Self Employment in the Arts

Two days jam packed with engaging activities focused on making a living as a professional creative. From large keynote sessions to hands-on learning opportunities to one-on-one mentoring, you'll be exposed to an arts business eco system you won't find anywhere else. Whether you're looking to explore making a living with your creative talents or wanting to expand your current pursuits, you'll leave better equipped to continue on your journey.

The event is open to all interested in attending with the primary focus on emerging creatives in the visual, performing, literary, and media arts as well as educators and art organization leaders. Attendees include high school students interested in majoring in the arts, college students, and community artists. Click here to register!

Venture for America Fellowship

Venture For America is your path to a fast-paced, high-growth career in startups. As a VFA Fellow, you’ll learn from world-class entrepreneurs and business leaders at our intensive Training Camp before starting a full-time salaried position at a startup in one of 15 US cities. On the job, you’ll roll up your sleeves and learn how to build a business by apprenticing with an experienced entrepreneur. We support Fellows with ongoing mentorship, our network of Alumni & advisors, and help fund their ideas when they’re ready to start businesses of their own. If you are resilient, a lifelong learner, and want to build something of your own one day, VFA is the path for you. Click here to apply today!

Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship 

 The Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship is for the problem-solver, the creator, the agent for social change. Our students come from different walks of life, a spectrum of perspectives and can be pursuing any major on campus--because what we know is that all students with the desire to innovate can be successful in our program.  Our program was founded on the understanding that there is a common process for the realization of new ventures, ideas and concepts. Regardless of whether those ventures are startups, social enterprises, artistic endeavors or even growth within existing companies. As an interdisciplinary program in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences we encourage students to think and act entrepreneurially in product-design, tech creations and intrapreneurship. Students who are a part of our community and complete the academic course requirements will have a unique skill set that will make them competitive in the 21st century job market. Click here to apply!

Dreamers Who Do Program

Office of Innovate Carolina continues to offer funding to students interested in furthering their innovation and/or entrepreneurial skillset development through the Dreamers Who Do Program. The program provides a rolling application opportunity to augment the burden of travel costs if students have an opportunity to competing nationally or even internationally, attend a conference, hosting a speaker, etc., Over the last two years, the Office of Innovate Carolina has provided approximately $50,000 in funding to over 50 students.

ACC Inventure Prize (In conjunction with the Carolina Challenge)

The Office of Innovate Carolina has joined forces with the Kenan Flagler Business School’s Entrepreneurial Center to offer students multiple opportunities to compete against each other throughout the year – allow them to hone their technique. Starting with the Carolina Challenge’s Pitch Party students will be selected to move forward into a smaller cohort of approximately 10 teams. The teams will participate in workshops from design thinking, finance 101, product development, pitch support, etc., An abridged version of the four Startup UNC modules will be used to walk the cohort through the basics in establishing their venture. A final competition will be held in the beginning of the spring semester to win an opportunity to represent UNC at the ACC Inventure Prize at NCSU.

Innovate Carolina Pathways Online Engagement Platform

In October, the Office of Innovate Carolina will be deploying a software platform to allow students to post ideas, monitor their venture progress with a business model canvas, schedule working sessions with a mentor, network with peers to post questions and get feedback as well as build their teams. The platform will be introduced this fall as a pilot to all 1789 members and fully deployed in the spring.  Email Sheryl Waddell ( for more information. 

Women’s Innovation Council

The Office of Innovate Carolina will sponsor UNC’s involvement in the Women’s Innovation Council The council bridges universities and female innovators across the Triangle to elevate young female innovators and enhance campus programming. It seeks to 1) increase the number of female students participating in campus innovation programs, 2) make innovation programming more accessible across majors, 3) directly connect female students to the robust ecosystem of Triangle innovators, 4) share best practices and catalyze collaboration with universities in North Carolina and beyond.  Email Sheryl Waddell ( for more information. 

Innovation Internship Initiative 

The Office of Innovate Carolina is partnering with several university programs including the Shuford Program, Carolina Honors, KFBS Entrepreneurial Center, Graduate School, and Career Services to deploy innovation learning experiences to help prepare our students as they enter the workforce. November 15th | 6:00-8:00 pm at  Launch Chapel Hill