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A culture of innovation

From the classroom to the lab, Carolina innovators are helping to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. Through their ingenuity, they are creating jobs, finding cures, combating diseases, fighting poverty, eliminating hunger, providing clean water and promoting social justice.

Innovate Carolina is a cross-campus alliance of people and programs that gives UNC-Chapel Hill students, faculty and alumni the knowledge, tools and resources they need to put their ideas into action.

We believe that ideas are the currency of a better tomorrow. … Inklings of new possibilities born in Chapel Hill turn into innovative pathways that improve the lives of millions of people.

Judith Cone,vice chancellor for innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development

Read more about Innovate Carolina’s mission 


By the Numbers

Carolina innovators are making an impact on North Carolina's economy and on the well-being of North Carolinians.

Hundreds of Carolina-affiliated startups and organizations are headquartered in North Carolina. Their missions include helping veterans find support in their communities, discovering life-saving medicines and providing 3D printed prosthetic hands free of charge for children in need.

  • 575UNC-Chapel Hill startups launched since 1958
  • 71,986people employed by Carolina startups
  • 83%of active startups are based in North Carolina
  • 8,902North Carolina citizens employed by Carolina startups
  • $11.2 billionin annual revenue
  • 90,000+lives improved by social ventures launched by students since 2013

Innovation at Work

Watch the videos to see how Carolina students, faculty and staff are innovating.

In addition tinkering and creating in makerspaces, Tar Heels are protecting the environment, feeding the hungry, developing personalized cancer care, protecting displaced children, pairing young people with government service jobs and more.

    Started by Carolina students, Phyta is revolutionizing seaweed farming, creating jobs, reducing plastic pollution and cleaning carbon from the atmosphere along the way.

    Read more about Phyta

    Founded by a UNC-Chapel Hill professor, Good Bowls taps into Carolina's innovation mindset, bringing locally sourced meals to lower-income consumers.

    Read more about Good Bowls

    Carolina's first makerspace inside a residence hall is helping student-innovators thrive. It is the fourth makerspace to open as part of the Be a Maker (BeAM) network on campus since 2016.

    Read more about BeAM

Measuring Impact