NCSU Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

The Engineering Entrepreneurs Program is one part of the vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem at NCSU. This ecosystem helps NCSU students while they are on campus, and can in some cases also help entrepreneurs who are not directly affiliated with NCSU (see below). Here is a map to the ecosystem:

For NCSU Students

If you are a student at NCSU, there are many different programs and services designed to broaden your entrepreneurial opportunities. They include:

  • The Entrepreneurial Initiative – This is the big umbrella that houses many of the campus-wide entrepreneurial programs at NCSU. Among other things the EI offers the Silicon Valley trip every spring and the local entrepreneurs tour every fall. The EI also sponsors the ELS (Entrepreneurs Lecture Series).
  • The eGames – Another offering from the EI is an entrepreneurial competition every spring that gives away tens of thousands of dollars to entrepreneurs on campus.
  • The Entrepreneurs Village – If you want to live an entrepreneurial lifestyle, the Entrepreneurs Village is an immersive dorm experience for entrepreneurial students.
  • The Garage – A campus-wide facility open to all students with entrepreneurial aspirations. The Garage contains prototyping tools like 3D printers, laser cutters and wood-working tools, office space, meeting space, video production facilities, etc. Services are free to students who become members of the Garage.
  • The Hunt Library Makerspace – 3D printing, laser cutting, poster printing, etc. are available in the Hunt library on a for-fee basis.
  • The Hunt Library Game Lab – If your startup is developing games, you may be able to test them here.  See also other technology opportunities including the creativity studio, the usability lab, the media production studios, the visualization lab, etc.
  • The Open Hardware Makerspace – 3D printing and other services
  • The College of Design Materials Lab – If you can get access to it, the woodworking and metalworking facilities in the College of Design appear to be the most extensive available on campus.
  • NCSU VentureBoard – A directory of many of the entrepreneurial students and companies on campus.
  • NCSU Partnership Concierge – “Is your company looking for a competitive advantage? Perhaps we can help. NC State collaborates with organizations large and small in a variety of mutually beneficial ways. We can help you locate the resources you need to overcome obstacles and create value.”
  • Chancellor’s Innovation Fund – “The CIF assists NCSU innovators with reduction to practice or technology/product development needed to strengthen the commercial potential of intellectual property disclosed to the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT). Applicants for the funds are Innovators actively engaged with OTT who wish to enhance the commercial potential for promising technologies.”
  • The Engineering Entrepreneurs Program – The EEP gives seniors in the College of Engineering an alternative to their department’s senior project in the form of a two-semester entrepreneurial track. Students form teams and start with a blank sheet to paper to create an entrepreneurial company and product.
  • EI General Education Classes – EI201 (Exploring Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurial Thinking) and EI331 (Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurial Thinking I: Skills and Planning Basics) are university-wide classes that offer an introductory entrepreneurial experience.
  • The Product Innovation Lab – A multi-disciplinary concentration that bridges between the College of Management, the College of Design and the College of Engineering. “We challenge graduate students in management and engineering to provide innovative marketable solutions, in response to loosely defined needs provided by the project’s sponsoring companies.”
  • Innovatio + Design Cluster – “Provides students with opportunities to explore new forms of business innovation and design practice; forge new concepts of design services and practices; teach the skills necessary to bring new products and services to local and global marketplaces; and interact with individuals engaged in the complex process of innovation.”
  • Innovation Management MBA – “The NC State Jenkins MBA Program’s Innovation Management curricula utilizes its network both on and off campus to give you practical product development experience from inception to completion.”
  • Entrepreneurship and Technology Commercialization MBA – “The Entrepreneurship and Technology Commercialization curricula provides masters and Ph.D. students from management and other disciplines across campus the opportunity to engage in all stages of company formation and growth.”
  • Other Entrepreneurial Courses on campus
  • The Entrepreneurial Collaborative (TEC) – Housed in the College of Management, the TEC program offers a high-intensity entrepreneurial experience. “TEC brings the real world into the classroom; it provides a fertile environment for professionals, startups and future entrepreneurs to seek opportunities and meet challenges through collaboration.”
  • Minor in Arts Entrepreneurship – A five-course series that leads to a minor in arts entrepreneurship, housed in the Music department under Gary Beckman. Example.
  • The Institute for Nonprofits – Supports research, education and engagement in the area of social entrepreneurship.
  • NCSU Innovation and Entrepreneurship EcosystemThe Center for Student Leadership, Ethics & Public Service (CSLEPS) –  Connects NC State students who are passionate about making a positive impact on the world to a wide variety of approaches to service including social entrepreneurship. Through CSLEPS, students can connect to LeaderShape (open to students who still have at least one more year at NC State) and The Clinton Global Initiative University (open to all students). These programs support students who are developing compelling visions for change and also provide access to resources (including funding) to help them implement their projects.

