The leaders of Innovate@Carolina want to make it clear that there’s more to entrepreneurship than just ideas.
Those in charge of the $125 million plan to make UNC a leading university in innovation and entrepreneurship hosted a seminar Thursday night to give a crowd of about 60 prospective entrepreneurs advice on legal and fund-raising issues.
“I think a lot of entrepreneurs learn lessons the hard way, so we are hoping that by giving a seminar on legal and fundraising issues that they can get some advice from the get-go,” said Kelly Parsons, technology development associate for the Office of Technology Development.
“We are just trying to allow all of the innovations that are going on at UNC to be developed in whatever form they are taking,” she added.
Merrill Mason, a lawyer with the Smith Anderson Law firm in Raleigh, was one of two speakers who provided glimpses into the professional world. He spoke about legal issues for start-up corporations and the mistakes that can be made. He shared personal experiences while offering advice and answering questions from the audience.
“I’m a life-long learner and I’m around all these inventive entrepreneurs all the time,” he said. “I learn something new every day.”
David Pierson of Intersouth Partners shared experience on what makes ventures attractive to investors and gave advice for delivering pitches to investors. Intersouth Partners invests in early-stage life science and technology companies across the Southeast.
“One of the first lessons I learned when I first joined Intersouth was that as a venture firm, the most important thing we do is invest in people because people are what make the venture go,” Pierson said.
Pierson explained that pitching to a venture company, such as Intersouth Partners, is key when developing a company.
“One thing entrepreneurs often forget is venture firms have a lot of opportunities to choose from,” he said.
Those who attended the event saw it as a way to prepare for future careers.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for networking for people that are possibly staying in the area after graduating for marketing and engineering careers,” said Ali Kroeger, assistant director of capital gifts for the College of Arts and Sciences.
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