While I recall family members and people in the community opening neighborhood stores and video game arcades when they grew tired of working for somebody else, entrepreneurship wasn’t presented as a career option – such as being a teacher or a doctor or lawyer – throughout my high school and college years.
It wasn’t until I started working at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (CES) that I realized that entrepreneurship is more about solving problems than operating your own business and making money. Working at CES has allowed me to learn about the many programs and organizations that are affiliated with and supported by the Center.
One of those organizations is Carolina THINK, UNC’s undergraduate entrepreneurship club. Carolina THINK was founded by UNC entrepreneurs Jack Paley (BSBA ’17) and Devin Hanaway (BSBA ’17) in August 2014 to raise awareness and interest in entrepreneurship. Jack and Devin noticed that while there were lots of entrepreneurial programs and events offered for students in different majors – like the Computer Science Entrepreneurship Club – there was not a central organization that was open to all UNC students, regardless of their major.
The 2014-15 Carolina THINK leadership team includes Andrew Skinner, a business and global studies major, and Andriy Rusyn, a computer science major minoring in entrepreneurship and German. The core team also includes students from different majors, including business, psychology and communication studies.
“Entrepreneurial thinking can be a problem solver that can be applied to any field,” Andriy. “Entrepreneurship does not exist in a vacuum,” adds Andrew.
By partnering with departments, incubators and programs – including the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, The CUBE at Campus Y and the entrepreneurship minor program – Carolina THINK helps students discover entrepreneurship as a discipline that expands beyond the confines of conventional business and demonstrates that everyone has the potential to become an entrepreneur.
Through guest speakers, field trips, ideation sessions and other events, students gain hands-on experience. On a visit to American Underground in Durham, Carolina THINK members spoke with startup founders and other innovators. The club also co-sponsored a startup social with ExitEvent at Topo Back Bar in Chapel Hill.
Carolina THINK brings students with diverse backgrounds and perspectives together to think innovatively about how to solve big problems, making it one of the brightest entrepreneurship clubs on the Hill.
By Tamala Grissett, program manager of the UNC Kenan-Flagler Center for Entrepreneurial Studies