Tag Archives: entrepreneurship minor

Entrepreneurship’s big boost

Cable industry veteran Bernard Bell will lead the newly named Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship

Bernard Bell watches student presentations in “Principles and Practice,” a course that focuses on core entrepreneurial skills including innovation, creative design, customer development and team dynamics.

Bernard Bell watches student presentations in “Principles and Practice,” a course that focuses on core entrepreneurial skills including innovation, creative design, customer development and team dynamics. (photo by Kristen Chavez)

Carolina will more than double the size of its nationally ranked undergraduate entrepreneurship program with an $18 million gift made to the College of Arts & Sciences by the Shuford family of Hickory, a fifth-generation Carolina family.

It is the largest single one-time gift made to the College by a living individual or family. The minor in entrepreneurship has been named The Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship in the family’s honor.

“The new Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship expands our efforts in innovation and entrepreneurship across the College and provides many new interdisciplinary, immersive and experiential learning opportunities for Carolina’s bright students,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt.

The gift will create an endowment to support three additional entrepreneurs-in-residence and up to four faculty fellows, fund up to 70 student internships and support a lecture series on innovation and entrepreneurship. It will also endow the program’s executive director and internship director positions. The College will support at least three additional full-time faculty members, an entrepreneur-in-residence and an administrative staff position.

From left, Dean Kevin Guskiewicz, Chancellor Carol Folt and siblings Jim Shuford, Dorothy Shuford Lanier and Stephen Shuford celebrate the launch of The Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship.

From left, Dean Kevin Guskiewicz, Chancellor Carol Folt and siblings Jim Shuford, Dorothy Shuford Lanier and Stephen Shuford celebrate the launch of The Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship. (Photo by Kristen Chavez)

“I think entrepreneurship is a big part of the future of work,” said alumnus Jim Shuford (English ’88, MBA ’92), CEO of STM Industries. “The skills of entrepreneurial thinking and problem-solving are a natural fit for the liberal arts. An entrepreneurial education will give Carolina undergraduates a leg up — to find a job, start a company, grow a business or be a productive member of any organization or enterprise.”

Shuford’s brother, Stephen Shuford (MBA ’97), CEO of Shurtape Technologies, and sister, Dorothy Shuford Lanier (ABJM ’93) joined him in making the gift to Carolina.

Cable industry veteran Bernard Bell (economics ’82, MBA ’91) has been named executive director of the program. Bell has served as entrepreneur-in-residence and the Richards Donohoe Professor of the Practice at UNC since 2015.

Bell has set four goals: double the number of students in the entrepreneurship program, align the curriculum across a set of entrepreneurial core disciplines, expand the program’s strategic partnerships across the University and through the involvement of alumni and friends, and broaden the student experience with more internships and immersive experiences, such as the Burch Field Research Seminar in Silicon Valley, at locations around the world.

“We have so many entrepreneurs who have come out of Chapel Hill,” Bell said. “What better way to use these new resources than to bring back into the fold the people we’ve helped groom so they can help us make the student experience more meaningful?”

Carolina’s minor in entrepreneurship launched in 2004 as a signature program of the Carolina Entrepreneurial Initiative, a $3.5 million, six-year grant program funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to infuse a culture of entrepreneurship across the College.

More than 800 students from a wide range of disciplines have graduated with a minor in entrepreneurship. More than 250 students are currently enrolled. Students pursuing the minor follow one of nine tracks — artistic, commercial, computer science, design, media, scientific, social, sport or public health — and must complete an internship.

“The Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship at Carolina is unique to any entrepreneurship program in the country – because rather than teaching only business students how to become more entrepreneurial, it also teaches students of music and art, physics, anthropology, exercise and sport science, sociology and many other disciplines how to work collaboratively with an entrepreneurial mindset,” said College Dean Kevin Guskiewicz.

What E-minor Alumni Say

“After one class with the minor in entrepreneurship, I fell in love with the idea of solving real-world problems through business. I’m now a leader in the Triangle B Corp network, a business community focused on maximizing a triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.”

