Chapel Hill is getting new recognition for its innovative programs after more than 100 hopeful entrepreneurs came together to glean knowledge from successful business owners Tuesday.
Triangle Entrepreneurship Week is an annual five-day event featuring workshops ranging from creating culture in the workplace to legal advice. This year, it is being held Sept. 9 through Sept. 12 in various locations throughout the Triangle.
Tuesday’s event, held at locations throughout Chapel Hill, helped connect local entrepreneurs to information on how to grow their startups.
“The event is all about fostering the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Triangle,” said Sarah Wechsberg, the director and co-founder of Triangle Entrepreneurship Week.
This is the event’s third year, but its first year with an event in Chapel Hill. The decision to host workshops in Chapel Hill was made after Wechsberg discussed the event with business leaders in the area.
“It all started at meetings we had at (Carrboro’s) Open Eye Cafe with local entrepreneurs and business owners,” Wechsberg said.
The morning sessions began with pitches from startup representatives to potential investors. Throughout each day of the event, workshops are followed by evening networking receptions.
“Four companies pitch to a panel of potential investors, who then offer critiques to the proposals,” said Dina Mills, the program manager for the business incubator Launch Chapel Hill.
Launch is one of two business incubators to open its doors in Chapel Hill this year, and its the town’s third such incubator along with student-focused incubator 1789 and EmPOWERment Inc.’s Midway Business Center.
1789, which works with UNC student entrepreneurs, opened above Four Corners in May.
Potential entrepreneurs and new business owners were able to make connections at Tuesday’s workshops.
And businesses and entrepreneurs are not the only ones involved in this experience — government officials and UNC administrators also played an integral role in Triangle Entrepreneurship Week.
Chapel Hill has taken measures to create a strong culture of entrepreneurship in the area, Mills said.
“The town of Chapel Hill, Orange County, UNC and donors have opened a business accelerator to mentor new companies,” she said.
Michelle Bolas, the program director for the Chancellor’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, used the event to connect campus entrepreneurs to new opportunities.
“We want our young entrepreneurs to stay in Chapel Hill, so we can be just as vibrant a part of the community as different hubs in the Triangle,” Bolas said.
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