Engage in Innovation

The Gillings School and the broader campus offer a variety of social innovation events and competitions throughout the academic year


Entrepreneurship Panel: A Virtual Discussion with Entrepreneurs of Color at the Gillings School

What are the challenges faced by entrepreneurs of color? Join a panel of Gillings School alumni and faculty entrepreneurs on April 1 to learn more about their experience starting public health consultancies, empowering girls, building resilience in rural communities and more!

Map the System

Map the System 2021 is a global competition that challenges you to think differently about social or environmental change. Three Gillings teams are competing against other UNC teams on April 14, 2021 to be chosen as a finalist and receive a cash prize of $500, sponsored by Innovate Carolina’s Dreamers Who Do Fund. The finalist will also have the chance to compete for cash prizes in a prestigious virtual competition organized by Said Business School, University of Oxford.


Gillings School Virtual Pitch Competition (November 2020)

Gillings students and recent alums with an innovative idea to solve a critical public health problem competed in an all-virtual competition to win awards to further advance their ventures.  Teams were paired with entrepreneur coaches to learn from real-world experts.  Read more about the winners and participants.

Faculty Entrepreneurship Panel (October 2020)

Sponsored by the Gillings Research, Innovation & Global Solutions unit, the Faculty Entrepreneurship Panel convened on October 2nd, 2020.  Moderator Don Holzworth, the Gillings Entrepreneur in Residence, engaged 3 faculty panelists (Deborah Stroman, Michael Fisher, and Steven Zeisel) in conversation with an assorted mixture of faculty, students, and alumni. The discussion centered around navigating the journey of building a successful non-profit or for-profit venture.

NIH SBIR/STTR Faculty Workshop (June 2020)
NC Small Business Technology Development Center presented the strategy and proposal-writing event for faculty interested in applying for this federal funding opportunity. The event was sponsored by Innovate Carolina and facilitated by Gillings Research, Innovation & Global Solutions.

Gillings SGA Student Research & Entrepreneurship Showcase (February 2020) 
The Second Annual Student Research & Entrepreneurship Showcase was held on February 10th, 2020.  The event was organized by the Gillings Student Government and prizes were sponsored by the Gillings Research, Innovation, and Global Solutions office.  Both residential and online students presented posters showcasing their public health research and entrepreneurial ventures. Held in Michael Hooker Auditorium, Gillings students and faculty were able to view and discuss posters with participants and vote for winners in each category.  2020 winners were:  Best Student Venture Award:  Snigdha Peddireddy and Gretchen Mason, mPower, a social venture designed to address the problems faced by community members with multiple chronic illnesses;  Best Student Research Poster Award:  Caroline Chandler and Maura Drewry, The Bold Ones:  A Qualitative Assessment of Youth Mental Health Needs in Southeast Raleigh.

Participants during Unleash Your Innovation Lunch and Learn.

Participants during Unleash Your Innovation Lunch and Learn.

Unleash Your Innovation:  Gillings Faculty Lunch-n-Learn (February 2020)   
Faculty came together to learn about resources available to extend their work beyond the traditional academic path of grants and publications to make an impact.
Event Goals:

  • Foster the innovation community at Gillings and inspire innovative impact that creates economic, social, and environmental value, and promotes public health
  • Increase awareness among Gillings faculty and staff and demystify the support and resources for making an impact beyond the traditional academic path of grants and publications, including intellectual property (IP) and licensing funding mechanisms such as SBIR/STTR, social innovations via start-ups, policy change, partnerships, and / or scale
  • Hear experiences of successful Gillings innovators, representing both non- and for-profit ventures, sharing their stories

2020 Makeathon (January 2020)

At the 2020 Makethon, mPower won Best Early-Stage Digital Product.

At the 2020 Makethon, mPower won Best Early-Stage Digital Product.

Hosted by Kenan-Flagler Business School and various partners including Innovate Carolina and Be A Maker (BeAM), this 2 week-long event brought together student innovators across campus to meet, learn, collaborate and showcase their socially driven creations.  Gillings student venture mPower (Snigdha Peddireddy and Gretchen Mason) won Best Early-Stage Digital Product.

Ignite Your Ideas! Public Health & Healthcare Entrepreneurship Panel (November 2019) 
Hosted by the Gillings Career Center and the Research, Innovation and Global Solutions office, this event provided individuals the opportunity to meet successful public health entrepreneurs and learn about their journeys along the way. This event also inspired life lessons to support healthcare startups. Five successful Gillings alumnae shared their personal stories and experience as public health entrepreneurs followed by a discussion and networking reception, leaving attendees enlightened and inspired.
Panelists included:

  • Alex Piasecki (BIO), Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer @ Seal the Seasons
  • Alice Ammerman (BIO), Founder @ Good Bowls (aka Equiti Bowls)
  • Kurt Ribisl (BIO), Co-Founder @ Counter Tools
  • Rasheca Logendran (BIO), Program Coordinator & Founder @ Durham Volunteer Doulas
  • Patrick O’Shea (BIO), Resident Physician & Co-Founder @ MedServe

Carolina Challenge Pitch Party 2019

Carolina Challenge Pitch Party 2019

Carolina Challenge Pitch Party (November 2019) 
This event provides an opportunity for over 100 student teams to pitch their entrepreneurial ideas to judges.  Gillings student venture Durham Volunteer Doulas (Rasheca Logendran, Manisha Dubey, Ana Gomez) won 3rd Place, 2019 Late Stage Social Venture.  Other Gillings 2019 venture participants were Newman Carpenter (Emily Newman, Kathryn Carpenter), mPower (Snigdha Peddireddy, Gretchen Mason), and Jump Ahead (Graham Booth, Maddie DeVries).

Carolina Innovation Showcase (April 2019)
Hosted by Innovate Carolina, the Innovation Showcase allows you meet the most enterprising innovators from UNC-Chapel Hill and the local entrepreneurial community. Join with us as we celebrate the work of faculty, students, alumni and local business founders who have combined ingenuity and hard work to make the greatest human and economic impact possible.

The 2020 Innovation Showcase has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.