Transforming Lives through HerSpace, Inc.

By Allison Durham

Brittani Chavious, a third-year Divinity School student and social entrepreneur, came to Wake Forest with a non-profit she founded back home in Cincinnati, Ohio. While at Wake, she’s worked with the ICE program to expand HerSpace, Inc., an organization devoted to inspiring confidence and purpose in teen girls. Through the ICE program Chavious has been able to run a seven-day overnight camp for two summers in a row. She’s ready to expand HerSpace Inc. and its affiliate programs after graduation in spring 2015.

Chavious foundeded HerSpace, Inc. in 2011 as a way to address the growing emotional, social, academic, and health issues facing young girls today.  Her organization facilitates preventative and counteractive programs that are specifically tailored to transform the lives of young girls and women through building self-esteem, self-awareness and leadership skills.

“I had no idea stepping onto this campus that I would have the vast number of opportunities I’ve been given – not just to learn what it will take to run my nonprofit, but I was also given the opportunity to get into the field and practice what I’ve always dreamed of doing. Through the ICE Program and it's support, I was able to run my camp for two summers and I was able to impact the lives of about 40 young women.” -- Brittani Chavious, MDiv ‘15

Project Haiti Tackles Trash Contamination

By Allison Durham

What if you created a venture that could solve a national problem? Wake Forest law student Lhens Vilson’s venture is dedicated to increasing the quality of living for an entire country! Check out his project here:

As a Haitian native, Vilson has always had the desire to see the country prosper. After the devastating 2010 earthquake, he grew increasingly motivated to help out the struggling nation in any way that he could, so Project Haiti was born.

Project Haiti strives to reduce the piles of garbage on the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, which contribute to water contamination and disease. “Households in Haiti put their trash in buckets that are subsequently dumped on the streets,” explains Vilson. This garbage is not contained in bags or dumpsters, so it spreads and results in clogging the sewer system and contaminating the area.

Project Haiti’s goals are:

1. To provide the Haitian people access to garbage bags at an affordable price and educational marketing motivate citizens to use them.

2. Build efficient dumpsters and place them on different streets.

3. Work with the government to handle this problem.

4. Create a youth volunteering league that will be responsible for picking up trash and contributing to keeping the streets clean.

Sounds like a lot to tackle, but Vilson is ready to finally expose the beauty of the country hidden underneath the garbage!

Student Creates Visual Collaboration Space and Market for Artists

By Allison Durham

If you could start your very own business, what would it be? Senior Bella Belanich proves that a single idea can evolve into a venture. See how selling her service and targeting the right audience helped her chase her dream!

Belanich ,’14, is the co-founder and CEO of CinemaRama, an online collaborative environment that allows artists to communicate with each other and even license another artist’s work for their own future use. The site is also a digital retail store that boasts high payouts to artists.

“The idea behind the venture is the belief that the entertainment and media industries have gone so long in depriving the content creators of getting a substantial amount of pay for their works,” Belanich explains.

The greatest thing she’s learned? “Building a business, just like growing up, is an evolution. The older your business becomes the more feedback you get and the more your idea changes to better fit the goal. In order to truly start competing you have to find your niche to enter the market and then expand from there.”

Belanich advises prospective entrepreneurs to be flexible with their ideas and willing to alter them depending on the needs of the market. “CinemaRama started as a site for musicians only, and has evolved into incorporating all of the arts,” Belanich says.

This App Will Let You Know When the Miller Center’s Full

By Allison Durham

If you could change one thing on this campus, what would it be? Sophomore Tommy Vater identified a pain point on the Wake Forest campus and created an app to fix it!

Have you ever wanted to know how busy the Miller Center is before making the walk over? Tommy Vater, ’17, is developing a solution to alleviate overcrowding at the on-campus gym, allowing more satisfying and efficient workouts.

“Gym Peak is a mobile app, data analysis and consulting company that seeks to track and manage the occupancy levels of recreational fitness centers on college campuses,” Vater says. “We collect and analyze data in real time to calculate the number of people currently in the gym.”

Gym Peak seeks to improve the customer experience at fitness centers by helping gym owners optimize their facilities. The goal of the app is to help gyms reach their “peak” while making use of live customer data in order to lead management decisions.

