UNCP, Pembroke partners selected as InnovateNC community


UNCP, Pembroke partners selected as InnovateNC community

Partnership announced – At the announcement in Raleigh, are from left: Pembroke Town Manager Tyler Thomas, Dr. Cammie Hunt, UNCP’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Engaged Outreach; Ryan Sampson, Pembroke Town Council; and Dr. James Woods, Director of UNCP’s Entrepreneurship Incubator.


North Carolina State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) has selected five communities, including Pembroke, to participate in InnovateNC,an intensive, two-year, cross-city learning collaborative. 

UNC Pembroke’s Entrepreneurship Incubator initiated the application partnering with the Town of Pembroke, COMtech Business Park, the Lumbee Tribe, Lumbee Regional Development Association and local business leaders. The initiative is a first-in-the-nation effort to spark innovation-centered economic development. 

InnovateNCis designed as a learning opportunity for the entire state. Beyond intensive work with the five communities selected, the initiative will broadly disseminate products, processes, and tools to boost innovation statewide. 

UNCP’s Entrepreneurship Incubator, located at 202 Main Street, Pembroke, is currently being renovated and is expected to open late 2015. When complete, it will house up to 12 start-up businesses and provide technology, space and business consulting. With InnovateNC, the incubator will have partners in Pemborke, at NC State and throughout the state. 

University and town officials, who attended the September 6 announcement in Raleigh, hailed the partnership as a boon to economic development. Dr. Cammie Hunt, associate vice chancellor for Engaged Outreach at UNCP, said the partnership with InnovateNC “will allow our team to build a sustainable, distinct innovation ecosystem recognizing the town’s unique diversity and heritage as strengths.” 

“UNC Pembroke is committed to working with the Town of Pembroke to create

an innovation hub that will energize and stimulate entrepreneurship within the town and surrounding communities,” Dr. Hunt said. “UNCP’s Entrepreneurship Incubator will be the innovation anchor of the community.” 

Pembroke Town Manager Tyler Thomas said the town is “elated” with the partnership. 

“The Town of Pembroke believes this program is the impetus our community needs to create positive energy around entrepreneurship and innovation, ultimately resulting in job creation,” Thomas said. “We also believe local InnovateNC success can and will be a model for the rest of rural North Carolina.” 

Dr. James Woods, director of the Entrepreneurship Incubator who initiated the proposal, was thrilled because it was a very competitive field. 

“We are pleased and thankful to be part of the InnovateNC inter-city collaboration and continue to move innovation forward within Pembroke,” Woods said. “With the assistance of InnovateNC’s partners, UNC Pembroke, and the community, the Town of Pembroke is poised for sustained entrepreneurial growth.” 

Besides Pembroke, other winning communities included Wilmington, Greensboro, Wilson, and Asheville. Eighteen communities submitted applications, and submissions were evaluated on strength of current efforts, organizational capacity, local partners, and ability to participate in evaluation efforts, said IEI Director Anita Brown-Graham. 

“The five InnovateNCcommunities were selected because each has the right mix of assets, is fully committed to collective impact and to making major gains in building and sustaining innovation, and is ready to engage in the collaborative,” Brown-Graham said. “IEI and our partners look forward to working with these communities over the next two years.” 

InnovateNCpartners include NC State University's Institute for Emerging Issues and College of Design, Forward Impact, UNC General Administration, Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, UNC-Chapel Hill's Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise and Department of Public Policy, RTI International, UNC-TV, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, the Research Triangle Foundation and the N.C. Board of Science, Technology and Innovation. 

The project launch is supported by a generous grant from the Kenan Creative Collaboratory, an initiative of the four Kenan Institutes. NC State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) connects people and resources from all sectors and areas of North Carolina in an effort to ensure our state’s future economic competitiveness. For more information on IEI’s work, visit www.emergingissues.org

For more information about InnovateNC or the Institute Emerging Issues, please contact Sarah Langer Hall at 919.513.2800  or email her at smlanger@ncsu.edu