Skip to main content

How do I get involved?

The resources provided here are designed to assist you at various stages of the entrepreneurial process.


EII Award Submission

Application deadline (Student/Postdoc Fellows): November 1, 2016

For more information or to schedule an appointment contact:

Adam Friedman

Jimmy Xu




E(I) Lab Program

The E(I) Lab is an eight-month experiential program that will bring together graduate students, professional students and postdocs from diverse disciplines across UNC to conceive, develop and test innovative solutions to unmet needs in healthcare. Teams will be given generous financial support to develop the necessary prototypes, develop patents, and receive training in various aspects of entrepreneurship and innovation. Top teams will receive monetary prizes in addition to potential seed investments.

Application deadline: TBA

For more information contact:

Sam Lai


Young Innovators Program

The Young Innovators Program was launched to enhance American STEM competitiveness and provide greater STEM access to women, underrepresented minorities, students with disabilities, and students from underserved regions. The vision and mission of the program — to develop and nurture the next generation of leading undergraduate, professional, and graduate scholars in STEM and to bring advanced and innovative opportunities in STEM to exceptional high school students — are urgently needed.

Inclusive of all and with a focus on the underrepresented and underserved, the Young Innovators Program aims to provide unparalleled opportunities to high school students across the State of North Carolina to tap the enormous potential of students who currently lack access to opportunities at UNC-­Chapel Hill and the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Next Program Cycle: Summer 2017

For more information or opportunities to get involved contact:

Jimmy Xu


Innovation Club

The Innovation Club is a unique opportunity for students to interact with their peers and the Eshelman Institute for Innovation (EII) Administrative Team. The format allows students and EII leadership an opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss strategies to foster innovation throughout the School.

For more information contact:

Jimmy Xu


OCED Innovation Seminar

Join the Office of Commercialization and Educational Development for their monthly innovation seminars. These 1-hour seminars are held in Room 014 of Sitterson Hall, and are followed by a reception in the Great Room at Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery at the corner of Franklin and Columbia streets.

Each attendee will receive TWO FREE drink tickets to be redeemed at TOPO.

Dates: The first Tuesday of every month




Pharmacoengineering is the science behind the development of materials and technologies to improve the delivery of therapeutic and diagnostic agents. Advances in this field can lead to new generations of drugs, drug delivery systems, and novel means to assess drug safety and efficacy through imaging and biosensing.

Targeted investment in pharmacoengineering within the UNC system will build on the success of medicine and life science at UNC-Chapel Hill and engineering at NC State and leverage the success of the existing, joint Department of Biomedical Engineering between those institutions. The focus of this investment is on building collaborations between UNC-Chapel Hill’s Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, and College of Arts and Sciences, and NC State’s Colleges of Engineering, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Science, and Veterinary Medicine, as well as with private companies and nonprofits.

Interested graduate students in the pharmaceutical sciences or biomedical engineering can pursue a pharmacoengineering concentration.

In the Fall, there will be a speed dating event between the Eshelman School of Pharmacy and the Department of Biomedical Engineering to foster collaboration and the development of new student projects. Funding will be awarded to the most promising student projects that are generated from the speed dating event.

Networking Event Date: Fall 2016

Grant Submission Date: Fall 2016

For more information contact:

Sam Lai

Hack Duke

Hack Duke

Hack Duke is a collaborative effort to bridge technology and coding with real world needs in inequality, energy and the environment, education and health and wellness. Their events provide opportunities to learn more about using technology to provide solutions through:


HackDuke is not just about building meaningful projects. It’s also an open forum to discuss, share and bring to life ideas that aim to make a positive impact on social issues. Look forward to working with experts from non-profits and coding alongside mentors from tech companies!


HackDuke welcomes anyone who has passion. If you don’t know how to code, fret not! We are open to people of all majors who are interested in how technology can be used to promote social change.


HackDuke encourages students to venture beyond the classroom. Learn how your skills can be used to make a difference other people’s lives.

Date: November 2016

Asheville Summit

The Asheville Summit provides students, residents, and experienced practitioners from across the southeast with a forum for discussing innovative, team-based, patient-centered practice models. It also explores contemporary issues that will affect current and future pharmacy practice, such as the pros and cons of provider status. Speakers include pharmacists and physicians from across the country who are leaders in innovative models of patient care.

