NC State Centennial Campus Engineering Building

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Part two of our back to school coverage focuses on the entrepreneurship and startup activities going on at NC State University in Raleigh. 

School started Wednesday, August 19, and a whole new calendar of entrepreneurship events began. The Entrepreneurship Initiative is the best resource to keep track of goings-on around campus, but we've included some other events and activities worth putting on your calendar or researching, along with startups to watch on campus.


Check out our guide to the NC State startup world in 2015-2016:

Startups to Watch


WarpSpec DiagnosticsThis Lulu eGames winning company led by a PhD candidate and MBA student developed a device that can scan processed food for pathogens like Salmonella or E. Coli.

EcoPRTThis is promised to be a revolutionary and affordable transportation system that transports students and faculty around campus in small vehicles suspended in the air but could eventually be used on retail or office campuses or in dense urban areas. Civil, electrical and mechanical engineering students are working on this project alongside the educators/researchers who came up with the idea, Seth Hollar and Marshall Brain (also founder of HowStuffWorks.com).

BENANOVAThis AgTech startup based in NC State's Technology Incubator is developing particles made of natural materials that can be used in environmental remediation and crop protection. Co-founder Alexander Richter, a PhD candidate, won a prestigious Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize this year for his work.

VijilentFounded by NC State Professor of Marketing and Innovation Rosanna Garcia, this startup develops a trust score for people who meet online, whether to buy or sell goods online, rent a home or vacation property, share a car or make other digital transactions. The company recently graduated from Groundwork Labs.

CampusCruizerA safe rides service, made possible by a mobile app, ensure students get around campus safely and gives other students an easy way to make extra money by providing the rides. The student founders have ambitions of taking it to other campuses but for now, its only available at NC State. Here's our coverage of the startup.

Lithios AppsMobile apps and games are the focus of this startup led by NC State students and grads. The company both completes work for clients (like Offline Media and Campus Cruizer) and develops its own creations, like SnappyBird and Karmony.

NextGen Air TransportationThis isn't a single company, but instead a research entity that is considered a leader in unmanned aerial vehicle innovation and research around the nation. It wouldn't be too surprising to see a startup born out of the research happening here considering its recognition from the U.S. Government and relationship with local innovator PrecisionHawk.

Events to Attend:

Entrepreneurship Initiative Community ToursVisit the Garage on Centennial Campus for one of the Entrepreneurship Initiative's public tours. You'll get to learn about all the entrepreneurship activities on campus and see the space where students are innovating and dreaming up new products and companies. Pre-registration is required. 

EntrepaloozaConsider this a celebration of everything entrepreneurship at NC State, and it's happening September 3 on Centennial Campus. There will be student pitches, live demonstrations, games, food and prizes.

Wells Fargo Executive SeriesThis is a quarterly lecture series hosted by the Poole College of Management kicking off with the CEO of SAP in September, but with past lectures by the CEOs of Duke Energy, Ipreo, and BB&T and other innovators.

Fidelity Investments Leadership in Technology SeriesHosted by the Department of Computer Science, upcoming speakers include GE Chief Information Security Officer Tim McKnight, ChannelAdvisor co-founder and chairman Scot Wingo and globally known entrepreneur, writer and academic Vivek Wadhwa

Lulu eGamesThis is NC State's annual student entrepreneurship competition with categories New Venture, Arts Feasibility, Design & Prototype and Service & Mobile Apps. There are a series of rounds every spring semester, culminating in an expo and awards ceremony in April each year. Here's our coverage of last year's games, and a piece on the eGames experience by winner (and ExitEvent intern) Leigh-Kathryn Bonner of Bee Downtown.

Art2WearThis annual show in April showcases the designs and costumes created by fashion design students. NC State has a reputation for producing new fashion design talent—this is where those fashion entrepreneurs get their start.

Innovative Women's Entrepreneurship ConferenceLast October was a first-time event aimed toward female student and community members interested in entrepreneurship. There were speakers, panels and networking events, and because it was called "the inaugural event", we're expecting there to be another. Stay tuned for the details.

Startup MadnessNC State typically plays host to this fun competition pitting ACC startup teams against each other around the same time that the conference's basketball rivalry is coming to a head. HQ Raleigh and Startup High are in charge of the annual event, but judges are recruited from around the Triangle.

Organizations/Places to Get Involved

NC State Entrepreneurship ClinicLaunched in January 2015, this is a new clinic housed at HQ Raleigh but staffed by students working for credit or for startup experience. Triangle startup companies can submit projects for completion by teams of students during each semester and in the summer. The founders and teams work directly with the students, who collaborate with professors and others to perform the work. Here's our story on the clinic.

NC State Alumni Entrepreneurs NetworkHere's a group for NC State entrepreneur-alums who want to network with each other and get involved in entrepreneurship activities on campus.

Engineering Entrepreneurs ProgramIdeas and businesses like Nicotrax, Undercover Colors, the Temperfect Mug and Jar With A Twist were born in this program that trains engineers how to develop products and think like entrepreneurs.

NCSU Technology IncubatorLocated on Centennial Campus, this facility is open to faculty, staff and students and to the community. It's a space business and technical mentors, university resources and networking opportunities to inventors and early stage companies.

Small Business Technology Development CenterThis is a national entity with a local presence on NC State's campus to provide counseling and other resources to aspiring and existing small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Office of Technology TransferThis is the place to go on campus to look at available intellectual property or partnerships with researchers or innovators. It's also the place that faculty and staff go to commercialize technologies or ideas they develop in labs and classrooms.

NSF FREEDM Systems Center—President Barack Obama made big news locally when he announced $140 million in funding for the creation of an advanced manufacturing institute for renewable electric energy on campus. Its a public-private partnership, so corporations and startups have gotten involved in the research and innovation happening through the center.

Photo credit: Cgb628 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons