First entrepreneurship certificates granted at UNCP


The first graduates of UNC Pembroke’s new entrepreneurship program were congratulated for their accomplishments and their spirit during a special reception in December.

 entrep cert grads

From left: Demario Jones, James Hampton, Jaclyn Waite, Selma Nijs, Janaya Wesley, Owen Thomas and Shahnee Haire

“These students walked into something brand new and were willing to take a chance on this program,” said Dr. Mike Menefee, program leader. “That is the spirit of entrepreneurship.”

The certificate program began 18 months ago as part of a School of Business initiative to integrate entrepreneurship into its undergraduate and graduate programs and across campus.

The first seven graduates majored in music, mass communication, health promotions and business.  An entrepreneurship minor, a concentration for business majors and four graduate courses in entrepreneurship have also been rolled out.

They have big plans for the future.

“I will get a part-time job while I work on financing for my business idea,” said Jaclyn Waite, a music major from Cary, N.C. “It’s called Anti-Gravity, and it will be a club featuring a wide variety of music.”

Jaclyn Waite, a health promotions major from Durham, N.C., landed a job at the Robeson County Health Department but will work toward opening the “Not Just Dance” studio to promotes healthy lifestyles for youngsters.

“I plan to get a master’s degree in public health or communication disorders in the near future,” Waite said. “For now, I am the teen outreach coordinator at the Health Department.”

From Rowland, N.C., James Hampton Sr. was once a New York truck driver and majored in information technology at UNCP.

“I will be working on financing to start a trucking business with one or two trucks,” Hampton said. “My focus is small business and creating jobs in Robeson County. We need jobs here.”

Demario Jones, a broadcasting major from Atlanta, Ga., has an idea for a club near Atlanta’s busy Hartsfield Airport.

“My goal is to start a lounge with entertainment and grow it into television production studios and media conglomerate,” Jones said.

Chancellor Charles Jenkins and Provost Charles Harrington where on hand for the ceremony. School of Business Dean Cammie Hunt Oxendine said entrepreneurship is a developing area at UNCP.

“I’d like to thank Dr. Menefee for his work in leading the entrepreneurship programs,” Dr. Oxendine said. “He overcame many hurdles in a short time to build these programs.”

Dr. Harrington, who is also member of the business faculty, said the University is energized by the success of the emerging entrepreneurship programs.

“You have a lot to be proud of,” he said. “This is a first for both these students and our institution.

“We’re new at this, but we’re very excited about this program,” Dr. Harrington continued. “To our graduates: go off and do great things and come back to your school often.”

UNCP turns business training into the real world at its Thomas Family Center for Entrepreneurship, located at the nearby COMtech business incubator.

For more information about entrepreneurship programs, please contact the School of Business at 910.521.6214 or email