Vater advises his fellow students to take advantage Wake Forest’s supportive environment and experiment with new startup ideas.

“College is a great time to try out crazy business ideas,” Vater says. “The risk associated with failure is quite low while you're in college . . . so who cares if your venture fails?”

According to Vater, campus entrepreneurship is all about the experience you gain and learning process. “On top of that, the faculty and staff at Wake Forest are incredibly willing to help you succeed—they want to see students with passion.”

Performance Tells the Story of Collaboration and Innovation

By Allison Durham

On Nov. 5,  The Interdisciplinary Performance and the Liberal Arts Center (IPLACe) and Professor Thomas E. Frank’s ESE 100 (Creativity and Innovation) class sponsored the performance, “Black Mountain Summer of 1948: A Collaboration in Arts and Imagination” which explored the practice of multiple art forms in a single space.

This event was one of six "scenes of creativity and innovation" that students in Professor Thomas Frank's ESE100 class explored throughout the fall semester.  In this particular "scene" the focus was on liberal arts education using the example of the experimental college of the 1930s-'50s, Black Mountain College in North Carolina.  Black Mountain College created a new kind of open curriculum driven by student interests in close collaboration with faculty, and the arts were at the center of education there.

November 5 2014

“The Black Mountain College summer art and music institutes of the 1940s and ‘50s produced unexpected and enduring collaborations between disciplines by assembling artists from many locales and contexts together in a liminal place” Frank said when he opened the show on Wednesday night. “The institutes were characterized by the spirit of academic freedom, the receptivity to new ideas, the informal setting, the intensity of life and the use of practicing artists.”

The interactive and lively event, held in the Hanes Gallery, pressed the boundaries of experimentation and imagination while honoring those who taught and performed at the college. Highlights included a contemporary Merce Cunningham dance performed by the Dance Composition students, poetry by M.C. Richards and Charles Olson, music and sounds by John Cage and art by Willem de Kooning, who focused on the processes of contingency, improvisation and fluidity in his collage paintings.

The highly engaging event captured the imagination and placed art at the center of education. Audience members were encouraged to visualize creativity and innovation as an ongoing life practice.

The collaboration was meant to spark questions from Professor Frank's class such as 'What happens when people of varied talents and disciplines are thrown together in  a space of creation and formation? What is to good about failure, and wild theories, and stuff that's never been done before? How do creative people think?  How are imagination and action linked?

Joe Callahan: Why Entrepreneurship is Vital to Our Country’s Economic Stability

By Allison Durham

On Oct. 23, Joe Callahan, founder of Ciright Digital Media, addressed an audience of aspiring Wake Forest entrepreneurs.

Callahan emphasized the need for business awareness, the importance of using your time efficiently, the business ecosystem, the human element of a startup and the technology roadmap.

“Being an entrepreneur is all about managing your ecosystem,” advised Callahan, a Philadelphia native who received a dual B.S. in engineering and information systems technology from Drexel University.

Callahan’s startup, Ciright Digital Media, focuses on serving the needs of global brands and local companies by providing innovative digital display solutions that improve localized marketing investments.

Part of business awareness is being able to "do the math," Callahan said. Simply add the number of people and businesses in an ecosystem and the size of the economy against the opportunity to drive some monumental change.

“It’s the people in the equation who are going to determine whether you are going to be a successful entrepreneur,” said Callahan, who manages 110 employees. “Hiring the wrong person is the biggest risk [because his or her] goals are not aligned with those of the enterprise.”

Entrepreneurs must also be aware of the basic business climate of the U.S. Callahan offered these facts: There are 17,796,181 companies in America with, on average, 8.5 employees. Companies have spent $800 billion on software licenses.

Callahan also estimated that each person has 3,246.5 available hours per year, after subtracting eight hours of sleep and a full-time job. With this substantial inventory of time, Callahan advised students to "seize the moment."

“You have more time now than you ever will again,” Callahan said. “Find the passion you want to follow and pull together the people you need to chase that dream.”

Callahan reassured his audience that anyone can become an entrepreneur in today’s economy—as long as they have passion and emotional intelligence. “Patience is the most important quality. And being able to read others…that cannot be outsourced.”

