State university system reviewing three UNCW centers - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

State university system reviewing three UNCW centers

Jeff Guard, who founded tech companies WhittleData and Guardian Pay, works out of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Jeff Guard, who founded tech companies WhittleData and Guardian Pay, works out of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Kurt Taylor, who developed an app called Next Glass, said his company benefited from the CIE. Kurt Taylor, who developed an app called Next Glass, said his company benefited from the CIE.
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

Three UNCW centers are among 91 statewide flagged for further review by the UNC Board of Governors.

The analysis follows last year's state budget that asked UNC to consider reducing state funds for centers and institutes.

The UNCW centers under review are the Center for Marine Science, Swain Center for Business and Economic Services, and Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The three centers received a total of $4.4 million in state funds last year.

The Center for Marine Science and Swain Center are among the oldest in the UNC System, founded in 1974 and 1981 respectively.

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), established in 2010, is one of the the newest centers in the state.

Located on College Road just south of campus, the center provides workspace and resources for entrepreneurs.

Jeff Guard, who founded tech companies WhittleData and Guardian Pay, says he works at CIE nearly every day – including the weekends. And at $100 a month, he called the rent a “steal.”

“This place has been invaluable to what I'm trying to accomplish,” Guard said. “I wouldn't be where I am right now if it wasn't for this place.”

Another entrepreneur singing the center's praises is Kurt Taylor, who developed an app called Next Glass that recommends beer and wine based on a user's personal taste profile.

Taylor said CIE Executive Director Jim Roberts has helped him form valuable connections beyond the Port City.

“Being able to pool resources together in a state like North Carolina is really powerful, especially when you're up against companies that are in Silicon Valley or New York City,” he said.

When asked to comment on the review, a UNCW spokeswoman simply said that campus officials are working to ensure UNC has all the information required.

The UNC working group is expected to complete its review by mid-December.

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