The ACC’s Entrepreneurs Battle it Out in the Inaugural ACC InVenture Prize

The ACC’s Entrepreneurs Battle it Out in First Inaugural ACC InVenture Prize

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

On April 5th and 6th, 2016, Georgia Tech University hosted the inaugural ACC InVenture Prize, an innovation competition featuring the best student teams of the ACC. Each ACC university was invited to send one team to the competition, where they pitched their inventions to a panel of expert judges in a “Shark Tank” style competition. The fifteen teams competed for $30,000 in prizes and a chance to be the first ACCIC winner. The final competition was held in front of a live audience and broadcast live on television on April 6.

Arthur Willson (’19) and Hannah Shows (’19), the creators of SimpullCork, an easy open wine solution, were Wake Forest’s representatives at the event. SimpullCork uses an integrated loop to allow you to remove a cork from a wine bottle without the need for a corkscrew. The cork is also completely reusable, eliminating the need for expensive and ineffective aftermarket wine stoppers. “The idea came to me when I witnessed a young lady unable to open a bottle of wine and saw firsthand the frustration that resulted,” explained Willson, one of the creators. “Since I’m an entrepreneur, I naturally thought there must be an easier way, so that’s when I created SimpullCork.”

Through participating in this year’s inaugural ACC InVenture Prize, Willson and Shows gained valuable insight that
will help them continue to improve their product. Willson explained, “We plan on continuing to develop our
product through consumer discovery, product testing, and branding beginning this summer. We hope to be able to begin meeting with wine makers and cork makers to start building business relationships.”


Shows added that her experience as Wake Forest’s representative in the ACC InVenture Prize has made her excited for what is to come for SimpullCork: “I realized that great ideas will naturally generate a contagious enthusiasm for your product, which helps me stay motivated for the long road ahead,” she said.

Congratulations to Arthur and Hannah for representing Wake Forest at the inaugural competition!

The ACC InVenture Prize is a collaborative effort by institutional leadership from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). It represents an opportunity to stimulate undergraduate entrepreneurial activity and increase student-faculty engagement, to celebrate and highlight the exceptional creativity and ingenuity of our students, and to inspire a greater sense of camaraderie across the conference. For more information about the ACC InVenture Prize, and this year’s winners, click here.

Fulton & Roark: MBA Grads Offer High Quality Men’s Grooming Products Born out of Winston-Salem

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

cologneIn early 2013, Allen Shafer and Kevin Keller, friends and colleagues in Wake Forest’s MBA program, became fascinated by the fast-growing world of men’s grooming. Shafer, who graduated from Sewanee in 2008 with a degree in Psychology and Keller, who graduated in 2006 from Georgia State College and University with degrees in Journalism and Religious Studies, were able to combine their undergraduate backgrounds to look at the market from both business and creative perspectives. In February of 2013, after finding some white space around a company that created products using a human-centered design, Fulton & Roark, an upscale men’s grooming brand, was born right here in Winston-Salem.

With the help of Wake Forest’s Demon Deacon Incubator as well as the Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship’s new venture seed grant funding, Shafer and Keller were able to launch their company with less than $20,000 cash.

“Wake was tremendously helpful in getting us started,” explainedKeller. “Allen and I were both on the Marketing Summit Case Competition team, and we used our personal winnings from the team's second-place finish in 2013 along with money we got from the Seed Grant program. We each put in a little of our own savings, and that was enough to get us started!”

After graduating from Wake Forest’s MBA program in May of 2013, Keller and Shafer both decided to get traditional marketing experience through full time positions while operating Fulton & Roark during their nights and weekends. Their company was so successful, however, that it grew much faster than they were expecting, in large part due to coverage in publications like GQ, Details and Fast Company. “While we were pursuing that sort of press coverage, we just had a lot more luck getting it than we expected. That growth has meant lots more weekends spent hard at work and lots more late nights than Allen and I expected, but that effort has definitely been worth it,” explained Keller.

