The Student Business Incubator at the Ben Craig Center provides business advisory services, connections, and a learning community that supports the launch of successful student-founded ventures. The Ben Craig Center, a UNC Charlotte Business Partnership, has offered business incubation and acceleration services to high potential ventures since 1986.
The Student Business Incubator offers shared, furnished workspace for multiple student ventures. Companies have access to services including wireless Internet, conference rooms, and office equipment. The space supports business-oriented social interaction and networking.
The Student Business Incubator assists students in completing a business opportunity assessment. The assessment determines if the idea is worth pursuing and identifies activities required to move toward a successful business.
UNC Charlotte juniors, seniors, and graduate students are eligible for consideration. Alumni are eligible for admission within one year of graduation. If accepted, student ventures will participate in programs and coaching sessions. They must achieve business launch and growth milestones to continue participation in the incubator program.
Qualified ventures participate at no charge for an initial six month period. There is a modest monthly fee for the next twelve months. The maximum stay in the Student Business Incubator is eighteen months. Successful ventures may graduate into standard Ben Craig Center client status.
- Preference, but not automatic acceptance, is given to companies founded by students in the Entrepreneurship Certificate Program or that have competed in the Charlotte Venture Challenge business plan competition
- The ideal venture is innovation-based, scalable, and a good fit for the founding team's technical, creative, and business skills.
- At least one founder and/or majority owner of each company must be a student in good standing actively pursuing a degree.
- Founder(s) must have a commitment to exploring or pursuing an entrepreneurial career path, a viable business plan/concept, and willingness to add to the education experience of others in the Incubator
- Be coachable and willing to share all company information with staff and mentors
- Submit online application and participate in face-to-face interview.
- Decision will be communicated within 2 weeks.
- Each company signs a license agreement (lease) while occupying space in the Student Incubator
- Free for 6 months, months 7-12 ($50/mo), months 13-18 ($150/mo)
- Maximum time in the Student Incubator is 18 months; eligible companies may transition to commercial incubator status at that time
- Students may attempt to commercialize an additional idea while partipating in student incubator, subject to staff approval.
- You must have 1) passion for a product, service, or business idea, 2) skills and ability to turn that passion into a real, working business--with help and support, 3) desire to learn while doing, and 4) belief and conviction that YOU are the one to create and take this business to market.
- Complete the Opportunity Assessment within 60 days
- Participate in a 60-day formal review process to review the Opportunity Assessment and define the 6-9 month launch deliverable (Beta customers, working model / prototype, etc.)
- Be willing to meet at least monthly with staff and/or volunteers. At the end of the 6 months (and at end of each 6 month period), will assess team progress, milestones, participation, and confirm continuation or exit.
- Actively engage (at least monthly) in the BCC experience through evaluation in business development, workshop participation, involvement in programs, positive meetings with staff discussing feasibility, planning, marketing, financial modeling, and addressing skill deficiencies.
- Follow all University policies and comply with local, state, and federal laws
- The company and all affiliated team members must positively reflect on and adhere to the standards of the University.