Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Charlotte and All That Jazz

April 15, 2013 at 11:08 AM

The economic vitality of our country is built upon the pillars of innovation and entrepreneurship. Our organization, Ventureprise™, works to ensure that innovators and entrepreneurs can find great success in one of America’s most dynamic regions, Charlotte USA.

Welcome to our Ventureprise Vibe blog! As a long-time jazz lover, I know that a good vibe depends on musicians, audience and venue. The musicians must have something worth saying…and the technical chops to play it. The audience needs to be receptive to the music, ready to hear something new and willing to respond. Whether in a small club or a magnificent concert hall, magic happens when the vibe is right.

Without stretching the analogy to the breaking point, let me suggest that this blog will work to be the venue that creates the right vibe between all of our participants.

My team and our guest writers will bring information and insight relevant to innovation and entrepreneurship policy and practice. We will do our best to have the “technical chops” meaning substantive, fact-based commentary. We will work to avoid repeating vague generalities, but seek to bring new and challenging insight.

In turn, we invite your response and improvisation on the information we offer. In the jazz tradition, we hope that you will listen to us, turn our comments inside out and build a whole new level of insight.

Our focus will be on Charlotte and the surrounding counties in North and South Carolina (our economic development colleagues have somewhat grandly dubbed this “Charlotte USA”). As a graduate student decades ago, I experienced Charlotte through a summer job. When I returned five years ago, I found that the forward-looking, but quiet city that I experienced had blossomed into a “New South” sophisticated dynamo.

Ventureprise Vibe will aim to address how this booming region can build the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem that will support the new ventures that generate tremendous positive impact for our community and the world. We will look for the best public policies and interpret how they might be adapted to our situation.

Ventureprise Vibe will bring useful, practical guidance to our inventors, researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs and investors. There are many great sources for this information. We will feature the best insights from local experts, and we will adapt national expertise to address regional needs.

We invite you to contribute to a positive Ventureprise Vibe by joining us regularly, responding and building upon our voices. You will hear from me, my colleagues, and our insightful guest writers Allan Bacon, Lori Collins, Henry Doss, Jim Van Fleet and Patrick McLean.

We invite your comments and questions as we work together to build a vibrant entrepreneurial scene here in the beautiful, booming Charlotte region. Let the music begin!

- Paul Wetenhall, President, Ventureprise, Inc.

About Ventureprise Vibe™

Ventureprise Vibe is the blog of Ventureprise, Inc., a public-private non-profit organization affiliated with UNC Charlotte. We intend to strengthen the Charlotte region’s entrepreneurial and innovation capability by addressing policy and practice. Ventureprise Vibe seeks to create an informed conversation among Charlotte USA leaders in business, government, and higher education to support the creation of a strong and adaptive ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship. Ventureprise Vibe will help our region’s researchers, inventors, innovators, and entrepreneur increase their effectiveness by sharing local expert insights and interpreting global best practices for our region. Information that can positively affect job and wealth creation by Charlotte’s innovation-based entrepreneurs will be the focus of Ventureprise Vibe. Ventureprise is a trademark of Ventureprise, Inc.

- Paul Wetenhall, Ventureprise President

About Paul

Paul Wetenhall joined the Ben Craig Center May 2008.  Paul led the transformation of the Center into Ventureprise, the region’s conduit to entrepreneurial development. 

Paul comes to The Ben Craig Center from High Tech Rochester, Inc. (HTR) in Rochester, New York where he served as President and Director. Paul started with HTR in 1997 where he launched and managed the Lennox Tech Enterprise Center incubator. As HTR's venture coach, he worked with over 100 start-up and early stage companies. He began his service as HTR's President in January 2004 and was responsible for all aspects of the organization's work, supporting innovators, entrepreneurs, and manufacturers in the nine-county Finger Lakes region. He worked closely with HTR's Board of Directors and with academic, economic development, government and private sector partners.Paul was an adjunct lecturer in entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester's Wiliam E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration and a regular guest speaker at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has been director of Odyssey Software, Inc. and a director of a statewide economic development initiative, New Jobs for New York.

Prior to joining HTR, Paul founded and was president of QSoft Solutions Corp., a business software company formed in 1993. In 1985, Paul co-founded Microlytics, Inc., a Xerox-funded software company formed to commercialize technology from Xerox' Palo Alto Research Center. As Chief Operating Officer and a Director, he managed rapid growth, mergers, Hong Kong manufacturing, and public company issues. Previously, he held a variety of management positions in pricing, marketing, and operations during 13 years at Xerox Corporation.

Paul is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering with Honor and earned a Master in Business Administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Paul is not all work and no play.  When not mentoring entrepreneurs or speaking to city council, he is traveling to adventurous places; most recently Egypt, Jordan, China, Poland and the Ukraine.  He can also be found relaxing with his favorite Jazz station or attending a regional theater or dance performance with his wife.


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