“The demand also meant that we had to be really careful about keeping new inventory available, while also running as lean as possible in order to use all of our cash to keep developing new products,” he added.

Shave creamFulton & Roark has continued to grow in recent years. In June of 2014, Alan Spencer (’15), a former Fulton & Roark intern and Wake Forest graduate, became the first full-time employee. The Fulton & Roark product offering has also grown, as shave cream, bar soap, and face wash have all been introduced just within the last year. In March, Allen Shafer came on as another full-time employee and later this month, aftershave cloths will hit the market. Fulton & Roark is currently sold in 200+ stores throughout the US and plans to continue expanding into other locations, both in the US and abroad. “Exactly how we’ll do that is up for discussion,” explained Keller. “But so long as we’re delivering on our promise of creating products ‘built for the way men operate,’ we’ll be excited about it.”

Fulton & Roark offers high quality and high performance grooming products that fit into men’s lifestyles – not the other way around. To learn more about Fulton & Roark and where you can find their products, click here.

Fulton and Roark

Haven: Fearlessness Reimagined – TEDxWakeForestU 2016

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship 


On February 20, 2016, Wake Forest University hosted its fifth annual TEDxWakeForestU event. The theme of this year’s conference, Haven: Fearlessness Reimagined, captured speakers’ unique perspectives on what it means to find security and solace. Over 1,300 students, faculty, and community members gathered in Wait Chapel to hear eight inspirational speakers talk about security as it related to each of their fields of expertise. Highlights from the eight inspirational talks are below:

The Ubiquity of Knowledge and Data – Who’s Securing It? 

HurdMark Hurd, the chief executive officer of Oracle Corporation, took the stage first to share his thoughts on what is going on in the IT world and what each person can individually do to protect their data. Hurd estimated that one half of all data in the world was created in the last 44 months, adding that by 2020, the amount of digital information stored online could double. These statistics, he explained, beg the question: Are we secure? While large corporations do work hard to protect your data, Hurd explained that the most important advice he could give to the audience was to think before you post. “You need to decide what you want to put out there in the public domain,” he explained. “There’s no technological trick we have to protect you like personal decision making.”

State of Emergency: Moving Up Maslow

Perou 2Katrena Perou, the second speaker of the afternoon, is the chief program officer at Urban Arts Partnership, a nonprofit that works to advance the intellectual, social, and artistic development of underprivileged public school students. Perou, who started the partnership at Samuel Gompers High School in South Bronx, New York, compared the students’ feelings that they were not being heard and would just end up dead or in prison to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need: “With everything these students were facing, going to the program didn’t matter. They were just trying to make it through the day,” she explained. Perou added that by listening to a CD of songs that students at the high school had created, particularly a song called “State of Emergency,” she learned to gain their respect by trusting them and making sure their voices were heard.

Real Progress in the Fight to End Modern Slavery

MylesBradley Myles, the executive director and chief executive officer of the Polaris Project, spoke next about his organization’s fight to eradicate modern-day slavery and human trafficking. The Polaris Project, which has responded to over 22,000 human trafficking cases since its establishment in 2008, seeks to disrupt trafficking networks, restore freedom to current victims, and prevent future victims. Myles explained that human trafficking is so prevalent today because traffickers can make a large profit with a very low risk of being caught. As a result, many victims feel abandoned. Myles quoted trafficking survivors who regularly tell Polaris volunteers that they “had given up on their lives” and “didn’t know anyone cared.” By implementing a national hotline for trafficking victims, Myles and his team hope to leverage information technology to create a modern-day Underground Railroad.

Local Economic Security: Think Childhood Hunger

BernerMaureen Berner, a professor of Public Administration and Government at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, spoke to the audience about why hunger is an economic development issue. Berner, whose research focuses on finding long-term solutions to food scarcity, explained that over 851,000 children in the North Carolina public school system qualify for free or reduced lunch. When you look at the statistics, they show that there is a $2.7 million per day missed economic opportunity in providing meals for these children. By creating a public-private partnership through local partner businesses and the government, Berner explained that feeding hungry children could create more local jobs, better markets, and a stronger workforce. Berner ended her talk on a powerful note by explaining: “I want to feed 850,000 more kids and you all need to help me!”