There were numerous take aways from the evening; however, one piece of advice from Mr. Callahan that can be useful in all situations is..."never look at something as a failure but think of it as a way to improve and refine.  Iterate yourself and push beyond your comfort level."

Lyle Estill Discusses Entrepreneurial Home Runs

By Allison Durham 

“I like to think of my businesses in terms of baseball,” Lyle Estill began. “I either have a strikeout, a base hit or a home run.”

On October 9, Estill, a leading author, activist and social entrepreneur, shared his story about transitioning from one new business to the next, which he’s done 20 times. Each shift taught him one of the most important entrepreneurial lessons of all time: failure can be just as rewarding as success.


Estill’s primary business, Piedmont Biofuels, can be classified as an entrepreneurial home run. However, his natural fuel company took a couple tries to get off the ground. On Estill’s first attempt, he tried virgin soybean oil. He shipped beans from Virginia and then crushed them to extract the oil, but the process proved too expensive.

Estill moved on from his failure by tweaking his manufacturing model and trying poultry fat, a readily available waste product in North Carolina. But eventually the poultry fat process became too expensive.

But Estill’s third try was a success. He transitioned back to organic waste but purposefully kept a lid on the operation’s growth, an effort to maintain the integrity of the biofuel and avoid creating a mixture of biofuel and petroleum.

As a result, supply is low and demand is higher than ever. Piedmont Biofuels produces and sells one million gallons of biofuel each year—and Estill can’t remember the last time he visited a conventional gas station.

Estill has also dabbled in the Canadian wind farming business, which hasn’t been as fruitful as Piedmont Biofuels. U.S. red tape prevented him from expanding the business in the States as much as he had hoped.

A worm farming venture was also a strikeout. “There’s a world-wide shortage of worms and they sell for $17 per pound,” Estill explained. He’s hopeful that once he figures out how to harness the demand for the worms, he’ll be able to reenter the market and strike gold.

In give back to the community, Estill and his wife founded Abundance North Carolina, which raises awareness of local energy and food. They also established the Piedmont Biofuels Eco-Industrial Park, which is located in Pittsboro, N.C. By hosting tours of the park, they hope to educate the public on the importance of biofuels and creating a more sustainable community.

Those touring the park can also view some of Estill’s other ventures, such as the highly innovative dual-cropping farm, which is divided between crops and solar panels. Solar energy powers his plants, which then are used in his biofuel venture.

Estill left his audience of budding entrepreneurs with a reminder to value failures: “The entrepreneur who leads in strikeouts is the entrepreneur who leads in home runs.”

Putting Pro Humanitate into Practice

By Allison Durham

A group of Wake Forest University students, known as “Team Brad,” are putting Pro Humanitate into practice.

Team Brad began when Jacob Carah, ’14, a Documentary Film Program graduate student, met Brad while volunteering with a program that provides job training skills to area residents with disabilities. Brad, a 20-year-old Clemmons native with primordial dwarfism, dreams of being a film editor. However, his disability prevents him from using a traditional computer mouse, a skill most people take for granted.


Eager to help Brad fulfill his passion, Carah pitched the project proposal to Paul Pauca, an associate professor in the computer science department who specializes in disability research. Once Pauca hopped on board, Team Brad was formed with the goal of creating a device that would allow Brad to successfully perform film editing techniques.

In March 2014, the team started extensively researching Brad’s physical capabilities, forming basic goals and interviewing him to find out his needs and desires.

The end result was a custom device that would work with Brad’s body. “It’s a joystick that is similar to how he drives his wheelchair but moves the mouse on the screen instead,” said Ally Kaminsky, ’16, an undergraduage member of Team Brad.

Kaminsky, along with Jack Janes, ’15, spent this past summer developing the device on a completely volunteer basis. “There was no grade and no one was getting paid so it was all about ‘What can I contribute?’,” Kaminsky said.


Janes focused on developing the electronics and codes for the different joystick components. He began by creating a rough model out of pipe cleaners before transitioning to a remote control plane, from which he removed the joysticks and then connected them to a microcontroller to form a working joystick. Brad is now able to use the functional joystick, which is securely attached to his wheelchair.

