City Startup Labs to establish a Center of Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC (October 6, 2015) – City Startup Labs (CSL) is establishing a Center of Excellence for Entrepreneurial Competency, Innovation and Leadership (CoE) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in association with Ventureprise. The CoE will be operating out of the Ventureprise offices in UNC Charlotte’s PORTAL building. (Ventureprise Inc. is a non-profit corporation affiliated with UNC Charlotte that serves as a venture development organization for the university and the Charlotte region).Portal_2868_resizedThe Center of Excellence will continue with the focus initiated by CSL during its 2 year pilot — reimaging young black men as entrepreneurs. However, in addition to teaching entrepreneurship, the CoE will provide an intrapreneurial track, again for this population, but designed to deliver innovation, problem-solving and leadership to corporate Charlotte and beyond. Further, in partnership with UNC Charlotte’s Urban Education Collaborative, the CoE will research the effect that this education can have on young black men, regarding addressing the wealth disparities present in Charlotte today.

According to Henry Rock, Executive Director of City Startup Labs, “the opportunity to associate with UNC Charlotte through Ventureprise is a very big step for City Startup Labs. It allows us to draw upon the faculty, students, research capacity and other resources at the University (such as the Collegiate 100), as we continue with the work of creating a new class of entrepreneurs. The Center of Excellence grows out of what was learned during the pilot, and the understanding that black male millennials(18-34 yrs) must play a formidable role in closing Charlotte’s socio-economic mobility gap. I think that both entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship are key in erasing these disparities, as we get our young black men contributing to the life-blood of Charlotte and elsewhere. This affiliation will definitely deepen our entrepreneurial roots.”

Paul Wetenhall, President of Ventureprise, sees the association with City Startup Labs this way, “we anticipate that collaboration with City Startup Labs will strengthen Ventureprise business creation expertise while expanding CSL’s impact on enabling young African-American men to pursue substantive opportunities as entrepreneurs or corporate intrapreneurs.”

During the pilot period, launched in January 2014, CSL collaborated with the Urban League of Central Carolinas (ULCC) on this initiative. Going forward City Startup Labs will continue working with the ULCC on the design and implementation of an entrepreneurial program for use by its broader client base, as well as, for graduates of the Urban League’s certification programs.

City Startup Labs, a member of the Charlotte Entrepreneurial Alliance, will continue to maintain as it has throughout the pilot, partnerships with Packard Place, Queen City Forward, the SBA and SCORE.

CSL’s Center of Excellence will begin recruiting new candidates in January 2016.

CONTACT: Henry Rock I City Startup Labs
henry.rock@citystartuplabs.com • www.citystartuplabs.org • 704.412.1322