Confronting Loss: Reverence and Resilience at the 9/11 Memorial Museum

KrebsCarl Krebs, the fifth speaker of the afternoon, is a partner at Davis Brody Bond, the associate architectural firm responsible for designing the memorial and museum to the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. Krebs, who was one of the chief architects on this project, spoke to the audience about the design team’s decision to include pieces of the original materials from leftover rubble as part of their design. Krebs explained that the memorial and museum do not include much reading or information; instead, there are photos and objects that preserve the raw authentic reaction that the entire country felt after 9/11. “There is a way to connect to artifacts without over-intellectualizing them,” Krebs explained. The museum also includes a space for visitors to stop and remember where they were on 9/11. Krebs explained that although the memorial does represent a site of remembrance, the architects’ hope is that it is also one of resilience, rebuilding, and faith.

Evolving Computer Defenses

FulpErinn Fulp, Wake Forest’s very own professor of Computer Science, researches network security system solutions that are inspired by nature. His research suggests that in instances where traditional approaches to security do not suffice, nature may offer a new solution. Fireflies, for example, can illuminate together in unison; this model is attractive to power grid managers who want to learn from their efficiency. Similarly, biology-inspired approaches also mimic the designs of ant colonies and the human genome to build security solutions that reduce the level of human involvement in problem detection and resolution. Nature, according to Fulp, teaches us that evolution can be a solution to creating secure systems: “Mistakes are cool,” he explained, and they help us build scalable solutions with optimal results and better protected data. “You’ve been hacked. I’ve been hacked. If you haven’t been hacked, I’ll hack you later,” Fulp joked during his talk, but with a biology-inspired approach, we can leverage the inspiration found in the natural world to deliver more efficient methods of cyber security.

Migration in Europe and Human Security: A Challenge to Solidarity

PackerIgnacio Packer, the Secretary General of the Terres Des Hommes International Federation (TDHIF), a network that works to promote the rights of children and their equitable development, spoke next about patterns of migration across Europe and how they relate to human security, especially children. “Which of you is not a migrant?” asked Packer, explaining that migrant rights is a human rights issue. Globally, 60 million people were displaced in 2015, and 1 in 2 was a child. Migration is not a security problem, explained Packer. Instead, the problem is the exclusion of people from accessible migration. TDHIF works to renew public understanding about migration and advocate for a safe and dignified international migration system. “We have choices to make as a society,” explained Packer. “We are at a tipping point. We can build bridges, or we can build fences, prisons and walls.”

All Gun Violence is Preventable If You Know the Signs

HockleyNicole Hockley, the founder and managing director of the Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit working to end gun-related deaths, began her talk by breaking down what “gun violence prevention” really means. In Hockley’s opinion, it doesn’t mean looking at only one aspect, but instead looking at the entire problem: guns and mental health and gun safety. Approximately 7 children die each day due to gun-related violence. In 2012, Hockley experienced this statistic herself as her six year old son, Dylan, was killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting. Yet even in the midst of her grief, Hockley chose to be hopeful, not helpless. Through their nonprofit, Sandy Hook Promise, Hockley and her colleagues hope to teach others how to recognize at-risk people in order to avert other gun violence tragedies. “The list of tragedies that could be avoided is endless,” Hockley explained. “We just need to know the signs, act on them, and prevent the next domino from falling.”

TeamThis year’s successful TEDxWakeForestU conference was organized by the following students:

Austin Evers (’16), Executive Director

Daniel Guerrero (’16), Assistant Director

Julia Gaburo (’16), Engagement Director

Carl Turner (’17), Talent Director

Katherine Albanese (’16), Hospitality Director

Anne Biermann (’16), Event Support Director

Philipp Wendler (’18), Operations and Logistics Director

Daniel Sechtin (’16), Emcee

Caroline Burden (’16), Stage Manager

For more information about TEDxWakeForestU, visit their website here.