Braden Rawls (journalism ’08)
CEO, Vital Plan

“I think the largest impact the minor had on me was to present entrepreneurship as a valid career trajectory, while also providing a framework and toolkit to explore ideas on my own.”

Joel Sutherland (computer science ’07)
Co-founder/Partner, New Media Campaigns

“The entrepreneurship minor not only gave me the knowledge I needed to build my venture, but served as my first investor, providing me with seed money to incorporate my nonprofit and complete one of our earliest international doll deliveries.”

Amber Koonce (public policy, interdisciplinary studies ’12)
Founder, BeautyGap

By Cyndy Falgout

Read a story about the immersive semester-long Burch Field Research Seminar in Silicon Valley.

See photos from The Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship kickoff event on the College’s Facebook page.









Access to innovators

Alumni give students in Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship an immersive semester-long experience in Silicon Valley.

Carolina graduate Thompson Paine (far left) made sure all of the Silicon Valley Maymester students received T-shirts when they visited Quizlet, where he is the vice president for operations and business development.

Carolina graduate Thompson Paine (far left) made sure all of the Silicon Valley Maymester students received T-shirts when they visited Quizlet, where he is the vice president for operations and business development. (photo by Susan Hudson)

Junior business major Michael Krantz learned “how to work with brilliant people in a fast-paced environment and meet deadlines.”

Junior health policy management major Pooja Joshi learned to be comfortable interacting with powerful chief executives in her field.

Senior psychology major Tiana Petree changed the trajectory of her career path.

The three UNC undergraduates were among 16 students from the College of Arts & Sciences’ entrepreneurship minor who participated in the inaugural Burch Field Research Seminar in Silicon Valley. The entrepreneurship minor and Honors Carolina introduced the program last spring.

Junior Michael Krantz, right, spends time with UNC alumnus Bill Starling at a UNC basketball watch party in Palo Alto.

Junior Michael Krantz, right, spends time with UNC alumnus Bill Starling at a UNC basketball watch party in Palo Alto. (photo courtesy of Michael Krantz)

Thanks to UNC’s vast and growing alumni network in the region, students gained unprecedented access to leaders of iconic tech companies — including Apple, Cisco, Facebook, GoDaddy and Google — as well as innovative startups. They also received intensive education in the principles and practices of business venturing.

“Understanding the San Francisco Bay Area — Silicon Valley — is a very important part of understanding business today. It’s the most important geography in the world for technology innovation,” said Jennifer Halsey ’94, the UNC entrepreneur-in-residence based in Silicon Valley who mobilized UNC’s alumni network to offer the unique experience.

“We have a close community of UNC alumni here who are willing to mentor and facilitate career opportunities for Carolina students,” Halsey said.

The Silicon Valley semester grew out of a Maymester Summer School course developed and taught by history professor James Leloudis with help from UNC’s Northern California alumni network. He had connected with that network through his development work as associate dean for Honors Carolina. (Read about the Maymester course at gazette.unc.edu.)

Among the area’s alumni was Halsey, a political science and communication studies double major who had parlayed her liberal arts education at UNC into a successful Wall Street investment banking career before moving to California in 1998 to advise and invest in high-growth medical technology companies.

Pooja Joshi (left) and Madrid Danner-Smith wait on the pier before taking a San Francisco Bay cruise with other Burch Field Research Seminar students.

Pooja Joshi (left) and Madrid Danner-Smith wait on the pier before taking a San Francisco Bay cruise with other Burch Field Research Seminar students. (photo courtesy of Pooja Joshi)

Halsey initially agreed to host students during Maymester, and that experience inspired her and others to explore expanding the course to a full semester. She reached out to UNC alumni and they responded by offering to host internships and site visits, share experiences on career panels and meet with students during networking and social gatherings.

The resulting Silicon Valley semester offered an intensive boot camp on entrepreneurial principles and practices, a venture workshop course featuring site visits and informal interactions with Silicon Valley elite, a group project to develop and pitch a startup business plan to a panel of investor judges, and a semester-long internship at a Silicon Valley company or nonprofit.

