Congratulations to Dr. Jiyoung Hwang!

Congratulations to Dr. Jiyoung Hwang, Assistant Professor of Marketing for receiving the UNCG Junior Research Excellence Award and Junior Teaching Excellence Award for 2016-17!  This is the first time that a faculty member has won both awards at the same time.

Dr. Nicholas Williamson receives the Long Leaf Pine award!

Congratulations to Dr. Nicholas Williamson, who will retire at the end of this semester after over 30 years with the Bryan School and who was presented with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the most prestigious awards presented by the Governor of North Carolina.

Assistant Professor Esra Memili Featured on “WalletHub”

What are the biggest challenges faced by Hispanic entrepreneurs? Assistant Professor Esra Memili shared some of her findings in a recent article on WalletHub’s article, 2017’s Best Cities for Hispanic Entrepreneurs.

Read more…

Feasibility Study Wins Small Business Institute Project of the Year

The Oden’s idea to open a tap room within walking distance of a college campus does not sound like an idea that would require analysis. But, as students in Dr. Dianne Welsh’s Entrepreneurship/Business 300 class learned, even the best ideas do not automatically mean an opportunity exists for a successful business.

“What we know is there are a lot of good ideas, but not all good ideas are opportunities. If a business does a feasibility study and a business plan, the chances of the business succeeding are 60% higher,” said Dr. Welsh.

In fact, the team’s work garnered a national award from The Small Business Institute at their annual conference in February 2017. “This is the only award of its kind in the United States,” Dr. Welsh said. “Judges come from all over the country.” Impressively, UNCG has had winners or placements in the competition every year since 2009. There are three categories for submission: comprehensive, specialized, and feasibility/business plan.

A group gathers at the Small Business Institute conference.

In Dr. Welsh’s class, students chose their project after hearing presentations from potential businesses. Bill Oden and his son, Kellam, brought PowerPoint slides to the class describing the business concept, and outlined their needs for the feasibility study. After the presentations, teams formed around the business proposals. “Our team just sort of migrated together into the brewery group. It was interesting and exciting to work with the opportunities of a real business,” said Randy Roof, one of the four students who formed the team. “It was more about seeing how far we could open this door and truly help create this real live business idea. It was our challenge.”

The Oden Bros. Brewing Company concept is not a unique one in Greensboro, but their site location distinguishes them from competitors. There are already four brew pubs located in the city limits. After making site visits to the other four brew pubs, the team found positives and negatives for each and discovered that none of these competitors were as accessible to UNCG students and residents of the nearby neighborhood, Glenwood, as the Oden Bros. Brewing Company site. They evaluated other factors such as price of a pint of beer, available parking on site, and market penetration.

In February 2018, customers will get their first taste of the product and experience at Oden Bros. Brewing Company. The brew pub will focus on a customer experience that includes not only beer, but wine, coffee, snacks, and a laid-back atmosphere where children and pets are welcome.

Dr. Welsh believes that the diversity of the project team contributed to their success. The team included a non-traditional student and an international student, as well as white, Hispanic, and African-American perspectives. The diversity of the four students, Guadalupe Rodriguez, Randy Roof, Amani Duke, and Kristoffer Holm, “gave us better opportunities,” Randy Roof said.  “We had access to knowledge about topics such as the bar scene, finances, research, English/grammar proficiencies, history, technology, cultures, and more. These abilities gave us traction and we had the ability to plan and take action quickly.”

Through extensive research and analysis, the team prepared operating costs and revenue projections for the first three years of operations. This section of the report heavily informed the business plan Bill Oden created.

“We incorporated a lot of the team’s work into our initial attempts at a business plan. The students were smart, and did a wonderful job.” – Bill Oden.

Team member Guadalupe Rodriguez said, “This (Entrepreneurship/Business 300) was the most helpful class here at UNCG in terms of learning things I can apply to the outside world. I will be able to do a feasibility study to start my own business someday.” First, however, Rodriguez will do something Dr. Welsh points out that 99% of students do after taking classes in an entrepreneurship curriculum—work for a start-up. Guadalupe plans to take the skills she learned while completing the feasibility study and help her own family’s business, an independent grocery in North Carolina.

Congratulations to Dr. Erick Byrd!

Dr. Erick Byrd  (Marketing) received continued funding from  the City of Greensboro Area Convention and for the project “Greensboro Tourism Leisure and Conversion Market Segment Study.”

Tourism is a major contributor to the overall economy in Greensboro with an estimated economic impact of $1.2 billion in 2013. The tourism industry is directly accountable for 12,450 jobs in Guilford County.

The purpose of the project is to gain a better understanding of two vital markets to the Greensboro tourism industry: the Leisure market and the Conference market, with the Conference market being made up of two groups – conference planners and conference delegates (attendees).

Dr. Dianne Welsh new SBI Fellow

Dr. Dianne Welsh, Hayes Distinguished Professor in Entrepreneurship, was inducted as a Fellow in the Small Business Institute (SBI) at the annual meeting February 16.

In an additional piece of news from the meeting, Randy Roof, Kristoffer Holm, Guadalupe Rodriguez, Joe Rotondi and Amani Duke, students in the ENT/BUS 300 Feasibility Analysis class at UNCG, won First place nationally for their feasibility analysis plan of Oden Brothers Brewery. Dianne Welsh is the Project Director and SBI Director for the project.