All photos are credited to Adrian Martino (’16).

Discovering the World of Apps

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

EiR-Greg-PoolOn Wednesday, February 24, Entrepreneur-in-Residence Greg Pool shared his experiences in the “world of apps” with students interested in building their own mobile application or curious about the life cycle of an app. Pool, a self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur,” has been involved with many technological start-ups, including mobile and online applications, throughout his career. In fact, he explains that he created his first app when he was only in Middle School. Students in attendance ranged from those who had already built a functioning app to those hoping to get started or even just in the brainstorming phase.

App 101 BIt is important to understand the life cycle of an app from beginning to end, including development of the idea, funding, creation, execution, protection, and exit. Though these steps are generally vital for all apps, Pool emphasized that there is no “one size fits all” option. “What is right for you and your app will vary greatly depending on who your target market is, what platforms you want to develop, and how you plan on making money,” he explained.

Pool covered not only the steps necessary to develop an idea and carry it through to completion, but also gave advice on four questions that entrepreneurs should ask themselves when building a new app. First, he explained that entrepreneurs should consider whether the app is feasible and solves a need. “Apps can be a ‘pull,’ meaning that there is already a need in the market, or a disruptive ‘push,’ meaning that the app is a solution without a concrete problem,” he explained.

App 101 ANext, entrepreneurs should consider how they will find users the first time, then how they will entice them to return. Entrepreneurs should also consider how they’ll make money with the app, whether through sponsorships, subscriptions, or advertising, for example. Finally, they should consider whether their app has a defensible position in the marketplace. In order to answer this question, explained Pool, entrepreneurs should ask themselves whether their app is difficult to replicate and could be protected by an intellectual property agreement, or if it is so simple that Google could create it in a weekend.

There are many steps in designing and building an app. Pool helped students better understand how they could turn their own idea into a successful venture.

Arthur Willson ’19, who attended Pool’s workshop, explained: "Greg Pool takes the intimidating life cycle of a mobile application and breaks it down in such a way that any student can leave his workshop feeling empowered to be able to go out and take their stake of the multi-billion dollar app world.”

To learn more about Entrepreneur-in-Residence Greg Pool, click here. Student entrepreneurs who have an idea for their own app may make an appointment to meet with Greg Pool here.

Spring 2016 New Venture Seed Grant Winners Announced!



All individuals were required to go through an application process, as well as present their plans and proposals to a grant committee of faculty and administrators.  The committee selected eight proposals to receive funding to assist in marketing, and/or product development.  Congratulations to these seed grant recipients!

UpDog Kombucha

Lauren Miller ’17 (Economics)

Olivia Wolff ’16 (Health and Exercise Science)

UpDog Kombucha is a local, small batch Kombucha microbrewery located in Winston-Salem.

Kombucha is a fermented tea with naturally occurring probiotics, enzymes and acids. It is naturally carbonated and served cold.

Shift Creative Agency

Sarah Lupton (MBA)

Shift Creative Agency is a strategic storytelling agency. From around the world to around the corner, they partner with organizations with heart to develop and produce video content that makes a difference.


Kevin Farley ’16 (Finance)

Through a fantasy sports mobile app, Clutch aims to revolutionize the experience of attending a live sporting event by creating a unique platform where spectators can interact with the game, the community of fellow sports enthusiasts, and host vendors.


Jake Teitelbaum ’16 (Business & Enterprise Management and Spanish)

Sophia Faltin ’16 (Studio Art)

Resilience is a lifestyle brand that designs & sells cozy yet trendy socks using the “buy one, give one” model. With every purchase, customers have the option to send a pair of socks and personalized note to a family member, friend, or other patient suffering from a chronic illness.

