing into an organization that’s revolutionizing American higher education. Constituting the most educated, indebted generation to date, millennials have been misled by a higher education system unwilling to take responsibility for post-graduate outcomes.

Intro to Marketing with Michael Barbera

February 8th

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Michael Barbera is an award-winning consumer psychologist and strategy consultant for Fortune 50 companies. His areas of practice are consumer behavior, consumer emotions, social psychology, decision-making, brand management, marketing, and long-term business strategies. Michael is currently employed as the CEO of Barbera Solutions. His clients can be found on the Fortune 50 list and several television programs show as ABC's Shark Tank and Bravo's Million Dollar Listing. In 2015, the White House recognized Michael for his contributions to entrepreneurship. 

In this session, Michael shared his research and experiences as a marketing expert for your small business. Coffee and snacks provided.

EBD 380 Entrepreneurship Speaker Series: David Reeser, IT Works and Heather McWhorter, SBTDC

February 5th

5:30 - 6:30 PM (Part 1)

6:30 - 7:45 PM (Part 2)

Experts came to speak to students--and you. CIE Director Diane Durance taught an entrepreneurship class at UNCW. As part of the class, she brought speakers to the CIE, and you were invited to attend for free.

Feb. 5th's speakers were:

David Reeser, CEO of IT Works, gave the presentation: "The Best Sales Training in the Galaxy." To become a great salesperson you must learn to excel at influencing others. It is not enough to have the gift of gab; you must have a focused sales strategy built on a sincere desire to satisfy your prospect's "pain." This sales seminar was all about you and helping you be the best influencer you can be.

Heather McWhorter, Regional Director of the SBTDC, gave the presentation: "Financial Literacy for Startups." Participants joined Heather and MSA graduate student, Natalia Salgado, to explore the financial concepts that support startup success. Participants learned how to create a meaningful cash-flow projection and develop a greater understanding of the numbers on your balance sheet and income statement. Having relevant and timely financial information is critical to effective decision-making.  

Big Tax Changes for Small Business

January 31st

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Heard about the 1,097 page tax law that just passed on December 22, 2017?  Wondering what the new tax law means for you as an entrepreneur or small business owner?  The short answer is: it means a lot!  These were the biggest tax changes in decades and affect business owners at every level.  In this presentation, Pronto Tax School Founder Andy Frye and CPA Adam Shay teamed up to tell you what you needed to know about the new tax law, to keep your taxes as low as possible while staying out of hot water with the IRS.

Leadership Lessons from the Battlefield for Today's Business Leaders

January 30th

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

A speech and discussion about the effects of poor leadership in businesses and ways to remedy this, given by Colonel (Retired) Rob Campbell, Author and Leadership Consultant.

NC IDEA: Writing a Winning Grant Application

January 25th

4:00 - 6:00 PM

In this event, NC IDEA Foundation provided an overview of all NC IDEA programming, specifically focusing on its upcoming NC IDEA SEED Program, which provides $50,000 grants to early-stage, high-growth companies.

In the first hour, NC IDEA walked through the various programs of the foundation and discussed those that might benefit your company, including NC IDEA LABS and NC IDEA SOAR.

In the second hour, NC IDEA walked companies through the various components of the NC IDEA SEED application, providing tips and best practices for writing a successful application. (Applications for the NC IDEA SEED program will open 2/12 and close 2/26. See this link for more details.)

Tuesdays (Wednesday) with Tobin: Creating a Successful Startup in the 21st Century

January 24th **CHANGED FROM JAN. 23**

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Tobin Geatz, Co-Founder and General Partner of Seahawk Innovation, joined the CIE for seminars on entrepreneurship. His vision and leadership have helped Seahawk Innovation and their unique model to launch, fund, expand, and manage innovative businesses. Participants discovered:

  •  What your startup needs to be successful in the 21st century

  •  Why money doesn't solve your problems as a startup

  •  What Seahawk Innovation looks for in its startup companies from an investor's point of view

LinkedIn & Personal Brand Workshop with Pivot Launch Coaching & Whittington Consulting Group

January 17th

3:00 - 5:00 PM

Mike Hunter and Neal Whittington co-presented on the power of branding combined with the reach of LinkedIn. Once they shifted mindsetS on how these two things go together, they facilitated a profile work session. Attendees walked away with a fresh understanding of why branding is so important today and how to get the most out of their LinkedIn profile. 

Welcome Wednesdays


9:00 - 10:30 AM

These informal bi-weekly meetings provided an open forum for interested students, faculty and community members to exchange information pertinent to the growth and success of their businesses. Individuals meet CIE director Diane Durance and members of Seahawk Innovation, a venture funding and mentoring firm operating within the CIE.