Innovate Carolina: Projects to Watch

Innovate Carolina moves more ideas into the world faster to solve the world’s problems and strengthen the economy.

Innovate Carolina moves more ideas into the world faster to solve the world’s problems and strengthen the economy.

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.

seal the seasons

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. 

housing opportunity finder

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. 

Kids Code

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.

David ansong

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.

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Clean Water for All

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“The company was made possible with technology developed at UNC…”


Sealing the Gap

“...will allow it to [provide] for more people across most of the United States.”

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Transforming Communities Through Entrepreneurship

“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”


Music Innovation Flows Around the World

A single innovation at UNC can grow into much more and make an impact on lives across the globe.


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What began as a classroom assignment could have lasting impact beyond Carolina.