CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been recognized among the top five best performing university business accelerators in North America, based on a 2015 benchmark study by UBI Global, a thought leader in performance analysis of business incubators around the world.
Carolina received the honor for Launch Chapel Hill, a start-up accelerator located in downtown Chapel Hill that offers a bi-annual, structured accelerator program for entrepreneurs interested in launching businesses in Chapel Hill.
“It’s amazing for us, especially with a smaller budget and smaller staff than some of the other organizations that were recognized,” said Dina Rousset, associate director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and program manager for Launch Chapel Hill. “It’s a huge honor for us, speaks well about the strength of the partnership and of the community.”
The UBI Global award recognizes that Launch Chapel Hill provides more value for the ecosystem and its startup clients than its regional or global peers and produces better outcomes on economy enhancement, access to funds and post-acceleration performance indicators. Rousset accepted the award on stage in Toronto at the annual UBI Global event on behalf of the University.
“We are proud to help entrepreneurs develop and grow their early-stage businesses into thriving enterprises,” said Rousset. “This award could not have come at a better time for us.”
Launch Chapel Hill, a partnership between UNC Kenan-Flagler and the Chancellor’s Innovate Carolina Initiative, the Town of Chapel Hill, Orange County, and the Eric Becker family, accepts a cohort of between 6 and ten companies twice a year into their program. The program features include on-site business support and collaboration from entrepreneurs in residence; access to successful industry and function-specific mentors and entrepreneurs; lunch-and-learn sessions; an entrepreneurial speaker series; office hours with marketing experts, lawyers, accountants and others; and shared office space in Chapel Hill.
The deadline to apply for the program’s fifth cohort is Nov. 15. Launch Chapel Hill has worked with company founders that include Carolina students, faculty, staff and alumni as well as members of the Chapel Hill, Orange County and wider Triangle communities. Applicants need not to have a connection to the University in order to qualify or to apply, said Rousset.
The organization will host its first “Demo Day” on Dec. 9, 2015 at the new Silverspot Cinema in Chapel Hill, where the seven companies that make up Launch Chapel Hill’s fourth cohort will take the stage to showcase their work.
Launch Chapel Hill usually receives three quality applications for every cohort spot, said Rousset, anticipating additional applications to this cohort as a result of this award. With UNC-Chapel Hill’s Global Entrepreneurship Week just around the corner, said Rousett, “it’s a great time to get new folks into the building.”
According to UBI Global’s research, North American business incubators have attracted a total of $1.98 billion in investment, meaning each of the 60 incubators has received an average of $33 million each. With regard to deal flow North America as a whole accept 9.2k applications per year, equating to an average of 154 applications per incubator. The research also demonstrates that in the last 5 years, North America’s business incubators have created 28,400 jobs (473 jobs per incubator) and over the same time period generated $5.3 billion in sales, equating to an average of $89 million in sales per incubator.
During an earlier event, UBI Global announced and awarded 10 top university business incubators, five top university business accelerators and two high-impact incubation programs in North America. The awardees also are shortlisted for the UBI Global’s world rankings, to be announced in London on Nov. 25.
“This award demonstrates the power of bringing together government, university and private sector partners to support start-ups,” said Judith Cone, special assistant to the chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship and interim vice chancellor of commercialization and economic development. “Our goal is to strengthen UNC-Chapel Hill’s innovation ecosystem in ways that benefit our community, North Carolina and the world.”
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