Petree had been on a fast track to start a nonprofit when she began her spring internship at Peninsula Bridge, a Palo Alto nonprofit. But exposure to every aspect of running such an organization made her realize that sustaining a nonprofit financially would be a tough path right out of college.

At a Carolina-Duke basketball game watch party hosted by Halsey, Petree talked about her goals and experiences with UNC chemistry professor and entrepreneur Joe DeSimone. He invited her to spend a day learning about the corporate world at his 3-D printing company, Carbon, in Redwood City. After meeting with marketing, sales, business development and human resource teams, she found herself drawn to HR. And over the summer, she returned to California to intern for Carbon’s HR department.

“This experience has really changed the path of my life,” Petree said.

Joshi interned at Evidation Health, a fast-growing behavioral data analytics company.

“I think the biggest thing for me was getting the opportunity to learn how to talk to and get help from people who are leaders in your field,” Joshi said. “It’s sometimes very intimidating. But it was amazing to have really intimate conversations with people like that and find they are so willing to help students all the time.”

Tiana Petree, left, shown with classmate Anna Baker, learned how much work goes into running a nonprofit. She waits with another student for the San Francisco Bay Cruise.

Tiana Petree, left, shown with classmate Anna Baker, learned how much work goes into running a nonprofit. (photo courtesy of Pooja Joshi)

For Krantz, an aspiring investment banker, the semester offered the opportunity to work alongside prominent senior vice presidents at GoDaddy, thanks to the small business technology provider’s open office plan and collegial culture.

“This is the tech hotspot of the world, where most venture capital is done,” Krantz said. “I don’t think I’d have been introduced to this world if not for this program.”

The goal is to provide access and opportunity, said Halsey, “inspiring students to create the life they dream of living.”

“Every major college in America is competing for access to Silicon Valley right now,” she added. “Our students have access.”

By Cyndy Falgout

Read about a transformative gift for the Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship.




Alumnus’ gift supports faculty and student innovation

Steve Kapp's gift to the Dean's Innovation Fund will help support initiatives like BeAM. This makerspace in Murray Hall is the largest of three in the BeAM network. (photo by Kristen Chavez)

Steve Kapp’s gift to the Dean’s Innovation Fund will help support initiatives like BeAM. This makerspace in Murray Hall is the largest of three in the BeAM network. (photo by Kristen Chavez)

Steve Kapp is not a doctor or scientist, but he could have a role in the discovery of new cancer treatments. He’s not a professional musician or athlete, but his generosity could inspire students to create new music or manage Olympic competitors decades from now.

Kapp ’81 (MBA ’90) is among the first donors to the College of Arts and Sciences to establish a Dean’s Innovation Fund to support a range of academic disciplines, including biomedical engineering, applied physical sciences, the Be A Maker (BeAM) initiative, or any of the nine tracks — such as arts and sports — in the minor in entrepreneurship program. Students and faculty across the College will benefit from the endowment, which will fund research, equipment, travel to academic and professional conferences, and other funding needs as they emerge.

“Steve’s gift will open doors for generations of Carolina faculty and students who want to build and create a better world,” said Kevin Guskiewicz, dean of the College. “By directing financial resources to these areas of study, we can enhance the potential for innovation that strengthens our liberal arts tradition. We’ve already seen a number of successes. The Kapp Family Dean’s Innovation Fund makes it possible for even more students and faculty to work together and spur critical thinking in new ways.”

Kapp, principal at Maverick Capital, a New York-based investment partnership, first set foot on the Carolina campus in fall 1976. A senior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area, he had no family connections to Carolina, but was drawn to UNC because of its academic reputation.

Steve Kapp

Steve Kapp

While he enjoyed his humanities and social sciences classes as an undergraduate — a history course with Carlyle Sitterson was particularly engaging — Kapp developed an aptitude for numbers and investing. A memorable Carolina moment came when, as a junior economics major, he had the opportunity to pick up a guest lecturer at the Raleigh-Durham airport. The speaker was Arthur Laffer, known as the father of supply-side economics, an adviser to Ronald Reagan (who would be elected president the following fall).

