October 3, 2022


Be INvestment Confident

Heather McWhorter Named Director of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Next a nationwide look for, Heather McWhorter has been named director of UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), commencing July 1, 2022. McWhorter will lead the heart in its advertising and aid of entrepreneurship and impressive new ventures across southeastern North Carolina. 

“Our university strives to engage with neighborhood associates to increase regional innovation and economic prospects,” mentioned Dr. James J. Winebrake, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “The CIE is a critical aspect in our method to discover and ignite these opportunities.” 

The centre – which serves as a hub for the region – is a put where by business owners of all ages and backgrounds can interact with abilities at the college, retired professionals can give again to the next generation, new startups can collaborate and business owners can network with peers.   

Via CIE’s expansive community, McWhorter will guide attempts to bolster the center’s affect by growing its signature courses this sort of as CIE Mentors, All Blue and Chancellor’s Problem, as effectively as partnerships with community and regional teams.   

“Heather delivers a wealth of expertise to CIE and its systems,” mentioned Dr. Stuart Borrett, associate provost for investigation and innovation. “She has been an entrepreneur, she is an experienced engineer and she on a regular basis teaches entrepreneurial management. She also has sizeable experience supporting the results of innovators, business people and smaller small business homeowners. I glimpse ahead to supporting her management and the ensuing progress of CIE’s constructive impression on the potent Wilmington entrepreneurial ecosystem.” 

The Wilmington area continues to be recognized as a single of the best worldwide startup ecosystems in the entire world, and in May well was outlined in the once-a-year StartupBlink examination as selection one when in contrast to other towns of its dimensions (populations among 100,000 – 300,000) in North America. McWhorter thinks that Wilmington and the college are in a unique position to really make a change in southeastern North Carolina via the assist and sources made available by the middle. 

“I am honored – ecstatic – to serve UNCW and the Wilmington region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem as the future CIE director,” said McWhorter. “My directorship will focus on supporting entrepreneur success, forming an entrepreneurial expertise pipeline, and boosting inclusivity and sustainability in higher-advancement possible startups. Building on existing momentum, I purpose to placement Wilmington as a world-wide vacation spot for entrepreneurs solving massive difficulties.”  

McWhorter provides much more than 12 yrs of experience in a wide variety of entrepreneurship and innovation management roles to this position, like serving as the CIE interim director since August 2021 and regional heart director for the UNCW Modest Small business and Technological know-how Enhancement Heart considering that 2017. She has directed the North Carolina SBTDC Enterprise Start Initiative given that 2019, doing the job with business enterprise start professionals across various College of North Carolina campuses.  

Formerly, McWhorter labored at Penn Point out for 17 a long time at the Penn Point out Smaller Small business Advancement Middle as the director and as an environmental specialist as the director of the Pennsylvania Complex Assistance Program and as the director of Penn State Entrepreneurship and Financial Improvement Outreach Initiatives. She was involved in the creation of packages this kind of as Penn Condition Worldwide Entrepreneurship Week, The Financial investment and TechCelerator.   

Prior to functioning with Penn State, McWhorter was a navy contractor where she facilitated collaborative pollution avoidance innovation get the job done among the army branches and NASA. 

McWhorter holds an M.S. in electrical power and mineral engineering and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Penn State. She also retains a Qualified Engineer license in environmental engineering. 

— Megan Kauzlaric