Cone Ballroom was stirring with innovation last week as current students, alumni, faculty and staff gathered to connect and learn about entrepreneurship. The first-ever Entrepreneurship Everywhere, produced by UNC Greensboro’s campus-wide Entrepreneurship Cross-Disciplinary Program (ECDP), showcased student and alumni businesses and faculty research to roughly 200 attendees.
“It’s not about traditional employment opportunities anymore. If you want to start and grow a business or get ahead in an existing organization, you have to be creative and innovative,” said Dr. Dianne Welsh, founding director of the award-winning ECDP and Hayes Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship.
Alumni businesses and poster presentations demonstrated Welsh’s point at the event, which originated with the Bryan School’s 15 entrepreneurship fellows who wanted to shed a light on their work and the success of past students.
Anna Sullivan ‘14, accepted Welsh’s invite after recently moving her company, The Creative Exchange, from Raleigh to New York. The Consumer, Apparel & Retail Studies major recalled hearing a speaker discuss personal branding during her junior year. She was inspired to start a blog, which led to teaching workshops. She joined the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization on campus and began networking. Today, she still has two of the clients she began working with while a student at UNCG.
Seniors and twin brothers Omari and Khari Bodrick are on track to experience some of the same success. The two started ICE (Individuality. Creating. Excellence) Clothing, an affordable urban streetwear brand while juniors in high school. For them, UNCG has been an incubator in which to grow their business. The two hope to open stores in Charlotte and Greensboro.
Dr. Welsh initiated the ECDP in 2011, after founding the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center in 2009 and serving as its first director. ECDP is one of the largest cross-disciplinary entrepreneurship programs in the U.S. and the biggest in North Carolina. It is driven by a unique curricular design of cross-listed courses taken by entrepreneurship (ENT) majors and it is open to all majors as an ENT minor.
Welsh said today’s college graduates will change careers – not just jobs – approximately seven times over their lifetime.
“Entrepreneurship programs prepare students to be more flexible, to deal with career ambiguity and a constantly changing economy.”
Story by Elizabeth L. Harrison, University Communications
Photography by Jiyoung Park, University Communications