Innovate Carolina helps faculty, students and staff at UNC-Chapel Hill move more ideas into the world faster to solve the world’s problems and strengthen the economy. The University-wide initiative works with inventive problem-solvers to rigorously apply the tools of innovation and find answers to the most complex social, scientific and economic challenges in North Carolina and beyond. Visit innovate.unc.eduOpens in new window to find stories, resources and events for Carolina innovators and entrepreneurs.
Farm to Freezer
In the last 20 years, 21% of family farms have closed — unable to sell their crops. Yet, many people still struggle to afford healthy food. University-affiliated startup company Seal the Seasons works with farmers in Duplin, Gaston, Granville, Cleveland and Wayne counties to flash-freeze strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. Farmers get a new revenue stream, and people everywhere can find affordable, North Carolina-grown produce at Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Ingles and other stores nationwide.
Affordable Housing for All
For many low-income North Carolinians, the search for a safe, affordable place to live feels hopeless. Professor William Rohe and postdoctoral research associate Michael Webb from the UNC College of Arts & Science’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies are developing the Housing Opportunity Finder web app to help families identify economical housing options. The app will connect residents in Durham and Orange counties with opportunity neighborhoods, prioritizing affordable listings in those areas.
Teaching Kids to Code
In high school, UNC-Chapel Hill junior Angelina Patel ’21 participated in a Carolina computer science camp, piquing her interest in coding. But when she returned home to Savannah, Georgia, she couldn’t find similar resources for younger kids. With the help of Carolina’s entrepreneurship programs, she launched Kids Code, a social venture that teaches coding to elementary and middle school students in Durham, Chapel Hill and Savannah.
Child Welfare Initiative
Each month, more than 400 children across North Carolina are removed from their birth homes because of abuse or neglect. David Ansong, an assistant professor at the UNC School of Social Work, is working to streamline the licensing process to help more family members become guardians and receive the full financial support they need to care for these children. Plans for initial pilot programs include Beaufort, Iredell and Mecklenburg counties.
Support Innovate Carolina
Innovate Carolina helps students and faculty expand their work and achieve a return on investment for themselves, the University and the world.Click here to make a gift online today Opens in new window
Grow: Increase Innovation to Speed ProgressTo remain at the forefront of innovation and continue to provide maximum economic and social value to the state and world, Carolina must increase the number and speed of innovations created by faculty, staff and students. Support will fund three priorities: (1) Innovate Carolina Alumni Network Fund, (2) Matching/Sidecar Venture Funds and (3) Social Innovation Initiative.
Build: Create Spaces Where Ideas Come to LifeTo bring their ideas to life, innovators need spaces to meet, work, experiment, test and collaborate. We envision a connected corridor of space on and off campus to meet demand and grow our innovation capacity. We have four specific needs: (1) Proof-of-Concept Center, (2) Wet Lab, (3) Makerspaces and (4) Co-working and Shared-support Spaces.
Activate: Apply the Innovation Mindset and Skillset Across the Journey of an IdeaWe support faculty, students and staff who want to put their ideas into practice and thrive in society and the modern innovation economy. Support focuses on three new opportunities: (1) Pathways to Impact Program, (2) Dreamers Who Do Program and (3) Carolina Innovation Passport.
“From chemistry to physics to engineering, if we all team up, we have the expertise to tackle this.”
“We have connected the dots by bringing experienced entrepreneurs and their networks together with crackerjack entrepreneurs at our universities who are working on exciting new products and services”