Loopey Laces

Tom Worcester ’17 (Finance)

Tim Collis ’17 (Finance)

Loopey Laces allows consumers to recreate the look of their shoes and express themselves with uniquely colored, patterned, and lettered shoelaces. Their custom printed shoelaces, including the original sorority letter shoelaces, allow individuals to add personality to their footwear at a low cost.


Kurt Walker ‘16 (Computer Science)

Spool is a theme-based group video sharing iOS app that allows users to spark creative videos with the use of a single word or phrase and capture them with short looping videos, then watch the videos their friends create on the same topic.

EZ Open

Arthur Willson ‘19

EZ Open is an innovative easy open wine solution.

Wo Men Online Mentorship

Crystal Wang ‘19

Wenjin Wu ‘19

Meaning “us” in Chinese, Wo Men is an online study abroad mentorship platform that provides quality information on American colleges to Chinese student applicants. Wo Men seeks to ameliorate the information inconsistency issues students face during the application process as well as in college life.

Students Helping Students Expands Reach in 2016

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

“Our vision for SHS is to have a presence in all areas where there is an economic disparity. We will expand our efforts to identify sources of gently-used materials that are being discarded simply because there is not an efficient way to find a suitable home for the unwanted materials in an efficient and effective manner.” –Bill Zandi, Founder, Students Helping Students

Bill ZandiBill Zandi (’14) developed the idea for Students Helping Students in the winter of 2005, not long after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast area of the country. “During this time, my parents wanted my younger sisters and me to see the disparity in the quality of life that exists throughout our country. They explained that not only were we lucky to be in the position that we were in, but that because of this, it was our moral obligation to help those in need when we are able to do so,” Zandi explained. “When I learned that more than 150,000 school children were left without the most basic supplies, from papers to desks, I wanted to help.”

When his high school decided to renovate and began to discard a significant amount of usable school supplies and furnishings, Zandi approached his principal and asked if they could donate the supplies to schools in need in Louisiana. “It was at this moment that the idea of Students Helping Students was born,” explained Zandi. By 2009, with the support of businesses, individual donors, and even a partnership with Barnes and Noble, Students Helping Students was able to send thousands of dollars’ worth of supplies to a dozen more schools in Louisiana.

Students Helping StudentsAfter entering Wake Forest University in the fall of 2010, Zandi was able to continue building upon his idea and with the help of the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship, Students Helping Students officially became a 501(c)3 organization, expanding its reach into the Winston-Salem area. To date, Students Helping Students has redistributed roughly $300,000 worth of gently-used materials to seventy schools in four states.

Since Zandi’s graduation from Wake Forest in 2014, Students Helping Students has continued to grow, recently changing its focus to place a stronger emphasis on an online platform: “Until now, SHS has focused on the ‘user’ experience when redistributing gently-used and/or unwanted materials from one party to another,” Zandi explained. “We are now working on the development of an online platform to create a more efficient and user-friendly, ‘,’ mechanism for materials distribution.” This development will enable Students Helping Students to redistribute greater quantities of unwanted/gently-used materials among a larger number of parties, at many locations simultaneously.

Tech SHSBy introducing a new online platform, Students Helping Students hopes to improve the ways that they exchange, analyze, and use information, enabling a significant improvement in their operational efficiency. “As we begin to construct and subsequently implement an online platform, we will be able to increase our scope significantly,” said Zandi. “Our hope is that this will propel SHS into a self-sustaining entity, thereby allowing us to distribute more supplies to more schools in need, with a much higher rate of success.”

Students Helping Students has grown exponentially over the last 10+ years, and Zandi is confident that 2016 will be no different. This year, Students Helping Students hopes to provide over $600,000 worth of school or classroom supplies and materials to low-income schools in the Philadelphia area. “Our vision for Students Helping Students is to have a presence in all areas where there is economic disparity,” said Zandi. “Through the development of proper distribution channels, partnerships, and the efficient dissemination of information, Students Helping Students can help reshape the way businesses and schools alike think about waste and educational needs.”

