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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Innovation Showcase features 70 ventures

Chemistry major Sophia McFarlane is the incoming co-president of Healthy Girls Save the World, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting healthy minds, bodies and relationships for middle school girls in North Carolina. The venture inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum.

Chemistry major Sophia McFarlane is the incoming co-president of Healthy Girls Save the World, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting healthy minds, bodies and relationships for middle school girls in North Carolina. The venture inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum.

Hosted by Innovate Carolina, the high-energy event featured 70 promising faculty- and student-created ventures, including the work of enterprising UNC researchers, who explained how their ideas are primed to make a significant economic and social impact in the state and around the globe. The showcase provides an opportunity for networking with startup ventures, while highlighting key programs in the Innovate Carolina Network, as well as the many ventures that receive their support.

“The showcase is a great example of our University’s thriving innovation ecosystem and how its variety of pro- grams make a tangible difference the everyday lives of citizens in North Carolina and around the world,” said Judith Cone, vice chancellor for innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to celebrate the many impressive faculty and student ventures at UNC, while recognizing the entrepreneurial strength and economic impact that extends from our University and throughout the local community, region and state. With innovation as a cornerstone of UNC’s strategic framework, we will continue to collaborate and build upon our successes together.”

The showcase also offered investors, industry leaders and other professionals who support entrepreneurs a chance to learn about each venture through breakout sessions organized by UNC programs. Each venture presented its latest innovations and ideas during the breakout sessions.

Innovate Carolina brings together key groups from across the University and community to support a cohesive innovation ecosystem, while working with innovators to help advance ideas and put them to use for the public good, said Ted Zoller, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and T.W. Lewis Distinguished Clinical Scholar and professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

“We are creating what’s nothing short of one of the best innovation ecosystems at an American university,” Zoller said.