Team Seahawk is in the news!
The following is an article written by one of our entrepreneurs in residence that captures the spirit of our Team…
The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UNCW is a story of leadership and courage. I remember when I first heard that Chancellor Miller was pushing to create a center that would connect the creativity and energy of our business start-up community with expert advisers from the private sector and university specialists. From the beginning, his focus was on New Hanover County as a unique and vibrant place with untapped talent. I was excited about what this could mean to me and the community. I am writing this letter to share my journey with you, one that is very much a Seahawk story.
A year ago, I found myself in my final class in the UNCW Professional MBA program. At that time, the vision for the partnership between the proposed CIE and Seahawk Innovation was in its infancy and my class instructors, Dr. Tyndall and Dr. Howe, invited Tobin Geatz and Tom Looney to visit our class to share their and Chancellor Miller’s vision for this public/private partnership. Both Tobin and Tom have had a long and deep history with business design and development and Chancellor Miller has dedicated much of his professional life to building communities poised for the future. I was immediately intrigued and asked if I could volunteer my time to be a part of the Team. Since that time, I’ve been actively engaged in the Seahawk Innovation effort at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship as it has grown from a few visionaries with some intriguing ideas to a team of fifteen including partners, paid team members, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and interns. The vast majority of these individuals are recent UNCW grads who play roles in tasks ranging from investment banking to startup business development, but the partnership is rapidly expanding to include business associates from local, state and even national ventures.
The energy of the “Team” is what really defines the Seahawk Innovation experience. It is an intoxicating whirlwind of startups and deals that challenge us as UNCW students, faculty, alums and private partners. Whether we’re listening to an entrepreneur’s pitch for funding or honing a startup’s market analysis, we feel like we’re at the nexus of entrepreneurship and progress in Wilmington. This effort is designed to give back to our community. The focus is simultaneously on personal progress and a commitment to place.
We’re changing Wilmington from the inside out and those of us at the center of this whirlwind feel like we’re making history. However, I think the magnitude of what is taking place now will be fully appreciated in five to ten years when we look around and realize how many new jobs have been created by startups that were formed and developed by the public/private partnership that is UNCW and Seahawk Innovation.
Without Chancellor Miller’s courage to take risks and bet on the future of our community, this hub of ideas and energy would not have been possible. I am grateful for his pioneering role in helping to enable this partnership,
Phil Miller (no relation to Chancellor Miller)