Lindsay Schneider, ’13, a MAEd candidate in the Wake Forest Department of Education, assisted with the design thinking aspect of Team Brad—a skillset pick up in ESE Professor Evelyn Williams’ classes. “The most rewarding part of the project was taking something I’m passionate about and bringing everyone together to create something really inspiring,” Schneider said.

The eight team members hope to continue working on a prototype and involving other students in the process.

Celebrating 10 Years of Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship at WFU

By Laura Mazurak

This is a year of celebration as it marks the 10th year of Wake Forest University’s commitment to education and opportunities in innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship to all students. This 10-year milestone provides the occasion to highlight the achievements of the past and to envision the potential of the future. Throughout the year we will be hosting events that shine a light on our accomplished students and faculty. Homecoming provided the first opportunity to celebrate!

BalloonsOn Friday, September 19, 2014 the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) kicked off Homecoming Weekend with “Balloons of Inspiration.”  With inspiration and help from alumna Hannah VanderWeide, ’13, colorful balloons were located around Hearn Plaza and passersby were encouraged to record their responses to prompts, such as “What doesentrepreneurship mean to you?”, “Who is the most innovative person you know?” and “Why celebrate creativity?”  Through the simple act of writing on the balloons, students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors engaged in a key entrepreneurial endeavor: inspire others as they inspire you.

Throughout the afternoon, the StoryLine Bus was on campus to record testimonials about program’s ability to empower current students and alumni through involvement in innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Wake Forest alumni, current students and faculty from various fields and interests gathered to record their stories on the bus, creating an oral history of entrepreneurial endeavors and perspectives in the Wake Forest community. We collected fifteen stories, not just of those who have gone on to create a new venture, but also tales of individuals thinking outside the box. You can read highlights of the stories below.

Rosita Najmi, Blythe RigganRosita Najmi, ‘04 has extensive experience in social entrepreneurship, financial inclusion and economic development, having worked with the World Bank, the IFC and several NGOs. She shared her story with Blythe Riggan, ’16, and credited the ICE program with providing her innumerable opportunities.

“Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest was basically living and walking the path of Pro Humanitate with practical feet . . . That’s what Wake Forest offers through the ICE program, the practical resources and also the emotional support and encouragement that allows students to connect their passion, skills and a vision to something that can support and elevate the communities they are a part of.”   -- Rosita Najmi, ‘04

Gavin SmithAfter losing his father to leukemia, a health problem that he felt was associated with contaminated ground water and soil vapor intrusion from chemicals stored underground, Gavin Smith, ’10 started Smith’s experience with the Wake Forest Elevator Competition exposed him to many ideas and projects and he began to feel that with the right mindset, tools, and exposure to the right people, anything is possible.

“Entrepreneurship gives you the opportunity to write your own script. When you start to figure out what tools and resources are out there, and just try…and if you fail, it’s just another way to move on to the next success.” – Gavin Smith, ‘10

Lynn Book, Niki MakkinejadThe ICE program not only inspires students to start new ventures, but also encourages them to apply innovative and creative thinking skills to research interests. While studying abroad in France, Niki Makkinejad, ’15, a politics and international affairs major with minors in ESE and women’s and gender studies, enlisted the help of  ESE Professor Lynn Book to help her connect her interests through an independent study. Makkinejad compared aspects of the European and American business markets, returning with research that  contributed to a new special topics course, Women and Entrepreneurship: A Campus/Community Collaboratory, taught by Prof. Book in spring 2014.

“I opened my eyes to everything around me [in France] and started taking in entrepreneurship that might not be considered entrepreneurship here in America or viewed as the same. It seemed to be much more food and material based rather than technology based. It was nice to see a different type of entrepreneurship. In America you see people working 20 hours a day to keep their business running. In France, they still take their two hour lunch and their business may only be open six hour a day, but they’re still entrepreneurs.” -- Niki Makkinejad, ‘15

Nikoli HelblowithNikolai Hlebowitsh, a senior computer science and economics double major at Wake Forest University, began his freshman year without a true sense of what he wanted to do with his life.  However, his eyes were opened to the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur by one of his freshman year suitemates who founded a company in Silicon Valley. He then applied for a seed grant through the ICE Program to start a company called North Carolina Data which provides analytics consulting to small businesses.  

