1789 Incubator Is Open And Ready For Business

CHAPEL HILL – 1789 is the newest business incubator to open in Chapel Hill. It’s geared toward Carolina students and recent graduates, with the goal of supporting the area’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Following in the footsteps of Launch Chapel Hill, it will act as a feeder to its predecessor. Young entrepreneurs are already moving in to the space, with innovative ideas in the works.

UNC alum Aaron Scarboro has played a key role in getting 1789, which has arguably the coolest office space in Chapel Hill, up and running.

“We really want to be able to create an impact on the entrepreneurial community in the Triangle. We think we are filling a pretty big niche here. Launch is for the later-staged companies, and we are trying to focus on encouraging students who may have never thought of themselves as entrepreneurs before.”  Scarboro said.


Named for the year when UNC was founded, 1789 is located above Four Corners and is replete with conference tables, a kitchen, sitting areas, and private phone booths. For times when venturists want a creative break, there’s a ping-pong table and arcade game machines. Scarboro explained it took a lot of work to get the space ready for business.

“The floor was dirty, walls and windows were all dirty and grimy,” Scarboro said. The windows were broken and had bars over them—it was an absolute wreck. Over the course of about three months, we did a great job of renovating it, and it is an awesome space now.”

1789 also has one of the best views in town, with wide, open windows looking onto Franklin Street.

“The idea behind 1789 was that this was going to be a workspace for students and graduates to come and be able to work on an idea. We didn’t want people closed off in their own office space. We definitely wanted ideas to be thrown around and people to interact with each other. We do have some private spaces but really we wanted an open collaborative space,” Scarboro said.

After overseeing the renovation process, Scarboro then transitioned into an administrative role. He says local businessman and philanthropist Jim Kitchen had the vision for 1789 and was also heavily involved in LaUNCh Chapel Hill. After just a few months, 1789 is currently home to eight business ventures, from fair trade clothing makers to video production specialists.

Chapel Hill native Mary Elizabeth Lovelace worked closely with Scarboro to open 1789.

“It’s been really exciting to see it transform from a space under construction to a working venture lab,” Lovelace said.

Lovelace graduated from the University of Richmond. She did not have access to a program like this during her college years, so she has enjoyed seeing the venturists take advantage of a great opportunity.

“It is awesome to watch the entrepreneurial ecosystem grow in Chapel Hill because it wasn’t like this five years ago. There’s been so much to increase it, and 1789 is a huge part of that,” Lovelace said.

She explained that all a student needs to get involved with 1789 is a viable idea and willingness to take risks.

“It is really exciting to see the students get fired up about their ideas and the possibilities within those ideas,” Lovelace said.

Senior Kailey Izzard is an entrepreneurship minor at UNC and is interning with 1789.

“I always had a passion for entrepreneurship so I thought I might start my own business one day. I starting interning here [1789] and realized that I love managing people who are starting their own businesses to help them turn it into something real,” Izzard said.

Scarboro said he is working to recruit new ventures for the fall and also looking for business experts to mentor the young entrepreneurs.

“Hopefully we will be able to recruit mostly through word of mouth, through our interns, and our current ventures talking to people about it. We hope to generate a buzz on campus,” Scarboro said.

For more information on how to apply for the program, click here.



Masterful Mistake Management at Four Corners

Every organization needs a mistake management plan – preferably one that fosters MASTERFUL mistake management.   It’s a must for doing good business.

That’s because as hard as we may try to avoid making mistakes, we all make them from time to time. And what happens after that is critical to our success.

 If you aren’t sure what I mean by this, read The Heaven and Hell of Making Things Right.

Whether you need to start from scratch to develop a mistake management plan or simply need some tips for tweaking, please join us for Mistake Management Month– an annual Business Class tradition during which we observe the way individuals, leaders and teams manage mistakes – and the resulting impact on their organizations.  

The purpose: To raise awareness of the benefits and how-to’s of masterful mistake management.

The goal:   Long range – wouldn’t it be great for all organizations in Chapelboro to be masters of mistake management?  For  this year, the  goal is to simply double the number of organizations in Chapelboro that show signs of it – measured by the number of stories collected and shared here on Chapelboro.com.   

How realistic is this goal? 

We have four such stories right now.  All we need is four more.   SURELY there are four more businesses in Chapelboro that show  signs of masterful mistake management!

Here is story #1 from Four Corners on Franklin Street.


We were a party of seven during the busy, boisterous back to school season.   All orders were placed and food came out quickly for everyone but Janet.   

The waiter said it would be a few minutes.  Janet appreciated the update. 

A few minutes later, the waiter came out and said the manager was “working on”  Janet’s grouper sandwich.

A few “gone-to-the-beach-to-catch-it” jokes went around the table but no one was upset…just curious about what could be taking so long.

Several minutes later, the manager, Kristian Bawcom, came out with the sandwich.  He didn’t give excuses or explanations, just a sincere apology:

“This should not have happened”, he said. “There will be no charge for this and your drinks are on me too.   For the whole table.”

That wasn’t all.   Once everyone was done eating, the waiter brought a huge dessert platter for the table.

An apology would have been enough for us,  but not for Four Corners.  All of the extras –  the manager’s delivery of the sandwich along with a very sincere apology,  the free sandwich for Janet, free drinks for all seven of us, plus a special and free dessert  platter – showed that they took the situation seriously and that they were truly sorry.  And that they truly valued us as customers.

It sure was nice. 

What happened that night showed signs of a Mistake Management Plan and masterful implementation as far as the customer could see. To be truly masterful, some action needed to be taken behind the scenes to find out and correct whatever it was that caused the slow cooking grouper sandwich.     I  don’t know if that happened or not.   But I do know this.  We’ve eaten there many, many  times since that night – and it has never happened again.

But if it ever does – I won’t worry one bit because I know that Mr. Bawcom and his staff at Four Corners will make things right.   And THAT is good business.

I’ll share story #2  in a few days. 

Can you add a story to the collection – a story about masterful mistake management in Chapelboro?      

Please share below or send it to  Jan@Chapelboro.com 

 Related Articles: 

The Heaven and Hell of Making Things Right
Wisdom from Wooden & Withers
For more information on Mistake Management Month, see:  Serious Celebration:  Mistake Management Month