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)
Entrepreneurship’s big boost
Cable industry veteran Bernard Bell will lead the newly named Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship
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.
“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)
By Cyndy Falgout