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UNCW Entrepreneur Center making changes to help community

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — From helping university grads become entrepreneurs to serving business owners in southeastern North Carolina, the UNCW Entrepreneurship Center continues to grow.

UNCW Chancellor Gary Miller announced today that the university plans to reorganize its Entrepreneurship Center as a Limited Liability Corporation. Leaders say this new flexibility will allow them to better serve the community’s needs.

“When it comes to supporting entrepreneurship in southeastern North Carolina, UNCW means business,” Miller said.

UNCW is making a move it says is critically important to the region’s economic future. The Entrepreneurship Center announced a new plan to become a LLC so it can better assist start-up companies.

The center has already indirectly created 52 jobs and 27 student internships for area small businesses.

“Some of the seeds we’re planting together we won’t see that output for three, four or five years,” Entrepreneurship Center Director Jonathan Rowe said. “As those trees grow hopefully we’ll have a ton of companies, maybe of the likes of PPD that exist five or 10 years from now, and the impact and benefit that will have to the region will be huge, and we’ll all win.”

The Entrepreneurship Center started at the Cameron School of Business back in January 2010. Although as part of this new plan it will leave the building, leaders say they will continue to work with students.

“I plan to use it for advice and just helping me grow, and the Rocket Pitch events as well. They have so many great resources,” UNCW senior Deborah Conley said.

Conley wants to start up a business in Pender County that will create biofuels from algae. She says the idea could help our country get away from using petroleum products.

Conley hopes to use the Entrepreneurship Center just like alum Kristen Beckmeyer, co-owner of Coastal Cupcakes did.

“We met all of our mentors through the center, and it’s been huge in getting us connected with people and helping us to grow,” Beckmeyer said.

UNCW says the Entrepreneurship Center has helped startup companies secure more than $5 million in equity financing.

More: continued here

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