27 finalists competing at 15th annual Charlotte Venture Challenge The 15th annual Charlotte Venture Challenge, which will be held, Tuesday, April 19, at the North Carolina Research Ca…
Meet Our Team
Paul Wetenhall, President
Paul Wetenhall joined Ben Craig Center May 2008. Paul led the transformation of the Center into Ventureprise, the region’s conduit to entrepreneurial development.
Prior to his return to the Carolinas, Paul served as president and director of High Tech Rochester, Inc. (HTR). 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 Ukraine. He can also be found relaxing with his favorite Jazz station or attending a regional theater or dance performance with his wife.
Devin Collins, Associate Director
Devin Collins is Assistant Director of Business and Entrepreneurial at UNC Charlotte’s Charlotte Research Institute and is responsible for accelerating technology commercialization and collaborations with industry, government and academia. Devin eads the Ventureprise student business incubator known as the 49er Foundry as well as Charlotte Venture Launch, region's customer discovery program.
Based at the North Carolina Research Campus a $1.5 billion private-public venture, Mr. Collins provides commercialization assistance to the eight university partners. At UNC Charlotte, Mr. Collins generates opportunity assessments on research for the patent committee and assists in developing university start-ups. He also manages the Charlotte Venture Challenge a regional (NC, SC, TN and VA) start-up competition designed to commercialize innovative technologies and accelerate early-stage high-growth companies through opportunity assessment workshops, mentoring and resource connections.
Previously, Mr. Collins was a strategy consultant with RAM Consulting, Inc. where he worked with domestic and international small-to-medium enterprises for development financial services. Prior to joining RAM, he founded Innervate Systems, an early-stage new venture creation services company and BrainGoals a brain fitness product development company.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Collins worked on internationalization and foreign direct investment projects in Europe while at the Camera di Commercio Italiana in Trento, Italy. He also served as a visiting scholar in a Balkan Economic Development Program.
Mr. Collins received his undergraduate degree from Babson College and his master’s degree from American University.
Carolyn Smith, Client Support
Carolyn Smith has been an employee at The Ben Craig Center and now Ventureprise since 1994. She is responsible for all aspects of the Ventureprise client-tenant experience in the PORTAL building as well as providing administrative support for Ventureprise programs and governance.
Carolyn and her husband, Tony, are life-long residents of Charlotte. They have two adult sons and two grandchildren. Carolyn and Tony are active members of First Baptist Church in Matthews. Her hobbies are reading, quilting, sewing and spending time with her family.