1789 Venture Lab, located at 173 E. Franklin St., is keeping its doors open this summer to 10 students who have enrolled in its Summer Startup Lab program, which runs from mid-May to mid-August.
“1789 was designed as a physical space that brings the curricular and co-curricular offerings on campus together,” said Jim Kitchen, founder of the lab and a lecturer at Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Any current UNC student, alumnus or alumna with a workable business idea may apply to join 1789.
“During the school year, students are taking full class loads, and they are part of other extracurricular activities that they may not be part of over the summer,” said Aaron Scarboro, the director at 1789.
One of the ventures is The Sonder Market, a local food cooperative.
“We want to become a grocery store on campus, providing students with fruits and vegetables from local farmers, as well as some value-added goods such as dried fruits and nut butters,” said founder Marisa Scavo, a rising junior from Cary.
The Sonder Market also wants to focus on educational aspects of food. If the cooperative proves profitable and appealing to students, it will begin a campaign for an on-campus space.
Will Jarvis , a rising junior, began a nonprofit called Super Kid Care with help from 1789 last August. The organization’s efforts focus on providing children’s hospitals in eastern North Carolina with educational resources.
“The rural areas of North Carolina don’t have money to fund educational materials, so we provide that service ourselves,” he said.
Jarvis and his team have already provided self-designed comic books to four hospitals in eastern North Carolina. “We hope to eventually see our efforts present in every hospital in eastern North Carolina,” he said.
Stuart Jeckel is a class of 2006 alumnus and the director of new entrepreneurial ventures for Organics and Sounds — an organization based in Durham with plans to expand to Kenya in the next year.
Founded by Kenyan chef Njathi Wa Kabui, Organics and Sounds provides education on healthy eating through unique dining experiences. It also develops farm-to-table community gardens.
“We want to use our garden in Carrboro to grow the food and prepare it right there and make the meals for guests,” Jeckel said.
Jeckel is working on a reusable medicinal drink-bottling operation for Kabui’s recipes.
“I come from a background of people who reuse everything,” Kabui said.
The student entrepreneurs at 1789 will have the chance to grow their enterprises thanks to more time with mentors. Mentor Carl Baumann believes the resources offered are unique.
“All the people I’ve worked with here feel lucky to have a place to come share ideas and get help,” he said. “I think 1789 is a terrific asset for the community.”
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