Director, Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington seeks a leader with vision, a track record in entrepreneurship, and a dynamic, inclusive, and enterprising style to serve as Director for the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Founded in 2014, the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) offers programs, services, and activities to promote and support entrepreneurship and the creation of innovative new ventures in Southeastern North Carolina. The Center is an extension of the university and partners with both public and private organizations to support regional economic development and the creation and growth of innovation-based businesses. In the 2020-2021 academic year, 149 entrepreneurs were provided with services, mentoring, and funding support through the CIE.

The Director plays a critical role in the broad and growing innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at UNCW and the broader community. They strategically engage and leverage expertise and programs housed in many of the University’s academic divisions as well as University-supported resources and offices. The Director engages and supports UNCW students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as entrepreneurs throughout the community and region, in the creation of entrepreneurial ventures, knowledge-based jobs, and innovative business solutions.

The CIE is part of the UNCW Research and Innovation Service Team, and the Director collaborates closely with the UNCW Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC), the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC), the UNCW Swain Center for Business & Economic Services, the MARBIONC program, the various Colleges and Schools within UNCW, and with businesses, government agencies and investors to leverage and nurture the extraordinary entrepreneurial spirit of Wilmington and Southeastern North Carolina. The Director will work with an Advisory Board and report to the Associate Provost for Research and Innovation.

A master’s degree, preferably in business, marketing or a related field and at least five years of operational management experience is required; a bachelor’s degree in lieu of master’s and at least seven years of astounding related work experience may be accepted on an exceptional basis.

They will also possess:

  • A track record in successful business development experience
  • Demonstrated entrepreneurial experience and leadership
  • Evidence of effective collaboration with diverse constituents
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Effective program or project creation and management
  • Financial acuity and budget management experience
  • An established record of fund-raising success
  • Knowledge of the region’s business and entrepreneurial environment
  • A demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout their career

Preferred qualifications include:

  • Administrative experience within a university-based entrepreneurship center
  • Experience with science and technology-based ventures, the blue economy, or the creative economy
  • Experience in business coaching or consulting
  • Knowledge of science and technology and its application

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington has retained Opus Partners to support this recruitment. Sarah Gaines, Associate Partner, and Chris Stadler, Associate, are leading the search. Confidential inquiries, applications, and nominations may be sent to Chris Stadler at   The position is open until filled; applications received by January 17, 2022 are guaranteed full consideration.

At the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW), our culture reflects our values of inclusion, diversity, globalization, ethics and integrity and innovation and we are committed to providing equality of educational and employment opportunity for all persons without regard to race, sex (such as gender, gender identity, marital status, childbirth, and pregnancy), age, color, national origin (including ethnicity), religion, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation, veteran status, military service member status, genetic information, or relationship to other university constituents - except where sex, age, or ability represent bona fide educational or occupational qualifications or where marital status is a statutorily established eligibility criterion for State funded employee benefit programs. UNCW believes that embracing the unique contributions of our faculty, staff and students is critical to our success and paramount in being recognized for our global mindset.