The University Entrepreneur Workshop is designed to help faculty and students learn the practical aspects starting a company based on university research. Over the course of this two-day workshop, experienced entrepreneurs will mentor attendees on how to evaluate the commercial potential of their technology, define the first steps in starting a company and assemble a startup roadmap for taking the next steps in launching the company.


The workshop is open to faculty, staff, and students from any Triangle or regional university.  It is intended for early-stage university technologies for which the application is unclear.  

Please submit information about the technology when registering to Tim Martin (


Throughout the course of the workshop, we will inform you on the basics of taking a technology outside the university setting, help evaluate commercial potential, identify special considerations relating to faculty entrepreneurs, review the practical steps towards starting a company, discuss the types of communication involved in venture creation and with the help of experienced coaches, develop an action plan moving forward.

Agenda: Day 1 


Session Title


8:30 – 9:00

Breakfast & Networking

9:00 – 9:05

Introductions and Workshop Overview

Don Rose

KickStart Venture Services

9:05 10:05

The Basics of Commercialization and Entrepreneurship

Don Rose

10:05 – 10:15


10:15 – 10:30

Details of the Pitch

Tim Martin

KickStart Venture Services

10:30 – 11:00

Problem Description, Application Opportunities and Enabling Features

Jason Doherty

Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise, UNC-CH

11:00 – 11:30

Market, Competition and Barriers to Entry

Don Rose

11:30 – 12:15

Intellectual Property 101

John Sotomayor

Sotomayor IP Consulting

12:15 – 1:00


Attendees: Refine your Pitch

1:00 – 1:45

Founding the Company

Thomas Allen

Wyrick Robbins

1:45 – 2:30

Communicating the Idea

Don Rose

Example Pitch: Diane Ignar

Ostrea Bio

2:30 – 2:40


2:40 – 5:00

Pitch Presentations


5:00 – 5:15

Wrap up

Instructions for Day 2

Don Rose


Agenda: Day 2 


Session Title


8:30 – 9:00

Breakfast & Networking

9:00 – 10:00

Panel of University Startups

Duke: Doug Eisner (Grassroots Biotech)

UNC: Philippe Chemla (Clinical Sensors)

NCSU: Joe Nixon (Locus Biosciences)

10:00 – 10:10


10:10 11:30

Funding Overview

SBTDC: Nicole Schwerbrock

NC IDEA: John Austin

NC Biotech Center: Greta Brunet

11:30 – 12:00

Building the Team and Faculty Roles

Don Rose

12:00 – 2:00

Lunch and Pitch Presentations (coaches attending as well, 10 min presentations)

Attendees and Coaches

2:00 – 3:00

One-on-One Coaching Sessions

Attendees and Coaches