Date: April 2017


TEDxUNC is an annual conference held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that brings together innovative thinkers from across the university and larger community to explore ideas for our collective future. The conference is completely planned and executed by a committee of UNC-Chapel Hill students.

Date: February 2017


Bioentrepreneur Workshop

This two-day workshop brings biomedical researchers and clinicians from UNC and Duke University together for an overview of life science startups. The workshop describes the ecosystem and the various players, and brings in a number of faculty entrepreneurs to tell their stories on the first day. The second day explores the mechanics and decision-making involved in launching a startup. The latter part of day two allows local entrepreneurs to work one on one with faculty to help them lay out a 12-month action plan.

Date: TBA


The Chapel Hill Pharmaceutical Sciences Conference includes several keynote presentations by leaders in the field of pediatric medication safety research along with a poster session, reception and networking events.

Date: May 2017


EII: Slack

The Eshelman Institute for Innovation supports the use of Slack, a cloud-based instant messaging platform. It enables rapid and efficient team-based communication while providing a medium for students to connect and collaborate with each other.

Please create your free account at

For more information contact:

Jimmy Xu


TED Talks

TED is a platform for ideas worth spreading. Although it was started in 1984 as a conference where technology, entertainment and design converged, TED today shares ideas from a broader spectrum — ranging from science to business to global issues. These are curated TED Talks that relate to healthcare, pharmacy practice, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Lean Launchpad

Lean Launchpad is a course that teaches the fundamentals of building a startup. The main idea in this course is learning how to rapidly develop and test ideas by gathering massive amounts of customer and marketplace feedback. Many startups fail by not validating their ideas early on with real-life customers. In order to mitigate that, students will learn how to move an idea into client testing while searching for pain points and unmet needs of customers. Only with these can entrepreneurs refine their ideas to find a proper solution and establish a suitable business model.

Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and lean startup template for developing new or documenting existing business models. It is a visual chart with elements describing a product’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances. It assists startups in aligning their activities by illustrating potential trade-offs.

Use this helpful template (interactive version) to sketch out, test and modify a business model for your new venture.


Proposal Development

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact:

Adam Friedman


Budget Development

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact:

Raj Kshatriya


Pitch Development

Tim Flood, a professor at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, will lead a ninety-minute pitch workshop for students at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

One on one coaching sessions will be scheduled on a first-come first-served basis, following the workshop. Preference will be given to students that have submitted a proposal for the November 1, 2016 deadline.


Technology Commercialization Carolina

Technology Commercialization Carolina is an initiative supporting North Carolina innovators and inventors through commercialization and entrepreneurship training, early-stage venture launch support and funding.

Patent Landscaping and Market Evaluation helps inventors assess the marketplace and investment funding. Focusing on North Carolina counties needing economic development, the program offers custom analytical reports at no cost and provides a strategic view of the patent and competitive landscape and opportunities for grants and funding to complete research and launch new products and services.

Startup Consulting develops commercialization strategies for novel, high-impact technologies that result from university-based research. Teams of MBA students consult with clients to conduct market research, competitive and financial analysis, develop business models and provide strategies for moving their technologies into the marketplace.

The Entrepreneur Technical Assistance Program is expanding through TCC to specifically assist technology-focused companies across North Carolina. With support from ETAP staff and experts, MBA student analysts work on critical projects that add direct value to a growing business, such as financial projections, marketing strategy, business plan development, inventory control, supply chain logistics and human resources policies.

For more information, contact:

Ronda Ragan


Carolina KickStart

Carolina KickStart provides coaching and mentoring, early-stage gap funding, and key networking opportunities to promote the launch of innovation companies at UNC.


The UNC Libraries Research Hub provides welcoming, technology-enabled, connected environments across three library locations where Carolina researchers can innovate, advance their work, and collaborate across the University. These three Research Hub locations provide support and guidance to UNC students, staff and faculty in the following focus areas:

Research Hub@Davis Library – For those working with data, mapping, texts, and technology, this Hub location supports investigation, analysis, and visualization in many formats.

