UNCG Research engages with the world through community engagement and economic development activities. The entities working to ensure our success in these endeavors include our Economic Development arm, the Institute for Community & Economic Engagement, the Office of Innovative Commercialization, and the Small Business & Technology Development Center.
UNCG’s Institute for Community and Economic Engagement (ICEE) was created in the spring of 2008 in response to the charge from then President of the University of North Carolina System, Erskine Bowles, and the UNC Board of Governors that all campuses would position themselves to respond to the most pressing needs facing the state. ICEE functioned as a virtual organization which bundled all of UNCG’s community and economic engagement activities under one umbrella.
ICEE was re-launched in July of 2012 as both a virtual and physical presence and advocate of community engagement in response to the implementation plan for Strategic Goal 4.3 that called for establishing an “office” to support community engagement university-wide. ICEE provides one highly visible point of contact for the external community for campus activities related to community and economic development, while providing structure to and support for UNCG faculty, staff, and students interested in community-engaged research, teaching, and scholarship. ICEE brings together community engagement and economic development within one institute in the recognition that pressing social and environmental issues are complex, multi-faceted, and interconnected, and therefore, must be addressed through a full range of approaches and by a full array of stakeholders.
Both the CEI and ICEE build on previous activities, conversations, and relationships – most especially the work of individual faculty, staff, students, and community colleagues who have worked tirelessly to preserve and enact UNCG’s motto since 1892: “Service.”
The Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Development acts as the portal for access and information concerning all activities at UNCG that involve economic development. The responsibilities of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Development include overseeing the Office of Innovation Commercialization and the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center.
The Office of Innovation Commercialization (OIC) supports UNCG’s effort to encourage innovation and disseminate knowledge. OIC serves the university and the public by commercializing discoveries developed by faculty, students and staff. OIC also assists faculty in obtaining research support from corporate sponsors.
The North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center (NCEC) serves as a portal between the university and the external community to provide expertise and resources in entrepreneurship. The NCEC helps campus and community members start and/or grow their enterprises. The center also works to bring programs to the university and community in general that are intended to inspire people to think entrepreneurially; to educate through new kinds of learning outside the classroom; to connect nascent entrepreneurs with those who have been successful; and, ultimately, to help create new career paths that allow people to follow their passions.
The Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) is The University of North Carolina’s business and technology extension service. The SBTDC is administered by NC State University on behalf of The University of North Carolina System, and is operated in partnership with the US Small Business Administration.
The SBTDC is part of The National Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program, which was founded on the premise of leveraging higher education resources (staff, students, faculty, research) for the benefit of the business community. In North Carolina, the SBTDC provides that vital connection between the multi-campus University system and small to mid-sized businesses across the state.