After graduation, Kapp spent six months in Aspen, Colorado, before joining Advantage International, a sports marketing and management firm in 1983, where he represented professional tennis players. By 1988, he was looking for a career change that reflected his growing interest in finance. Kapp returned to Chapel Hill and earned his MBA at Kenan-Flagler Business School in 1990.

In 1993, he was a co-founder of Longwood Partners, a private investment partnership. In 1996, Kapp joined Carolina classmate Lee Ainslie (MBA ’90) at Maverick, a highly successful hedge fund company with offices in New York, Dallas, Philadelphia and San Francisco. At Maverick, he managed the healthcare investment portfolio.

Kapp also supports the College of Arts and Sciences through the Steve and Courtney Kapp Endowment Fund for Academic Leadership, and gives to Kenan-Flagler Business School through the Steven H. Kapp MBA Fellowship, in addition to annual support for both units. Kapp also serves on the Arts and Sciences Foundation Board of Directors.

As a financial professional, Kapp was drawn to Guskiewicz’s vision for the fund and the results-oriented focus of the disciplines it supports.

“Intellectual capital is the engine of growth, and I’m delighted to be able to support students and faculty who have the potential to find creative solutions to societal problems,” Kapp said.

By Del Hunt Helton

Intro to entrepreneurship: Spreading seeds of creative thinking to 300-plus students

Click on the links at the bottom of this story for more features on creative teaching and learning in the College.

It was a couple of weeks into the fall semester, and some 300 undergraduates — half of them first-year students — filed into a large lecture hall in the new Genome Sciences Building as Elvis Presley crooned over the loudspeakers.

Everything about the course they were taking was unusual and maybe even unsettling. It was an introductory entrepreneurship class that focused on the importance of making a difference in the world. Professors and guest speakers kept telling the students it was actually acceptable to make mistakes. The class was co-taught by Holden Thorp, a chemist-turned-chancellor, along with University Entrepreneur in Residence Buck Goldstein and former Economics Chair John Akin.

The class was one of a series of new “super courses” in the College, large classes designed to be more engaging and interactive.

It used instructional technology to engage students in and out of class and featured an array of guest lectures from leading scholars, scientists and entrepreneurs. And each class began with a song from a digitized playlist of monumental music selected by Thorp and former Chancellor James Moeser, an accomplished organist and distinguished professor of music.

Chancellor Holden Thorp, flanked by teaching assistants Taylor Anderson (left) and Leah Downey, right. (Photo by Dan Sears.)

Today’s tune was Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” selected for its importance to rock and culture.  But it also reflected the mood in Chapel Hill after Thorp had announced he would step down as chancellor at the end of the academic year. That day Thorp shared with students his own hits and misses as an entrepreneurial chemist.

It was just another teachable moment in Econ 125, “Introduction to Entrepreneurship.” The professors, after all, wrote this on the syllabus: “Our goal is to move you outside your comfort zone and introduce you to a different way of looking at the world.”

“We have had lots of students in the class who are starting businesses already and coming to talk to us about that,” Thorp said later. “But students who end up not doing those things will hopefully have an appreciation for how hard it is to do something with your idea.”

Senior Leah Downey, who is pursuing double majors in math and economics and a minor in entrepreneurship, served as a teaching assistant for the course. She said students really grasped an important lesson from the class — that in order to succeed, sometimes you have to fail.

“Entrepreneurship is about risk and uncertainty and figuring things out,” she said. “It’s a good lesson, and it’s cool to see freshmen come to the realization that maybe this class and Carolina is about more than just maintaining a 4.0.”

Using tools to make a big class seem small

In addition to Spotify, an online music site and app that Goldstein likes to call “a jukebox in the sky,” the class used other technological tools to help break up the large class and make it more interactive.

Buck Goldstein, center, talks to the “final four” project teams prior to the selection of the winner. (photo by Dan Sears)

The professor trio even took an entrepreneurial approach in designing the class. (It was created in part due to high demand for the limited number of spots in the College’s minor in entrepreneurship, which is housed in the economics department and features five different “tracks” or paths of study— commercial, social, scientific, sports and artistic.)

Guest speakers and professors held “Google Hangouts” — sort of like virtual office hours — with students. Using Poll Everywhere software, students answered a question at the beginning of class that assessed their knowledge of course readings and at the end of class to test their comprehension of the lectures. The software also allowed students to post anonymous questions that appeared on a large screen in front of the classroom.

Students could sign up for limited-space lunches with some of the guest speakers. They could follow Thorp and Goldstein on Twitter. They used YouTube and Dropbox to complete class projects involving videos and digital documents.

The class instructors received a grant from the Center for Faculty Excellence to work with communications studies professor Francesca Talenti to film the lectures and to help design the look and feel of the class.

The list of guest speakers — some of whom appeared in person and others via videoconference — was a “who’s who” of the entrepreneur world. Students got to hear from such diverse UNC lecturers as Joe DeSimone, an entrepreneurial chemist, and Ken Weiss, artistic entrepreneur in residence and a former producer for Crosby, Stills and Nash. They heard from outside innovators such as Wendy Kopp, Teach for America founder, and Michael Porter, a Harvard strategist. Former AOL Co-Founder Steve Case took a picture of class members using their laptops during his lecture, then tweeted about the event.

The fact that about half the course seats were reserved for first-year students was intentional, Akin said.

Will Leimenstoll, right, takes notes in the introduction to entrepreneurship class. (photo by Dan Sears).

“Everybody doesn’t have to become an entrepreneur, but the notion that this is an entrepreneurial place, that people may have an idea and go out and turn it into something — we want that to be [the culture] of UNC. And the best time for students to learn what that’s all about is when they first arrive.”

It’s OK to fail

Dennis Whittle (religious studies ’83) is UNC’s Richards Donohoe Social Entrepreneur in Residence. The co-founder of the online marketplace GlobalGiving.org, where donors can fund do-good projects around the world, Whittle echoed the sentiment of teaching students to embrace failure. He worked at the World Bank for 14 years before starting GlobalGiving, and he said at that time, to admit failure was considered a major career setback.

“A recent study said it takes 58 new ideas to get to one successful product launch,” added Whittle in his guest lecture. He shared with students the surprising number of strikeouts made by some of history’s top baseball players. “What defines a successful entrepreneur is how many times he gets back up to the plate again after striking out.

“In entrepreneurship, the only thing that matters is, did you learn from the experience, not did you succeed or fail.”

What’s your big idea?

For their final class project, students were grouped into teams, where they had to come up with 3-minute projects around the theme, “What’s Your Big Idea?”

Instead of March Madness, it was December Madness, as students voted on and narrowed down the list of projects to a “final four.”

From left, course instructors Buck Goldstein, John Akin and Holden Thorp. (photo by Dan Sears).

The overall winner was an idea called RecomPence, which would allow students to donate to charities every time they make a purchase on campus with their UNC “OneCard.”

Goldstein said the class was really about the intersection between science and the liberal arts, and the exciting things that can happen in that space.

“On the first day of class, we showed a wonderful slide of [Apple Co-Founder] Steve Jobs standing underneath a street sign. One sign said ‘technology,’ and the other said ‘liberal arts,’” Goldstein said. “So whether it’s bringing in guest speakers in music, history or philosophy — it was clear to us that we are right about the importance of liberal arts to entrepreneurship.”

Sophomore Sagar Shukla, who is pursuing an economics major and an entrepreneurship minor, said a key takeaway of the class was how creative thinking can be used to solve problems.

“One week we had the directors of the musical Jersey Boys come and speak about innovation in the arts,” he said. “That theme was propagated throughout the [semester] — that innovation is a process, and that’s one thing the class has shown us through unique lenses.”

[Story by Kim Weaver Spurr ’88, video by Mary Lide Parker ’10. More at unceminor.org. Listen to the “Econ 124” music playlist on Spotify.]

