UNC Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise Program Provides Entrepreneurial Support for Companies in Five N.C. Counties

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Students from North Carolina universities worked on economic development projects with organizations in Beaufort, Bertie, Halifax, Northampton and Wayne counties and presented their findings to business and community leaders in December.

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Students from North Carolina universities worked on economic development projects with businesses and community leaders in Beaufort, Bertie, Halifax, Northampton and Wayne counties during fall semester and presented their findings in December.

Nine student analysts from UNC-Chapel Hill (UNC), North Carolina Central University (NCCU), Duke University and East Carolina University (ECU) spent the last semester working on economic development projects to benefit organizations in five North Carolina counties.

Their efforts were organized by NCGrowth, an initiative created by the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise in 2012 to provide technical assistance, strategic planning and applied research to businesses, communities and governments. Businesses receive support through the Entrepreneur Technical Assistance Program (E-TAP), which completes high impact projects for growing companies in North Carolina with the goal of helping the company expand and hire more people from their region.

“The work of the students and the Kenan Institute is a significant service to the state of North Carolina,” said Doug Shackelford, dean of UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. “Our mission at UNC is to serve North Carolina through teaching, research and public service and the NCGrowth team does this well.”

With support from Kenan Institute staff and university experts, graduate student analysts devoted a semester or longer to their projects.

  • UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA student Chris Long worked with LSA America, a light sport aircraft manufacturer in Littleton, to determine an inventory system for the company.
  • UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA student Ashwini Rathi worked with Terra Ceia Farms owner Carl van Staalduinen to evaluate the growth potential of the family business in Pantego, Beaufort County. They developed a new business plan for the nursery and mail-order bulb and cut flower farm.
  • Ferdinand Rouse, an ECU MBA student, and Wes Waller, operations director of NC Waste & Recycling in Goldsboro, formalized the company’s human relations program and developed a new HR policy and procedures handbook. Since many new employees are native Spanish speakers, Nelson Sierra Sosa, an undergraduate UNC student with experience translating HR documents, translated the handbook.
  • Joanna Furgiuele, a dual UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA and Duke Nicolas School Environmental Management degree candidate, worked with Vonner Horton of A Pathway to Independence (API) and Epiphany Cosmetics in Windsor, N.C. API assists underserved women in Bertie County with programming focused on skill development, and Epiphany is a cosmetics line for women of color that hopes to hire consultants who have completed the API program. Furgiuele developed the content for Epiphany’s first catalogue and an onboarding training manual for new consultants.
  • Emily Edmonds, a student in UNC’s online Master in Public Administration program, worked with the Town of Garysburg to conduct a feasibility study for an agricultural center located in an old elementary school building. Edmonds researched market information, supply and demand, and strategies for transitioning longtime tobacco farmers to new crops.
  • Cathy Scott, executive director of the Halifax County Economic Development Commission, worked with Andrew Trump, a UNC MPA/Masters in City and Regional Planning student, and Christina Thomas, a NCCU JD/MBA student, on a report on the economic impact of existing businesses in the county. The project results will inform the business retention efforts in Halifax County and in the state. Jessie Maxwell, a UNC MBA/Duke MPP student, spent the fall determining the feasibility of a foreign trade zone within the county of Halifax.

For more information, contact LaChaun Banks, economic development manager, at lachaun_banks(at)kenan-flagler(dot)unc.edu or (919) 962-4696.


About the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School
Consistently ranked one of the world's best business schools, UNC Kenan-Flagler is known for its collaborative culture that stems from its core values: excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork. Professors excel at both teaching and research, and demonstrate unparalleled dedication to students. Graduates are effective, principled leaders who have the technical and managerial skills to deliver results in the global business environment. UNC Kenan-Flagler offers a rich portfolio of programs and extraordinary, real-life learning experiences: Undergraduate Business (BSBA), full-time MBA, Executive MBA Programs (Evening, Weekend and global OneMBA®), online MBA@UNC, UNC-Tsinghua Dual-Degree EMBA, Master of Accounting, PhD, Executive Development, and UNC Business Essentials programs. It is home to the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.

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