Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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June 05, 2024 | Tom Ballard

U News 2 | From Mid-Atlantic states and other locations

North Carolina State has launched the Bezos Center for Sustainable Protein after receiving a $30 million grant from the Bezos Earth Fund.

From North Carolina State University:

Thanks to a $30 million award over five years from the Bezos Earth Fund, North Carolina State has launched the Bezos Center for Sustainable Protein. The new program is part of a $100 million commitment from the Earth Fund to establish a network of open-access research and development centers focused on sustainable protein alternatives, thereby expanding consumer choices.

The NC State funding will create a center of excellence to create a biomanufacturing hub for dietary proteins that are environmentally friendly, healthy, tasty and affordable. The grant will support research on three types of sustainable proteins: plant-based products, precision fermentation to produce proteins and nutrients that can be used in food formulations, and cultivated meat grown from animal cells.

Jeff Bezos, Founder, Executive Chairman, and former President and Chief Executive Officer of Amazon, serves as Executive Chair of the Fund.

Click here to learn more about the new Center.

From Cornell Tech:

Twelve years after its founding, Cornell Tech has raised almost $1 billion and built four major energy-efficient buildings on its Roosevelt Island campus while bringing 600 graduate students from around the world to the city and becoming an incubator for start-ups, late last year passing the milestone of 100 companies launched.

As significant as those numbers are, the school says 94 percent of the start-ups and the vast majority of students remain in New York City after graduation.

“The activity it has generated makes it as big a success as it was hoped to be and maybe bigger,” said Seth Pinsky, who conceived the idea of launching the school when he was President of the city’s Economic Development Corporation.

Much remains to be done. Cornell Tech needs to raise more money to build out the campus to accommodate an increase in enrollment to 2,000. It needs to almost double the number of tenured faculty to 129 amid intense competition. Most of all, it needs to be better known.

Click here to learn more.

From the Virginia Military Institute:

Classes have begun for the new Summer Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program (SUEP) at Virginia Military Institute (VMI), for cadets who possess the mindset of an entrepreneur, regardless of academic major. Through the support from the Jackson-Hope Fund, cadets participating in the program receive three tuition-free elective credits, with room and board provided at no cost to them.

According to Col. Clifford West, Professor in the Department of Economics and Business, SUEP consists of a five-week summer course, field trips to start-up companies and incubators, and interaction with guest speakers chosen from alumni and business leaders. One of those guest lecturers is Katie Overfield-Zook, Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Builder with Shenandoah Community Capital Fund (SCCF), an entrepreneurial support organization in Staunton.

On the SUEP website, VMI writes that “providing cadets with opportunities for a broad exploration of creative and entrepreneurial thinking will engage a wider audience of potential course participants, and it will help the participants develop an entrepreneurial mindset that will support their future plans — whether those plans involve starting a new business, employment within an existing organization, as military leaders, or self-employment. Skills associated with an entrepreneurial-mindedness typically include adaptability, perseverance, creativity, managing ambiguity, and being action-oriented — all skills that could lead to personal success in any setting.”

From North Carolina A&T University:

Thanks to a $50,000 award in the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, North Carolina A&T University is hoping to help grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem for the Triad Region of the Tar Heel State.

Awarded to the Center of Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the institution’s hub for entrepreneurship and innovation, North Carolina A&T will collaborate with the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Guilford College, and the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce to form the Greensboro Research Translation Collective (GRTC)  to move the region towards stronger entrepreneurial support and more effective development.

As a winner of the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, the GRTC is now eligible to apply for a Stage Two award that is an award of between $50,000 and $150,000.

From Pewaukee, WI:

In partnership with global venture firm and startup accelerator gener8tor, Waukesha County Technical College has announced the launch of its new gALPHA and gBETA Applied Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab accelerator focused on early stage tech-enabled start-ups, with a special focus on artificial intelligence.

Known as the gALPHA Applied AI Lab, it is a four-week venture-creation workshop designed to help entrepreneurially-minded individuals create high-growth start-ups that utilize data and AI. The program will take place at College’s new Applied AI Lab where the participants will build the foundations of their business with individualized coaching from the gener8tor team to take them from ideation to implementation with the assistance of mentors, thought-leaders, and strategic partners.

The newly-launched gBETA Applied AI Lab accelerator is powered by gener8tor’s gBETA program – a free, seven-week, zero-equity accelerator that provides start-up founders with concierge coaching and access to gener8tor’s network of mentors, customers, and investors across the U.S.

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