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May 2, 2014
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PORTAL: A New Era Begins for Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurs

If one tunes in to Charlotte’s news outlets on a regular basis, the announcements that PORTAL is open for business are quickly becoming old news. 

What is not old news and won’t be old news for decades to come is what PORTAL means today to Charlotte entrepreneurs and for the remarkable possibilities for future innovative entrepreneurs. 

In fact, PORTAL is a long time coming to Charlotte’s entrepreneurial ecosystem that finds our city at least ten years behind sister cities investing in innovation and entrepreneurship as a cornerstone of economic development.   PORTAL offers the gateway for entrepreneurs to finally leverage a key component of thriving entrepreneur ecosystems – our institution of higher learning, UNC Charlotte, the largest urban research university in the state.  

UNC Charlotte Decades-Long Expansion

We have only to look at the past ways in which UNC Charlotte has fulfilled ambitious, long-term academic and economic development plans as evidence that the role of PORTAL for igniting industry-university partnerships to stimulate business growth and job creation is a bet that university leaders – Chancellor Phillip Dubois and Dr. Robert Wilhelm, Vice Chancellor of Research and Economic Development, made with a commitment to realize the vision.   

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Consider that twenty years ago, UNC Charlotte was without any PhD programs.  Today there are twenty one PhD graduate programs in various fields of study in many of our global economy’s explosive growth areas like Big Data/Informatics, Energy, Geo-Spatial studies, Advanced Materials, and Advanced Manufacturing. 

Just over ten years ago, the Charlotte Research Institute Campus did not exist.  Today, the Millennial Campus as it is also known consists of five new buildings and related infrastructure for collegiate studies, research and industry partnerships. 

These long-term accomplishments take vision, planning, resources and execution to realize.   

PORTAL: Vision and Planning for Economic Development

So, with vision and forward thinking from UNC Charlotte leaders, PORTAL begins in 2014 a new era for entrepreneurs.  PORTAL will play a significant role now and in the decades to come in bringing industry-academia together to help spur venture growth resulting in job and wealth creation.  By investing $35M (non-public funds) in a facility designed to provide “a venue where entrepreneurs can collaborate with peers, faculty members and students,” UNC Charlotte fills a significant void in Charlotte’s entrepreneur ecosystem.   The power of a research university that is building out more and more graduate programs in emerging industries will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to leverage a major talent source, especially in the hyper-competitive vocations in Information Technology, Software Development, and Engineering. 

Like other long-term university initiatives, this too will take planning, resources and execution to realize these ambitious visions for industry/academia partnerships for growth and economic development.   

Ventureprise

Ventureprise is the entrepreneur development organization residing in PORTAL to connect entrepreneurs with the resources needed both at the university and in the region.

Ventureprise provides affordable, ready-for-business office space in this contemporary setting that PORTAL provides.  Office space is available from $500 for a single office to $2,450 for a large office suite, with custom configurations beyond these standard suites. 

Startups

For startups, in addition to ready-for-business office space and valued connections, Ventureprise also offers business growth assistance, coaching and mentoring, and a work environment with like-minded innovators who enjoy working with similar founders and teams. 

Innovation-Driven Ventures

For existing businesses that are innovation-driven, perhaps have reached $1M - $5M in revenue and are attracted to what PORTAL has to offer, Ventureprise is eager to serve by being the workplace where companies and teams can innovate, interact and ignite ideas to accelerate their growth and success. 

For businesses that may be considering a move to a new space, we would like to invite you to PORTAL for a tour to see all that PORTAL has to offer. 

For businesses that are settled in their working space but like the concept of PORTAL and desire to get access to university resources, CEO’s can consider putting small teams at PORTAL to combine the best options for their business. 

PORTAL has indeed ignited a new era for entrepreneurs in the Charlotte region by closing a void that existed in our entrepreneurial ecosystem – ready access by entrepreneurs to academic leaders, experts, and student talent. 

 

To learn more and arrange a tour of PORTAL, please contact Marilyn Carpenter: marilyn.carpenter@ventureprise.org.