Bryan Stories: ArtBarks

Students in ENT/BUS 206 and ENT/BUS 300 did course consulting projects for ArcBarks to gain hands-on experience in the areas of feasibility analysis, inventory control, marketing, social media, online sales.

(see video)

Student Entrepreneurship Award deadline Feb. 25

The Office of Research and Economic Development will be accepting nominations for the Jerry McGuire Student Entrepreneur Award until Feb. 25. The award is an annual $1,000 award for UNCG’s most entrepreneurial student or student team. Students may self-nominate or be nominated by others, and nominees may be any full-time undergraduate or graduate students enrolled at UNCG. Eligible award winners could include students who have started businesses, social entrepreneurship ventures, on-campus programming, new clubs and organizations, as well as community service efforts. Individual students or teams of students may be nominated.

Jerry McGuire established UNCG’s Office of Technology Transfer in April, 2002 and served as its first director. Under his leadership, this department increased commercialization activities, as well as on-going research and innovation at UNCG. He was promoted to Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Development in 2009. This fund was established in honor of Jerry’s retirement in 2014.

See more details here.

Growing Green Shoots: Keith Debbage and ‘entrepreneurial ecosystems’

Dr. Keith Debbage is on a new track. He’s been writing the State of the City Report for the Greensboro Partnership for twelve years, and in the past year, he has moved into research concerning the geography of entrepreneurship by metropolitan areas, a subject he describes as “a key part of our future.”

Debbage is a professor of urban development in the Department of Geography and Veteran Coleman Entrepreneurship Fellow in the UNCG Bryan School of Business and Economics. This fall he attended the World Bank/George Washington University Annual Entrepreneurship Conference in Washington DC, presenting a paper titled “Geographies of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Non-Farm Proprietorship Employment by U.S. Metropolitan Area.” He finds his new research and teaching interests well-suited to a city like Greensboro, experiencing significant changes and development in recent years, especially regarding the ongoing evolution of its own entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Following his submission of this year’s State of the City analysis, his op-ed in the News & Record reported on Greensboro’s “fledgling recovery,” citing major developments in downtown, the desirability of a growing Greensboro as a place to live, and a low high school dropout rate. Debbage and his colleagues have studied comparable developing cities, such as Greenville, S.C., and Chattanooga, Tenn.

Debbage says of Greensboro, “There’s one big thing that makes us truly unique. A substantial amount of the really cool change in this city is not from the private sector, and it’s not from the public sector. It’s from the non-profits.” He points to the public art downtown, the urban greenway, Center City Park, and the Grasshoppers’ new stadium, noting that the Bryan Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and other  non-profits have spurred a great deal of Greensboro’s recent development.

In his teaching, Debbage strives to expose students to a blend of traditional research and applied research, or experience with real world projects. Students he’s worked with often go on to become Triad city planning directors or policy analysts in the U.S. Census Bureau, most likely because of their applied geography experience.

Debbage praises private entrepreneurs, some of them UNCG graduates, who are developing South Elm Street. As well, he praises Greensboro’s grassroots entrepreneurial startups and the “green shoots phenomenon” – young graduates inventing their own projects and, subsequently, careers.

He said, “To me, it’s an exciting time. Greensboro seems to be reinventing itself, moving away from declining traditional industry, and gradually developing new ways of doing business.”

By Susan Kirby-Smith

Dr. Dianne Welsh wins 2016 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Teaching & Pedagogical Innovation Award

Congratulations to Dianne Welsh on behalf of the Entrepreneurship Cross Disciplinary Program for winning the 2016 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Teaching & Pedagogical Innovation Award from the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC).  Competition for the event’s 8 awards included 95 applications from various schools; Duke University received second place.


The award recognizes the Entrepreneurship Cross-Disciplinary Program for its experiential learning component, focus on community engagement, and collaboration with the Integrative Community Studies/Beyond Academics Program (ICS) Program for intellectually and/or developmentally disabled adults.

The Campus Entrepreneurs class is just one of over 46 courses offered as part of UNCG’s Entrepreneurship Cross-Disciplinary Program. The program is housed in the Bryan School and directed by Dr. Dianne Welsh, and provides students in a variety of majors the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills.

“What sets this program apart is that it combines all students from across the university in an entrepreneurial learning environment and teaches students first-hand to respect, honor, and accept differences in individual learning styles and the contributions that each of us has the ability to make,” said Welsh.

Students in the Campus Entrepreneurs and Feasibility Analysis classes this semester will complete consulting projects with ArkBarks, a local organization that teaches developmentally disabled adults job skills while employing them as bakers to manufacture dog treats. Teams will help the organization develop an improved inventory system, conduct a product feasibility analysis, and develop marketing and social media plan.

The collaborative program benefits all students, as those involved gain experience working with a diverse work team. Additionally, it allows students in the Beyond Academics Program to explore entrepreneurial skills in the hopes of opening doors for both solo pursuits or family businesses and internships.

“Like their peers in other programs of study, ICS students are taking advantage of their time in college to discover interests and strengths that lead to meaningful career paths, of which entrepreneurship is an important one,” said Lalenja Harrington, Program Director for the Beyond Academics Program. “The Campus Entrepreneurs class provides students with the opportunity to learn about business development experientially and for learning to be assessed in a variety of universally designed ways, which is ultimately beneficial for all students. We have great appreciation for that pedagogical commitment and are excited that the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship finds value in that as well!”