Ventureprise: Charlotte's Longest Serving Entrepreneur Support Organization
"As Ventureprise becomes a university innovation and entrepreneurship center, the goal is to address emerging needs by enabling UNC Charlotte to become a regional leader in entrepreneurial action and support."
Since inception in 1986 as the University Business Incubator Center, the organization has operated as a non-profit corporation closely affiliated with and financially supported by the University. Known for 25 years as The Ben Craig Center Inc., it operated as a small business incubator primarily serving entrepreneurs from the Charlotte community. That history was celebrated in November 2011 and captured in a publication, The Ben Craig Center…Supporting Charlotte’s Entrepreneurs for 25 Years.
The organization took on the broader role of a venture development organization beginning in 2012 and adopted a new name, Ventureprise Inc., to communicate a mission beyond a place-based business incubator. By February 2014, UNC Charlotte’s new building for university-industry partnerships was ready for occupancy and the Ventureprise® operation moved into the PORTAL building on campus. Its broader mission contributed to a 2016 Charlotte community leadership commitment to build “a robust innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.” With that regional effort underway in 2017, Ventureprise Inc. leadership decided to transform the organization’s mission and structure.
Beginning in September 2017, it began to operate as fully integrated organization within the University that has been its primary financial supporter for over 30 years. The Ventureprise team now focuses on building strong entrepreneurial capacity serving the faculty, researchers, and students of this large, rapidly growing urban research university. This next phase builds upon the lessons of three decades with the intent of making UNC Charlotte an effective leader in the next decade of the region’s innovation and entrepreneurship development.
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