Entrepreneurship and Small Business Engagement

UNC Charlotte and the Office of Research Partnerships support the Charlotte region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem in a variety of ways. As an example, we offer a Start-up Rate Incentive Program for space licensing in both the PORTAL innovation center and laboratory facilities. Within the PORTAL building we house the following entrepreneurship and small business support programs:

Center for entrepreneurship & innovation

Located in the PORTAL building, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is a UNC Charlotte affiliated organization that serves as a venture development and entrepreneurship and customer discovery unit for the university. Its programs primarily target innovation-driven entrepreneurs, university researchers, and university students interested in entrepreneurship. A focal point for students is the 49er Foundry student business incubator operated by Ventureprise in the PORTAL innovation center.

Ventureprise manages the National Science Foundation I-Corps Site at UNC Charlotte. This evidence-based entrepreneurship and customer discovery focused program is open to qualified UNC Charlotte researchers. Cohorts are offered several times annually. I-Corps is designed to both accelerate commercialization progress and to increase the commercialization understanding of faculty and students. UNC Charlotte was the first I-Corps site to be established in the Carolinas.

Students (undergraduate and graduate) and emerging entrepreneurs from the Carolinas and adjacent states compete annually in the Charlotte Venture Challenge business competition organized by UNC Charlotte and Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Additionally, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation collaborated with the BIG Council and the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute to create the first comprehensive assessment of metro Charlotte innovation and entrepreneurship. View the Impact of Innovation: Charlotte Entrepreneur Growth Report here.

Office of Research Commercialization and Development (ORCD)

UNC Charlotte’s Office of Research Commercialization and Development is one of the country’s best in putting intellectual capital to work. The University leverages its strong tradition of applied research and its progressive stance on licensing to transfer technology to the marketplace. The Office of Research Commercialization and Development’s commitment to economic development has resulted in the formation of companies, jobs and the addition of millions of dollars to the economy. It identifies, protects, and commercializes university research and intellectual property. ORCD works closely with faculty, students, and staff to help bring new technology and innovation to market and assists with the invention and patent process, confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, and material transfer agreements.

Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC)

The Small Business and Technology Development Center is a leading resource for growing and developing businesses. The SBTDC experienced business advisory team offers confidential, in-depth business counseling to mid-sized company business owners and management staff. Located in the PORTAL building, SBTDC provides services in areas such as planning, financial management, human resources, marketing, and operations as well as training and education for business startups.