For Entrepreneurs Who Are Not NCSU Students

  •  The NCSU Technology Incubator – A description from the web site: “With a program and facilities specifically designed for tech start-ups with high-impact potential, the Technology Incubator offers a collaborative blend of services, resources, and partnerships for the discerning tech entrepreneur.”
  • NCSU Partnership Concierge – “Is your company looking for a competitive advantage? Perhaps we can help. NC State collaborates with organizations large and small in a variety of mutually beneficial ways. We can help you locate the resources you need to overcome obstacles and create value.”
  • The NCSU Office of Technology Transfer – A description from the web site: “With more than 100 startups and 400 commercialized products, NC State brings real-world solutions to the marketplace. The Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) plays a crucial role in this mission by protecting and promoting University research discoveries and intellectual property, working with and guiding industry partners, and promoting the acceleration of startups through our Venture Development program.  Visit our site to learn more about Venture Development at NC State and the technologies available for startup formation.”
  • The NCSU Industrial Extension Service – A description from the website: “Our tailored solutions, university and community connections, and engineering know-how can help your company stay abreast of the latest technologies, and best practices in engineering and business management. Ultimately, our aim is to help you increase productivity, efficiency, safety and quality. As a result, your profits rise and your business thrives.”
  • The NCSU Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC) – A description from the website: “Our experienced business advisory team offers confidential, in-depth business counseling to mid-sized company business owners and management staff.” They can also provide assistance to entrepreneurs in some cases.
  • Economic Development Partnership – A description from the website: “The Economic Development Partnership works with the NC Department of Commerce, Research Triangle Regional Partnership, Research Triangle Foundation, Wake County Economic Development, Raleigh Economic Development, and other partners to foster economic growth and job creation.”

Other Resources Available in the Community

  • The Council for Entrepreneurial Development – “CED is a community of people inspired by entrepreneurship, and includes a wide range of members including startup companies, more mature growth-stage firms, investors, service partners, academics, and individuals.”
  • HQ Raleigh – “HQ Raleigh is a shared workspace designed to empower, foster, and cultivate companies that produce long-term job growth and positive social impact.”
  • ThinkHouse – “ThinkHouse is a co-living space in Raleigh, NC where new entrepreneurs are launching scalable companies.”
  • The Startup Factory – The Startup Factory, the most highly capitalized technology accelerator in the southeast, runs an intensive, three month program customized for early stage startup companies. In exchange for 7.5% equity, startups receive $50,000 in seed capital, hands-on mentorship, and access to our ever-widening network of active angels, veteran startup founders, and experienced technology experts.”
  • Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network of North Carolina – “Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network was launched in North Carolina in 2011 with a gift from The Blackstone Charitable Foundation. The Network’s mission is to help catalyze the regional development of the Triangle’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and thereby strengthen economic development in the area. The Network harnessed the talent of a regional pool of veteran entrepreneurs, and in 2012 created a tightly connected team of Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) to help identify marketable innovations out of area universities and regional startups with the greatest potential to become high-growth companies.”
  • NC IDEA – “NC IDEA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization created to serve as a catalyst for young, high-growth, technology companies in North Carolina. We help these innovative companies mainly by providing early financing in the form of grants.”
  • Groundworks Labs – “An NC IDEA program to accelerate the development of North Carolina entrepreneurs.”
  • The American Underground – “Join 150+ companies at one of three American Underground locations: American Tobacco Campus, Downtown Durham, Downtown Raleigh”
  • Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub – “Gain unrivaled access to software credits, experts, and unique events from the most successful startup in the world, Google.”
  • North Caroline Biotechnology Center – “NCBiotech provides long-term economic and societal benefits to North Carolina through support of biotechnology research, business, education and strategic policy statewide.”
  • Biofuels Center of North Carolina – “The Biofuels Center of North Carolina has the long-term task of developing a large-scale biofuels industry sector to reduce the state’s dependence on imported petroleum.”
  • Wireless Research Center of North Carolina – “Where wireless entrepreneurs, companies and partners come for testing, engineering and company building.”
  • The North Carolina Center of Innovation Network (NC COIN) – “Where constructive conversations take place, connections are made
    and leveraged, and ideas to advance technology application and economic growth, move forward.”
  • First Flight Venture Center – “First Flight Venture Center (FFVC) is a technology incubator located in the heart of Research Triangle Park. Established in 1991 to serve the initial needs of entrepreneurs and early stage companies. FFVC strives to produce companies that graduate from the facility as financially viable and freestanding businesses.”
  • The Cookery – “The Cookery is a certified food production facility located in the historic Durham Food Co-op building on West Chapel Hill Street. Entrepreneurs launching or expanding upon a culinary business can rent the kitchen for one-time events or on an ongoing basis.”

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