“Before I started North Carolina Data, LLC, I didn’t have a lot of skills, I was very nervous about this and my GPA was not as high as I thought it would be. By starting this company I acquired the entrepreneurial skillset. While my company didn’t work out and North Carolina Data doesn’t exist anymore, what does exist is this new sense of innovation, and a feeling that I don’t want to be like everybody else. I want to drive for change and I want to do everything I can to facilitate new ideas and new innovation in the U.S and the World. That’s the greatest thing I think the Wake Forest Entrepreneurship Program brings to Wake Forest and the community as a whole -- fostering innovation in students.”  – Nikolai Hlebowitsh, ‘15

Sally Rowland, Jan DetterSally Rowland is a senior at Wake Forest majoring in finance with an ESE minor. She spoke with Jan Detter, who teaches social entrepreneurship at Wake Forest, about her experience with the ICE program and her work with the nonprofit organization Charity: Water, whose mission is 'to bring clean drinking water to every person on the planet'. Rowland attributes her social entrepreneurship class and the internship with Charity: Water for sparking her interest in entrepreneurship. After graduation Rowland intends to continue work in the startup industry.

Charity: Water taught me that I really like being in an organization where everyone is committed to their mission -- everyone is passionate about what they’re doing, everyone loves their job. Seeing the benefits of what you’re a part of, it’s rewarding to see how the work you do is helping others.”  -- Sally Rowland, ‘15

Alex Gromer and Ben Smith shared their stories with each other about their experiences starting a venture. Alex Gromer majors in both history and politics and international affairs with a minor in ESE. Gromer’s venture is DeaconVend, a vending machine that provides study supplies.

“I first came up with the idea along with four others in my Entrepreneurship 101 class, and with funding from Wake Forest we were able to turn our idea into a reality, placing a DeaconVend vending machine in the school library. My hope is to expand this venture at Wake Forest, placing more machines around campus then hopefully reaching out to other schools nearby and placing Alex Gromer, Ben Smithmore there.” --Alex Gromer, ‘15

Ben Smith is a senior communication major with a minor in ESE. Smith started a CrossFit gym in Winston-Salem this past summer. He was first introduced to the exercise program while he was still in high school and later interned at a CrossFit company in New York, where he took a strong interest in the program. The gym that Smith started is an affiliate program, rather than a franchise, so he has taken on the entire responsibility of the gym himself and doesn’t have a national marketing platform to base his model off of.  As the owner of the business, Smith works to ensure the business’ profitability and leaves day-to-day activities to his employees. He intends to expand once his first CrossFit gym gets off the ground.

“Without the ICE Program and help from Professor Black, I don’t know where I would be. I probably would not have been able to do this.” --Ben Smith, ‘15

Sharon Andrews, Moria Lawlor“Entrepreneurship is way of thinking. It’s a way of looking at a problem or a challenge and thinking through the process… and how to realize that challenge or realize that opportunity.” -- Sharon Andrews, one of the original program directors for the Entrepreneurship Program during the Kauffman Foundation Grant period

Moria Lawlor, a senior sociology major with an ESE minor, spoke with theater Professor Sharon Andrews about her interest in entrepreneurship. She founded a company called Franky’s Jewelry after her father, an economics professor at Wake Forest for 28 years, was diagnosed with Cerebellar Ataxia, a debilitative disease that affects mobility and motor function.  The name of the company stems from childhood memories of playing school with her dad, who pretended to be a student named Franky.

“Starting Franky’s Jewelry was a way that I could bring my passion for design and the will to help my father together… I didn’t really think it was possible until I started my Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise minor and heard about how we could apply for grants. I applied and received a seed grant from the ICE program and my company has taken off.” – Moria Lawlor, ‘15

David HughesDavid Hughes, a senior computer science major and art history minor, founded a software engineering cooperative with grants from the ICE program his sophomore year. 1834 Software provides peer-to-peer education in the areas of website, app and software design and development

“By teaching students these skills and giving them work experience outside the classroom, you’re marrying their desire to gain experience and make some money in college with the fundamental need for organizations to have a technological presence.” -- David Hughes, ‘15

Jack Zimmerman, Jesse KonigJack Zimmerman and Jesse Konig, 2014 graduates, founded gourmet hotdog company Swizzler while students at Wake Forest. While they originally thought of the company as a way to earn money for a trip to the 2014 World Cup, it’s become their passion. They’re in the process of opening their first Swizzler food truck in Washington, D.C.

