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An entrepreneurial ecosystem

NC State does more than just teach entrepreneurship in the classroom. The university has developed a range of programs to expose students to entrepreneurs, help students develop their own ideas and then push those ideas into the marketplace. These are a few of the most important parts of our entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Researcher in labChancellor’s Innovation Fund (CIF)

The CIF assists NC State innovators with reduction to practice or technology/product development needed to strengthen the commercial potential of intellectual property disclosed to the Office of Technology Transfer. Applicants for the funds are innovators actively engaged with OTT who wish to enhance the commercial potential for promising technologies.

Office of Technology Transfer (OTT)

More than 100 startups and 400 commercialized products have come out of NC State with the help of this office. OTT’s mission is to protect and promote university research discoveries and intellectual property, working with and guiding industry partners and promoting the acceleration of startups.s

Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI)

This umbrella organization for many of the entrepreneurship programs offered on campus was started in 2008, taking the EEP concept university wide. The EI’s offerings include a spring trip to Silicon Valley to visit leading tech companies and talk to NC State alumni and a local entrepreneurs tour each fall, along with an Entrepreneurs Lecture Series.

Lulu eGamesLulu eGames

Each spring, the Entrepreneurship Initiative gives away tens of thousands of dollars in this business idea competition in four categories: New Venture Challenge, Design and Prototype Challenge, Arts Feasibility Study Challenge and Verizon Student Innovator Challenge. Undercover Colors got its start by winning the New Venture Challenge at the 2014 eGames.

StudentsPoole College of Management

The Poole College of Management offers an entrepreneurship and technology commercialization MBA concentration and entrepreneurship concentration for undergraduate students.

Inspired by the university teaching hospital model that integrates research, teaching and real world experience, the College’s Entrepreneurship Clinic provides a place where faculty, students, entrepreneurs and service providers go to teach, learn and build the next generation of businesses in Raleigh. Located inside the HQ Raleigh downtown startup space, the clinic provides access to NC State’s team of technology commercialization experts who consult with leading companies and universities around the world.


This inaugural entrepreneurship and innovation festival hosted by the Entrepreneurship Initiative was held in early September on Centennial Campus. The event included a Minute to Win It Pitch Competition, in which students pitched their business ideas in one minute for the chance to win $1,000.

studentsEngineering Entrepreneurs Program (EEP)

Dr. Tom Miller’s first-of-its-kind entrepreneurship program, started in 1993, allows seniors in the College of Engineering an alternative to their department’s senior design project in the form of a two-semester entrepreneurial track. Students form teams and start with a blank sheet of paper to create an entrepreneurial company and product.

Technology Incubator

The university’s Technology Incubator is a nonprofit organization managed by Industry Expansion Solutions, formerly the Industrial Extension Service. The goal: bringing private and university-based entrepreneurs together in a creative, results-driven environment to activate growth and economic vitality. More than a dozen companies are located in the Centennial Campus facilities, which are not limited to NC State companies.

StudentsThe Garage

This collaborative space in the Albright Entrepreneurs Living and Learning Village offers all the tools NC State student entrepreneurs need to collaborate, from 3-D printers and laser cutters to video equipment, plus a comfortable setting to talk about their ideas. The Garage was established in 2010 with a gift from Red Hat to NC State.

Return to contents or download the Fall/Winter 2015 NC State Engineering magazine.