Chapel Hill Hosts Triangle Entrepreneurship Week Events

CHAPEL HILL – For the first time, Triangle Entrepreneurship Week is coming to Chapel Hill. The event, now in its third year, hosts local leaders, investors, supporters and entrepreneurs, offering a time to network and share knowledge.

Dina Mills, Program Manager at the LaUNCh Chapel Hill business incubator, explains that Triangle Entrepreneurship Week used to hold events only in Raleigh and Durham.

“It’s really important for the entrepreneurial community because it shows the growing importance of Chapel Hill as a place for start-ups,” Mills says.

Activities across the Triangle run till the 13th, with a full day of events going on at both LaUNCh and its sister incubator, 1789, on Tuesday. The Town of Chapel Hill and Innovate @ Carolina are sponsors.

“In the morning [at LaUNCh], we will start a session on pitching and investors, and then we have a session on how your company can change the world, followed by a panel discussion with a number of lawyers who specialize in start-up law,” Mills says

Last year, TEW brought together more than 2,000 local entrepreneurs, and business owners attended 26 events in the area.

“Lots of great connections have been as a result of it, and that’s why we are really pleased to have it in Chapel Hill this year,” Mills says

Events are open to the public. For a schedule of events, click here.

1 Million Cups Gives Local Entrepreneurs Networking Opportunities & More

CHAPEL HILL – As part of a continued effort to foster the entrepreneurial environment in the area, there’s a program called 1 Million Cups that offers networking opportunities and much more. Each week, two local business venturists present their start-ups to a diverse audience of mentors, advisers and fellow entrepreneurs. The program meetings alternate between the LaUNCh Chapel Hill business incubator and RTP Headquarters in Durham.

Dina Mills, the Program Manager at LaUNCh, is one of the organizers for our local 1 Million Cups branch.

“People are enjoying other entrepreneurs and hearing about what they are doing,” Mill says. “They are getting feedback on their business, and also, just great connections are being made.”

1 Million Cups is “caffeinated,” or funded by the Kauffman Foundation, one of the largest supporters of entrepreneurship in the country, funding activities around the world. 1 Millions Cups has member cities across the country.


One of the presenters Wednesday was Ann Johnston, founder of Local Ventures, a website for small businesses to find and connect with reputable local vendors.  Johnston, who graduated from UNC in May, works out of the 1789 incubator, a feeder to LaUNCh.

Johnston’s vision for Local Ventures grew out of UNC’s JNO Venture Competition. She says the company received $8,500 in funding, the largest sum awarded to date.

“With this presentation now, a couple more people know what we’re doing, and they will tell their network,” Johnston says. “Word of mouth is huge; it’s really important. Without support from the community—we don’t have tons of marketing dollars we can just throw around. Things like this are really helpful to us.”

Besides the valuable networking opportunities, Mills explains that 1 Million Cups now offers the chance for companies to gain national attention as well.

“Today, we are actually doing our first submissions as part of 1 Million Cups. We will have the opportunity to be on Dream Big America which is a new national radio show. We are hoping to have some of our companies profiled in front of 3.5 million radio listeners,” Mills says.

If you have presented at a 1 Million Cups function, Mills says this qualifies you for consideration to be submitted. Program organizers will then pick nominees from the pool of previous presenters.

1 Millions Cups happens every Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m and is open to the public. For information on becoming a presenter, click here.

1789 Incubator Fosters Young Entrepreneurs

Photo Courtesy: 1789

CHAPEL HILL – 1789 is not just the year UNC was founded—it’s the newest business incubator to open in Chapel Hill. It’s geared towards Carolina students and recent graduates, with the goal of supporting the area’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Following in the footsteps of Launch Chapel Hill, which opened in May– 1789 will act as a feeder to its predecessor.

Launch nurtures the more advanced businesses that are ready to seek funding— whereas 1789 is about developing young entrepreneurs and assisting them in the early stages of their business ventures.

1789 was recently recognized by Friends of Downtown Chapel Hill at the organization’s monthly meeting.

“When they have to leave 1789, they will be going over to Launch, and we will then—once Launch launches them—we then, hopefully, will have them a businesses in Chapel Hill,” said Pat Evans, Chair of the Friends of Downtown Chapel Hill.

Evans says there are currently 15 start-ups working there now.

The facility, located above Four Corners on Franklin Street, offers multiple small and large working spaces, a 20 seat bar, and conference rooms.

Mentors for the program include faculty and staff from the UNC Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the Kenan-Flagler Business School. Partner the program include the Town of Chapel Hill, Innovate Carolina, and the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.