Thomas Entrepreneurship HUB launches Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

Thomas Hall
Thomas Hall, director
Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub

The Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub at UNC Pembroke helps grow local startups by providing education, personalized consulting and networking opportunities.

Programming and resources, including small business workshops, professional consulting, mentorships, are available to aid small businesses grow into successful companies.

The Hub, located on Main Street in downtown Pembroke, recently expanded its services by tapping into outside talent with expertise in financial management, government assisted programs, intellectual property and marketing.

The Hub welcomed four Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) participants to provide additional consulting support to startups.

“We are excited about our new Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program,” said Thomas Hall, executive director of the Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub. “With the new program, we will be able to offer much deeper expertise over a shorter period of time.

“We have four individuals who bring a wealth of expertise in various areas of business. They are all well-connected to the business community which will help us improve the services we offer to small businesses and startups.”

The four entrepreneurs include Darek Hunt, David Jacobson, Emily Jones and Ed O’Neal. Jones and O’Neal are UNCP alumni.

Hunt, a financial expert from Lumberton, has several years of experience as a financial advisor including stints with Investment Advisors and Consultants, Inc., UBS (formerly Paine Webber) and Smith Barney. In 2005, he founded Aurora Strategic Advisors in New Jersey and in North Carolina in 2015.

Jacobson is an attorney and a professor at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC Chapel Hill. He also teaches at Harvard University, the School of Business at UNCP and Tsinghua University in China.

Jones, of Pembroke, is the owner of WebElated, LLC, a website development and consulting company. She has 10 years of experience in the Information Technology field in higher education. She also serves as the public information officer for Robeson County.

O’Neal retired as an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel with 24 years of military service. After leaving the service, he worked in management and human resource consulting roles in the oil and gas industry. He also holds a patent on a boating product and owns Carolinas Roundabout Watercrafts, LLC. He lives in Rockingham. 

“Our goal is to increase the number of startups in the area,” Hall said. “And this new Entrepreneurship-in-Residence Program will provide additional resources to allow up-and-coming entrepreneurs and small businesses to expand.”

For more information about the Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program, please call 910.775.4065 or visit