Ed McLaughlin, author of The Purpose is Profit, Answers Students’ Biggest Questions about Becoming an Entrepreneur

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Ed McLaughlin

On February 2, 2016, Ed McLaughlin, a successful entrepreneur, executive, author, and investor visited Wake Forest to host an E-Lab entitled “Becoming an Entrepreneur.” During his presentation, McLaughlin answered many questions that young entrepreneurs face, including: Why do people become entrepreneurs? When is the right time to start a new business? How will you measure success?

McLaughlin, who is the founder and CEO Becoming an Entrepreneurof Blue Sunsets LLC, a real estate and angel investment firm based in Darien, CT, has held many other entrepreneurial roles throughout his career. McLaughlin also founded and served as Chairman and CEO of United Systems Integrators (USI). USI was named to the Inc. 500 List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies and McLaughlin was named an Entrepreneur of the Year in 2001 by Ernst & Young. McLaughlin is also the author of two books, The Startup Roadmap: 21 Steps to Profitability and The Purpose is Profit: The Truth about Starting and Building Your Own Business. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for The College of the Holy Cross and the Board of Governors for Tufts Medical Center.

In his presentation, McLaughlin encouraged students to consider the key ingredients that are necessary for new business success, including a working business model, a clear path to productivity, a significant market opportunity, and a superior value proposition. McLaughlin explained: “The best value proposition clearly defines and quantifies how your product will solve a problem or relieve a customer’s pain better than everything else.” He added that potential entrepreneurs should also consider the quantitative benefits of their product, such as profits, revenues, and expenses, as well as the qualitative benefits, such as convenience, safety, and self-esteem. Similarly, McLaughlin explained to students that one of the most important aspects of running a successful business is being ethical and honest with all customers and constituents. “Behave ethically and profits will follow,” he added, explaining that building employee trust, acknowledging mistakes and valuing honesty will benefit the business in the long run.

Ed McLaughlin CovenantMcLaughlin also introduced students to the idea of a personal covenant to beginning a startup. He encouraged students who are getting frustrated but really want to start a business to write a covenant with themselves and have someone else witness and sign it in order to hold themselves accountable. McLaughlin similarly encouraged students to understand the importance of a genuine commitment to sacrifice as one of the factors most important to deciding when is the right time to form a startup.

Profit bookFinally, McLaughlin concluded his presentation by offering advice on how students can work to scale their businesses in order to measure their success. One suggestion that McLaughlin presented is hiring people whom he calls “Lightening in a Bottle” – those who bring value and enthusiasm to your business. “Hire people who will challenge you to improve. These people will bring value and increase the size of your business,” he explained. McLaughlin encouraged students to keep an eye out for these people that are lightening in a bottle because they may be the support that is needed to jumpstart a business or ensure its growth and success.

For more information about Ed McLaughlin and his books, click here. To learn about other upcoming events and speakers hosted by the Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship, check out our Events Calendar here.

Photos credited to Ed McLaughlin

Women and Entrepreneurship: Economic Empowerment within the Latina Community of Winston-Salem

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Thanks to the help of Dr. Angéla Kóczé and the students in her Women and Entrepreneurship: Innovation, Sustainability, and Social Responsibility class, El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services was recently awarded a grant for $24,500 from The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem.

Kocze useDuring the 2015 fall semester, Kóczé, a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and her students assisted El Buen Pastor in writing and developing a proposal entitled “Economic Empowerment of Women in Latino Community – Full Baskets.” With the money that they have been granted, El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services has launched an Economic Empowerment Program, which will offer entrepreneurship training, workshops, and networking to ten Latina women who want to start their own businesses. Through the program, these ten women will be able to start their own businesses by the end of 2016.

In her Women and Entrepreneurship class, Kóczé focuses on women’s entrepreneurial role and attitude in a larger global context. Students frequently read texts and watch videos that show how women are becoming entrepreneurial leaders, community change makers, and public visionaries in response to social, economic and environmental problems. “My course takes a critical sociological stance on entrepreneurship,” explained Kóczé. “We learn about the leadership of various women including, Sherry Sandberg (Facebook) and Wangari Maathai (Greenbelt movement). Moreover, we learn that these social entrepreneurs’ objectives reach beyond individual profit motives and seek to improve the quality of working and living conditions in various communities.”