Research Hub@ The Health Sciences Library – This Hub location specializes in supporting researchers in the clinical and biomedical sciences at every stage of the research process, from finding funding, background literature, data and collaborators to data management and systematic reviews to publishing, measuring research impact and NIH compliance.

Research Hub and Makerspace@Kenan Science Library – This Hub location features reservable co-working spaces, a design and modelling center and a makerspace equipped with 3D printing, 3D scanning, electronics, soldering and sewing machines. Consultations are available with staff to help you create prototypes and bring your ideas into the physical world.



Student/Postdoc Challenge Grants in Pharmacoengineering

Applicants need to submit a three page grant application, including a budget. Seed grants of up to $12,500 will be awarded to selected interdepartmental teams. Preference will be given to teams with members from both UNC and NCSU.


  1. Concept
  2. Need addressed
  3. Approach to establish proof of principle with timeline
  4. Budget
  5. Supervisor approval

For more information or to submit a grant, contact:

Sam Lai



Every two years, CUBE welcomes competitors to the pan-university Social Innovation Challenge, in which UNC students, faculty, and staff compete to receive a two-year residency in CUBE. Becoming a CUBE venture means free 24-7 coworking space, $5,000 seed funding, and access to mentorship and capacity-building workshops. Applications for the 2018 UNC Social Innovation Challenge will be accepted in Fall 2017.


Carolina Challenge

Carolina Challenge gives students the chance to win seed funding for their early-stage idea. Approximately $50,000 in total prize money is distributed between the most promising ventures each year in both profit and non-profit/social tracks.

A series of networking events, coaching sessions and practice workshops held throughout the academic year provide aspiring entrepreneurs with hands-on experience in communicating and accelerating their venture ideas. In addition, venture pitch events such as IdeaHatch and Pitch Party are catalysts for dynamic interactions between students and seasoned entrepreneurs eager to offer their mentorship.


NC Venture Well

Our E-Team Program gives university students the chance to move new tech ideas out of the lab and classroom and into the marketplace. The three-stage program provides grant funding, experiential workshops, veteran coaching and a potential investment opportunity to help teams manifest their projects’ full commercial potential.


Carolina KickStart

Technology Enhancement Grant: Carolina KickStart is eligible to submit applications for the NC Biotechnology Center’s Technology Enhancement Grant program. Technology Enhancement Grants are up to $50,000 and are intended to fund commercially-focused research that will enhance university intellectual property not yet licensed to a third party.



NC IDEA provides grants of up to $50K to high-growth technology companies located in North Carolina to fund business activities that validate potential markets, reduce business risks and advance projects to the point at which they are suitable for angel or venture capital investment.

Innovation Fund NC

IFNC makes pre-seed funding awards to help entrepreneurs validate their technologies and business concepts. In addition to funding, IFNC provides education and mentoring resources to all awardees.


Carolina KickStart

Commercialization Award Program: The Carolina KickStart Commercialization Award Program provides funding and access to internal and external business experts to help early-stage faculty-founded companies meet commercial milestones either on the technical side (prototype development, animal studies) or the business side (regulatory pathway, freedom to operate). Requests for proposals (RFAs) are solicited on a quarterly basis from faculty founders. The awards range from $25,000 to $50,000 depending on the company’s needs.


NC TraCS Translational Research Pilot Program

The NC TraCS Translational Research Pilot Program was established to facilitate the transfer of research findings to clinical practice in order to improve the health of the people of North Carolina. Awards range from $2,000 to $50,000, and are intended to encourage and facilitate novel clinical and translational research in its many forms. Cross-disciplinary basic science research addressing the development of therapies, diagnostics or devices applicable to human disease, clinical research/trials, epidemiological studies, and/or community-based research are all eligible for these awards. TraCS $5,000-$50,000 grants require a match commitment.


4D Pilot Awards

4D grants provide up to $50,000 to launch innovative drug discovery, medical device development and diagnostic research towards a commercialization endpoint. Awardees also receive one on one mentoring from industry and technical advisors and referrals to both on- and off-campus resources. Submission of a pre-application is required to be eligible for 4D Pilot funding.