“ICE gave us the confidence that we had a good concept and a great support network. We had mentors who were willing to be with us every step of the way. My favorite part about it was that our mentors – Professor Black and Professor Varner – never gave us a straight answer, they knew this was something we had to come up with on our own. But they constantly provided us with resources, with ideas, and constantly challenged our ideas. It really was an incredible environment.” -- Jesse Konig, ‘14

Mike TantumBiology major and chemistry minor Mike Tantum, ’14 founded a venture after a biomimetics class with biology and entrepreneurship Professor Bill Conner. Sun Tape, funded by grants from the ICE Program, measures the sun’s energy in different locations, so solar panel installers can easily determine the ideal location to place panels. Along with starting Sun Tape, Tantum led the 2014 Wake Forest TEDx conference as the university innovation fellow. Tantum is now working at a biotech startup through the Venture for America fellowship program, which places top college grads in startups across the country.

“My experience with the entrepreneurship program has been absolutely fantastic. It really put me at a different trajectory for my post-grad life, and taught me a lot about myself and the student I could become.” -- Mike Tantum, ‘14

Quentin Robert, Polly Black, Alex SmereczniakQuentin Robert, ’14 and Alex Smereczniak, ’14 spoke with  Professor Polly Black about thier experiences purchasing Wake  Wash in their sophomore year. Despite ups and downs – and after many learning experiences – the owners successfully sold the laundry service this past spring.

“To fail – that’s something that Wake Wash taught me that you can’t learn in the classroom. The way school’s set up, you have to get an A, you want to get an A and you can’t make mistakes. This business gave us the opportunity to fail and make mistakes. The learning that comes out of that is more valuable than getting everything right.”  -- Alex Smereczniak ‘14

Brittani Chavious, a third-year Divinity School student and social entrepreneur, came to Wake Forest with a non-profit she founded back home in Cincinnati, Ohio. While at Wake, she’s worked with the ICE program to expand HerSpace, Inc., an organization devoted to inspiring confidence and purpose in teen girls. Through the ICE program Chavious has been able to run a seven-day overnight camp for two summers in a row. She’s ready to expand HerSpace Inc. and its affiliate programs after graduation in spring 2015.

“I had no idea stepping onto this campus that I would have the vast number of opportunities I’ve been given – not just to learn what it will take to run my nonprofit, but I was also given the opportunity to get into the field and practice what I’ve always dreamed of doing. Through the ICE Program and it's support, I was able to run my camp for two summers and I was able to impact the lives of about 40 young women.” -- Brittani Chavious, MDiv ‘15

Jake TeitelbaumJacob Teitelbaum, ’16, has long been interested in the food industry and accessibility to healthy foods. The summer before his sophomore year he devised a business concept to make local foods more accessible to people in the surrounding community. The Fresh Food Network would act as a platform for local sellers and a market for area buyers. In addition, Teitelbaum wants to educate consumers about new food items and recipes – allowing technology to power and drive an already active local food movement.

“Working with ICE, I’ve been able to take this very raw idea and transform it into this almost functioning business model. There are still a lot of improvements to go, but we’re getting there.” -- Jake Teitelbaum ’16

Bill Conner, Lucy LanLucy Lan, an ambassador for the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), spoke with Professor Bill Conner about taking on the task of hosting Wake Forest’s first TEDx conference in 2012. The conference brought together over 1,000 people from campus, the Triad community and beyond to discuss big ideas and entrepreneurship. The campus has continued to host annual TEDx conferences sponsored by ICE and Lan, a chemistry major who graduated in 2012, is now a medical student at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

“One of the best things about my undergrad career at Wake Forest was the ICE Program. I loved my professors and I loved the stuff that I learned. I actually used a lot of things I’ve learned in my entrepreneurship classes during my gap year, when I worked at a startup and then when I worked at a venture bank. Even in med school now I tend to think of healthcare as something that can be improved. The foundation ICE gave me was really wonderful.” -- Lucy Lan, ‘12

Katie and Hannah VanderWeideEntrepreneurship is a family affair for the VanderWeides. After hearing about her big sister’s experience with the ESE minor, Katie VanderWeide, ‘15 decided to follow in her academic footsteps. Both Katie and Hannah VanderWeide, ’13, cited the program’s involvement in the community and experiential learning opportunities as key assets. Their grandfather, an entrepreneur, was also a factor in the sisters’ decisions to be ESE minors. His optimism, willingness to take risks and entrepreneurial spirit continue to inspire the VanderWeide sisters.