Kocze 1It was through this sociological stance that Kóczé chose to focus her class on a specific population of women entrepreneurs in Winston-Salem. Since the fall of 2013, Wake Forest University’s Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies has partnered with the women and staff of El Buen Pastor to understand the unique situations that Latina women face in the Winston-Salem area. “Today, 14.8% of the population of Winston-Salem identifies as Hispanic, of which approximately 73.8% are foreign-born,” explained Dr. Kóczé. “New immigrants often face challenges with social, economic, and political integration. The structure of poverty is entrenched within the Latina community, but through this project, we are able to empower women in the El Buen Pastor community to start their own businesses.”’

Kocze 2Though the grant provides entrepreneurial training for an initial cohort of ten women, Kóczé believes that the project will foster a new group of women to join the program in the future and will indirectly impact approximately 250 additional Latina women and girls within the community. In the spirit of women entrepreneurs such as Sandberg, Maathai, and others they have studied in class, Kóczé and her students are truly making a difference in their local communities.

TEDxWakeForestU 2016 – Haven: Fearlessness Reimagined

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

In 2012, Wake Forest senior Lucy Lan organized the first TEDxWakeForestU conference in an effort to promote technology entrepreneurship here at Wake Forest. In the last five years, the annual conference has brought dozens of renowned speakers to campus to share their knowledge and stories with students, faculty, and community members.

“Haven: Fearlessness Reimagined,” the theme for this year’s Wake Forest TEDx conference, features eight inspiring speakers who will give presentations on security as it relates to each of their unique fields of expertise. This year’s impressive speaker lineup includes Mark Hurd, chief executive officer of Oracle Corporation and Nicole Hockley, founder and managing director of the Sandy Hook Promise.

Mark HurdMark Hurd - Mark Hurd is the chief executive officer of Oracle Corporation. With over 30 years of technology industry leadership, Hurd directs corporate strategy for the IT giant and is a member of the company's board of directors. Hurd works to enable clients to simplify their business using Oracle's suite of integrated cloud applications and platform services. Hurd's work in the IT space has gained him recognition from prominent business publications including Forbes, Fortune, Business 2.0, Barron's and The San Francisco Chronicle. His tireless commitment to client service and technological innovation has helped illuminate the future of business IT and client data.

HockleyNicole Hockley - Nicole Hockley is the founder and managing director of the Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit working to end gun-related deaths due to crime, suicide, and accidental discharge. The nonprofit is working to build a national movement of parents, schools, and volunteers committed to gun violence prevention in their local areas and on a national stage by influencing state and national policy regarding the issue. The Sandy Hook Promise advocates for mental health and wellness early-intervention programs, and sensible gun safety and storage practices to build more secure campuses and community nationwide.

In addition to Hurd and Hockley, this year’s remarkable speakers also include:

  • Katrena Perou, Chief Program Officer at Urban Arts Partnership, a nonprofit that works to advance the intellectual, social, and artistic development of underprivileged public school students
  • Bradley Myles, Executive Director and CEO of the Polaris Project, the global leader in the fight to eradicate modern-day slavery and human trafficking
  • Errin Fulp, Wake Forest University Professor of Computer Science, specializing in computer network security research and nature-based designs that deliver more efficient methods to cyber security and more innovative solutions to computer science problems
  • Ignacio Packer, Security General of the Terre des Hommes International Federation, a network of 10 organizations working to promote the rights of children and their equitable development
  • Carl Krebs, Partner at Davis Brody Bond and architect-in-charge of designing the September 11 memorial and museum at the site of the World Trade Center, as well as many other influential civic, cultural, and academic projects at Davis Brody Bond
  • Maureen Berner, UNC Chapel Hill Professor of Public Administration and Government, she also provides advisory services to state and local governments, her work centered on improving food assistance programs and finding solutions to food scarcity

“Our team is excited to share with our audience what we think is an increasingly pertinent theme in our society. As parts of the world are facing migrant crises, data is being stolen left and right, and gun violence seems to have become the norm, security and safety need to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds,” explained Austin Evers, executive director of TEDxWakeForestU 2016. “The team and I encourage you to engage with our talented list of speakers at this year’s event to learn what it means to be safe and secure. We look forward to seeing you in the audience.”

