Mentoring

Eship Scholars

The Eship Scholars program was created to celebrate and support students from backgrounds and identities underrepresented in entrepreneurship* who display the drive and qualities of a successful entrepreneur, but who may not self-identify as an entrepreneur. Read about our inaugural cohort here!

Scholars receive a fellowship award of up to $5,000 which they can use for their business or personal expenses. This support helps students focus on reaching their entrepreneurial goals. This program also connects these high-potential student entrepreneurs with mentorship, coaching, and connections from industry experts. This results in students being able to invest in their own self-development, launch successful careers and/or ventures, and accelerate their entrepreneurial journey on their own unique path.

Funding for this program was made possible through the NC IDEA Ecosystem Grant.

*including but not restricted to women, African American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American, and other non-European minorities, first-generation college students, and LGBTQIA+.

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Ask an Innovator

Ask an Innovator–a partnership between the EShip Center and Innovate Carolina–, lets Eship students and community members connect directly with our community of innovators with questions about their idea, venture or career path. One of our experts will reply directly to your inbox!

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Coaches’ Corner

Coaches’ Corner offers students the opportunity to connect directly with alumni entrepreneurs for 30-minute virtual coaching sessions about your ventures and ideas. Sessions, which can lead to long-term mentoring opportunities, are scheduled over a three-week time span.

Guided by the Eship Center’s alumni entrepreneurial coaches, students are able to properly prepare and follow up with your alumni mentor so you can optimize the time and expertise of the coach you are matched with. This opportunity is open to any UNC student, of any level of experience, who applies to speak with an alumni entrepreneur.

See here for FAQs

What is the mission of Coaches’ Corner?

The mission is two-fold:

  • To help student-entrepreneurs with their current problems by connecting them with alumni subject matter experts.
  • To connect student-entrepreneurs with alumni who can serve as mentors if there is mutual interest.

What are the dates for Coaches Corner?

Companies, which change over time, are available in a range of industries and opportunities. After we complete the company selection process, we work with them to develop a plan for a successful internship experience.

How do I apply to be part of Coaches’ Corner?

We’ll be holding coaching sessions between October 5th-October 16th. Every coach has different availability during this period.

Are these internships paid?

To apply to be part of Coaches’ Corner, Please complete this form (put in the notes section that you are interested in virtual coaching!). You’ll then meet with our Eship Center coach, Chi Nwogu, who will talk through your request for coaching, match you with the right coach, and help you schedule your meeting.

Is there a deadline for applying?

There is no deadline to apply. We’ll accept applicants on a rolling basis as long as there is coaching availability.

How are meetings held?

All meetings are held virtually via zoom and are for 30 minutes. We take care of all the logistics during the 2-week period of the program.

What do I need for my first meeting with a coach?

During your meeting with Chi Nwogu, we’ll confirm your request for coaching. The request for coaching is all you need for your first meeting along with a positive attitude.

What happens after my meeting with a coach?

Your coach will assign you at least one action item to complete based on the coaching session. It’s up to you to complete that if you want to meet with that coach again. Think of it as them being your accountability buddy.

Trust us, it works.

How have student-entrepreneurs felt about coaches corner?

Student-entrepreneurs love Coaches’ Corner! Here’s the participant feedback we got from the summer session.

  • How would you rate your session with this coach? (1 = could have been better, 5 = exceeded my expectations): 4.6
  • Did you learn anything new from this session? (1 = I need more challenges, 5 = I learned so much!): 4.6
  • 24 out of 24 respondents said they would recommend the coach to another student
  • 23 out of 24 respondents said they plan to follow-up with their coach

How do I reschedule a meeting with a coach if something comes up?

If you’re running late or need to reschedule your meeting, respond back to the meeting invite and copy Chi Nwogu on the email (chijioge_nwogu@kenan-flagler.unc.edu)

Please do not change your meeting time on SignupGenius without first alerting Chi. Meeting invites are created manually and do not automatically update based on SignupGenius.

Can I do multiple coaching sessions during the two week period?

Yes, we’ve allowed students to meet with multiple coaches or multiple times with the same coach (as long as they have completed their assigned action item from that coach).

How and when do I follow-up with my coach after the program is over?

We highly encourage students to reach out to their coach to say thank you and confirm their assigned action item 24-48 hours after their coaching session.

Once the program is over, students can reach out on their own to schedule a follow-up meeting with their assigned coach. This should be done once your action item is completed or if you need help completing your action item.

How do I turn a coach into a mentor?

Real simple: Show up prepared for your meeting. Send a thank you note after. Complete your action item. Reach back out to schedule time with your coach.

If you feel like there is a good fit, ask your coach to be your mentor. This conversation should take place after two or three meetings but is not required.

Who do I contact if I have a question that isn’t listed here?

Send an email to Chi Nwogu (chijioge_nwogu@kenan-flagler.unc.edu) and we’ll get that question answered for you!

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Chats with Chi

Not sure where to get started? Want to talk through a business idea with an experienced entrepreneur who knows the UNC entrepreneurship ecosystem? Schedule a virtual coaching session with our Entrepreneurship Coach, Chijioge Nwogu (Chi), and get connected to resources you need to create a winning game plan! Sign up for a session with Chi by filling out the Contact Us form on our website and Chi will be in touch.


Apprentice Program (formerly the Adams Apprenticeship)

The Apprentice Program is a year-long experience that builds entrepreneurial skills and mindset for more than 30 of UNC’s top potential entrepreneurs. We leverage our always expanding advisor network and deep bench of UNC resources to help students discover your unique entrepreneurial path and become entrepreneurial leaders who are positive change agents in the world.

The Apprentice Program is uniquely focused on developing the entrepreneur, not a business or business idea that a student may be creating. The knowledge gained by apprentices during their experience will serve them over the course of their lifetime and throughout many businesses.

In July 2020, we made the decision to pause the Apprentice Program for one year. As in many universities and entrepreneurial programs, COVID has thrown a curve ball into our plans. We’ve seen a reduction in our budgets for the 2020-2021 academic year. Coupled with the fact that our five-year funding for this program ended in 2020, we need to take a year off.

We are optimistic about our ability to re-imagine this program and find the funding that will enable us to relaunch next year. For more information, see this statement from our Executive Director.

The Apprentice Program is special. It shapes the entrepreneurial careers of students, helps them shift and grow as humans, and impacts their lives in countless ways. We are actively seeking funding partners who are as passionate about continuing this work as we are. If you would like to get more involved in our efforts, contact Jill Willett for more information.

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The Apprentice Program is special. It shapes the entrepreneurial careers of students, helps them shift and grow as humans, and impacts their lives in countless ways.