“Entrepreneurship allows you to approach a career from a different perspective and create your own passion. You create something that is your motivator.” --Katie VanderWeide, ‘15

Story Line BusThe StoryLine Bus is a mobile recording studio that was previously a bookmobile. Lisa Burton, program coordinator for the ICE Program, worked with Gail Fisher, co-director of the StoryLine Project, to bring the Bus to campus. “We dubbed the StoryLine Bus ‘the entrepreneurship story catcher’ and hope to edit one of the stories for broadcast on a local radio station and for possible inclusion in the New Winston Museum,” Fisher said. The ICE program is now part of the history of Wake Forest and Winston-Salem.

The Forsyth County Public Library archives all collected Storyline testimonials and the stories can be accessed at

Fall 2014 Seed Grant Recipients Announced!

The fall 2014 New Venture Seed Grants have been announced! All of the individuals were required to go through an application process in which they presented their plans and proposals to a grant committee consisting of faculty and administrators. Ten proposals were selected to receive funding to help students with marketing and prototype or product development. Congratulations to these recipients!

Wrought Iron Productions
Bryan Campbell (MA, Documentary Film)
Wrought Iron Productions is a non-profit, student-run organization that provides high-quality video production services for Wake Forest University.

Fresh Food Network
Jake Teitelbaum ‘16 (BEM, Spanish)
The Fresh Food Network (FFN) is an online platform that makes it easier for users to find, buy and learn about great food in their area.  FFN will be a national web platform focused on providing healthy local food related content that franchises out of the rights to delivery areas to local entrepreneurs.

Gym Peak
Thomas Vater ’17 (major undeclared)
Gym Peak is a venture that tracks the occupancy levels of fitness centers on college campuses throughout the Southeast. Students viewing the Gym Peak app will be able to see real time data showing exactly how busy the gym is before they go.

CinemaRama, LLC
Bella Belanich ’15 (Economics)
CinemaRama, LLC is a digital retail store and collaborative environment that provides artists across all mediums a way to sell their art at the price they want to sell it and to whomever they want to sell it.

Dash Pop
Len Neighbors (Assistant Professor of the Practice, Communication)

During this experimental class, students will plan and execute a record label on the Wake Forest campus, as well as plan and execute a music festival in downtown W-S.  Both ventures will be planned with academic and financial sustainability in mind so that the class may be taught each year as an entrepreneurship laboratory focused on the music business.

Hedera, Helix
Christopher Federici ’16 (Economics)
Hedera is a rock band that is producing and marketing the distribution of its debut album Helix. Federici is also making a documentary of the band’s travels from New Jersey to Nashville, Tenn. to record with Derek West, the sound engineer at Fly by West studio.

Matthew Grasmeyer ’15 (Economics)
Handdoek, "towel" in Dutch, is exactly that: a towel, but with a new twist on an old function. Handdoek has taken the two-dimensional towel and mixed it with a fashionable three-dimensional tank top, giving birth to a tank top made out of a towel.

Crime Dodge, LLC
Casey Schuck ’16 (Biophysics)
Crime Dodge, similar to a cellular navigation app, helps pedestrians avoid high-crime areas. Users plug in their destinations and Crime Dodge promises to route users “the safest way possible.”

Deacon Clean
Keshav Daga ’17 (major undeclared)
Jonathan Wagner ’17 (major undeclared)
Deacon Clean is a student-run, subscription-based bathroom and suite cleaning service for students living in residence halls.

Project Haiti
Lhens Vilson ’16 (MA, Graduate Student)
Project Haiti’s goal is to solve the waste management problem in Haiti. A pilot study will be conducted to better understand how the issue and possible solutions.