TEDxWakeForestU 2016 will take place on Saturday, February 20, 2015 in Wait Chapel. To register for this year’s event, click here. You can find more information about TEDxWakeForestU and this year’s speakers here.

Religion, Poverty, and Social Entrepreneurship – An Interdisciplinary Approach to Prisoner Re-Entry

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship

“I believe that everyone is an entrepreneur – it’s just not often made conscious or encouraged in the classroom. My goal is to release the inner entrepreneur within each of my students through this class.” –Dr. Ulrike Wiethaus, Professor, Department for the Study of Religions and American Ethnic Studies Program

Wiethaus picFive years ago, Professor Ulrike Wiethaus, a professor of Religion and American Ethnic Studies and co-founder of the Religion and Public Engagement concentration in the Department for the Study of Religions, approached the Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship with an idea for a new interdisciplinary class that would explore the intersections between Religion, Poverty, and Social Entrepreneurship. Inspired by her work with the Chaplaincy and diverse faith groups at Alexander Correctional Facility in Taylorsville, Professor Wiethaus has designed this semester’s class to focus specifically on an analysis of prisoner re-entry through leveraging the social and spiritual capital of religious communities.

“This semester, my students are doing a number of innovative new things,” explained Wiethaus. As part of the seminar, student teams are linking with religious communities in Winston-Salem to create a community project, aligning themselves with Provost Rogan Kersh and his efforts with the Taskforce against Poverty, as well as working with Alexander Correctional Facility and Forsyth County Jail ministries to educate clients on economic issues in poverty. These projects, which allow students to engage in service learning and community engagement, also give them the opportunity to explore the fundamentals of social entrepreneurship in a real-world setting.

Kathryn Covino (’18), whose team is partnering with St. Leo the Great Catholic Church here in Winston-Salem, explained that she is excited to learn more about the intersection of these three topics through her work with the Catholic community: “I’m interested in getting to know more about St. Leo’s, specifically their prison ministry and the work they do with inmates in Winston-Salem,” she said.

Wiethaus and her students approach the intersection between religion, poverty, and social entrepreneurship through a lens of multiple methodologies, including a business plan model that addresses the importance of social capital and entrepreneurship. Wiethaus explained that prisoners at Alexander Correctional collaborated with her and students to identify re-entry needs and explore solutions.  Through this class, she hopes to not only educate students on issues relating to incarceration, prison re-entry, and poverty, but also help students realize how they can link religion and social entrepreneurship to solve social problems.

Through this interdisciplinary class, Wiethaus is confident that her students will be empowered with the knowledge that they can use the models created through their community projects to tackle any other projects that they might encounter. “Higher education is deeply meaningful as a tool for non-violent, mindful, and well-informed communication across race, class, gender, and religious identities, and I hope that this class will fine tune and deepen what my students already know,” she explained.

Though the semester has just begun, Wiethaus’ students are already looking forward to the experience and insight they will gain through this seminar. “I am hoping that I’ll be able to put what I’m learning in class into use while engaging with the community,” explained Carolina Saca (’16). Other students, including Khaki Wade (’17), echoed her thoughts: “I am an Economics and Religion major, so I’m interested in the intersection between poverty and entrepreneurship,” Wade explained. “It is what I want to pursue as a career and I’m hoping that this class will help me better understand this connection.”

Students may receive credit for the Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise minor by taking this course, ESE322/REL344/REL690: Religion, Poverty, and Social Entrepreneurship.