Read more stories on creative teaching and learning, part of the package “Learning 2.0”:

Interactive psychology instruction

Physics inside out

When literature and history leap off the page

What’s your dilemma?

Learning about Lumbees

Champion of undergraduate research

Engaged learning: Spanish in the Professions (video)

Classroom is community

Inspiring a ‘spirit of inquiry’

Launching Bold Ventures: Alumna invests in social entrepreneurship

Robin Donohoe

Robin Richards Donohoe ’87 embraced her Carolina undergraduate career with gusto. She counseled new students at freshman camp. She was an officer of the Delta Delta Delta sorority for three years. She belonged to the Campus Y, Campus Crusade for Christ and Phi Beta Kappa.

She displayed the same spirit a decade later as a San Francisco venture capitalist. She co-founded two venture capital firms and made early investments in companies that turned out to be household names such as Hotmail and OpenTable. She was a pioneer in the field of venture investing in India, based on her findings as a Stanford M.B.A. student that Bangalore was a major producer of software and a prime target for investors.

These days, Donohoe has turned her energies toward “venture philanthropy.” Her Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation picks nonprofits with high growth potential, then gives them money and expertise to grow big and produce a major payoff for society.

Among the causes this former international studies major has backed are Kiva and Room to Read, two of the fastest-growing nonprofits in the world. Kiva helps individuals lend small sums to tradespeople in the developing world. Room to Read promotes literacy and girls’ education and has helped more than 6.5 million children across Asia and Africa.

In April 2012, Donohoe launched her latest venture, this one for the benefit of students at Carolina. The Richards Donohoe Social Entrepreneur in Residence Fund underwrites a new member of the faculty whose job is to share practical insights from his or her career with students interested in charitable organizations. This faculty member teaches in the introductory course in the minor in entrepreneurship, as well as in the social entrepreneurship concentration. Donohoe’s start-up funding for the position has already brought Dennis Whittle, co-founder of GlobalGiving, to campus. [See related story].

Donohoe’s fund will increase the number of Carolina graduates who go on to change the world with their ideas, said John Stewart, professor of economics and director of the minor in entrepreneurship in the College. The interdisciplinary minor accepts about 100 students each year. They focus on one of five tracks: commercial, social, scientific, artistic or sports-related.

Tara Seshan

Tara Seshan ’13, an environmental health science major, is one of the students who have benefited from Whittle’s advice and the social entrepreneurship concentration. She is working to launch Chek.Up, a venture that makes a smart phone application for doctors in developing countries. She won a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship, awarded to 20 entrepreneurs under 20 years old, to form the company.

“We have a climate of social justice here, and the Campus Y, the School of Public Health, the minor in entrepreneurship and the social entrepreneur in residence are all part of that special sauce,” Seshan said.

Donohoe is no stranger to Carolina philanthropy. In 1999, she and her siblings created the Alice H. Richards Carolina Scholars Fund, which brings academically talented students from Georgia to UNC on a merit scholarship. The fund honors her late mother. Donohoe is also a former member of the Arts and Sciences Foundation’s board of directors.

“I saw UNC was focusing on social entrepreneurship, and I wanted to put some wind in those sails,” Donohoe said. “I’d love to see people who say, ‘I’m a UNC grad and I’m applying to the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation because I want to be a social entrepreneur.’”

She inherited a passion for starting and growing businesses from her late father. Roy Richards, Sr. was running his father’s sawmill when he was just 14. When electricity came to rural America in the 1930s, he seized the opportunity to mill the telephone poles that held up the wires. When World War II created a wire shortage, he started manufacturing it. Today Donohoe and her siblings still own and run the company, Southwire, now the nation’s largest producer of wire and cable.

Her mother instilled in her a commitment to philanthropy. Alice Huffard Richards ’52 attended Carolina, majored in journalism and started several nonprofits in Georgia, serving on the boards of many others.

“Both my parents influenced me tremendously,” Donohoe said. “Business from my father and philanthropy from my mother: I have both things loud and clear in my life.”

[Story by Rah Bickley ’86]