Ventureprise Names Laura Smailes as Assistant Director

November 28, 2017

CHARLOTTE, N.C.- Nov. 27, 2017- Ventureprise has hired Laura Smailes as Assistant Director to expand community outreach for NC IDEA recruitment and program management of initiatives to strengthen entrepreneurship at UNC Charlotte and the region.

Laura’s primary responsibilities include managing the NC IDEA Ventureprise Launch customer discovery initiative, along with supporting expanded outreach with UNC Charlotte faculty and students through the Ventureprise National Science Foundation I-Corps Site, 49er Foundry student business incubator and other 2018 programs. This newly created position is made possible in part by the NC IDEA Foundation Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Partner grant, with Laura focusing on identifying and assisting the most promising innovation-driven talent and ideas through the Ventureprise Launch NC IDEA program.

Laura will also have primary responsibility for all Ventureprise communications supporting our evolving mission and work closely with Devin Collins to launch the 2018 Charlotte Venture Challenge.

Laura’s education and experiences provide her with perspective and expertise very well aligned with Ventureprise needs. Her passion for the entrepreneurial community began after she graduated from UNC Charlotte with a master’s degree in communication studies. She formed a startup (Eco-H2O Innovations, L.L.C.) with two UNC Charlotte engineers, working on a wave powered desalination system to provide clean water. Through that startup, she experienced the pilot version of Ventureprise Launch and the company was a Charlotte Venture Challenge winner. In addition to participation in the CLT Joules accelerator, Laura has served as communications manager for PitchBreakfast and project manager for StartCharlotte. Laura has previous corporate communication experience ranging from producing a morning radio talk show to sales and marketing.

About Ventureprise

Ventureprise is UNC Charlotte’s innovation and entrepreneurship center serving the UNC Charlotte campus and Charlotte region. As one of 80 National Science Foundation I-Corps sites, recipient of a 2016 NC IDEA ecosystem grant and creator of the Charlotte Entrepreneur Growth Report, Ventureprise serves as a center of excellence for evidence based entrepreneurship. By offering three core programs focusing on customer discovery and business model generation; the Ventureprise Launch NSF I-Corps program to faculty and students at UNC Charlotte and surrounding campuses, Ventureprise Launch NC IDEA program to Charlotte and western North Carolina innovation-based startups and 49er Foundry Incubator for UNC Charlotte students, Ventureprise works to provide the resources and expertise for university and community base startups to get to the next level of business formation, scaling or funding.