Virtual Mentoring

1789 members have access to free mentorship from entrepreneurs, business and innovation experts. Please email any of the mentors to set up a time to chat about your own idea or a career related to entrepreneurship.

From ideation to business development, Patrick Kastian guides you through each step of the process. You’ll find that market research answers important questions facing every entrepreneur and learn to analyze that information in context of your project:

  • Who is my customer, and what can I do for them?
  • Who are my competitors and potential partners?
  • What will my customer pay for my product?
  • How do I design and build my product?
  • How do I scale my business?

Email Patrick to set up an appointment:

Learn more about Patrick!

  • Get info about CUBE and the Campus Y
  • Receive support for social justice and social innovation initiatives
  • Learn from personal experiences related to research and volunteering abroad.

Email Jaki to set up an appointment:

Learn more about Jaki!

Have an app idea but don’t know how to get it moving? Casey is here to guide your app-based startup through the uncertain first steps. From ideation to presenting a developed product to investors, he can help you along the way.

Casey is a 2019 alum of the Shuford Program, with a double major in Computer Science and Statistics & Analysis. He has been a part of multiple startups, and has developed two iOS applications from scratch, one of which was published on the App Store. Since graduating, Casey has been a tech consultant for investment banks and a bartender, and is happy to share his experiences in both. Familiar with the struggles of a young entrepreneur in college, he hopes to pass on what he has learned so far. His areas of knowledge are iOS development and how to present your app-based business to investors. He is also very well-versed at cornhole and foosball.

Email Casey to schedule a

Learn more about Casey!

We are the engineering resource on campus to help you with your start-up ideas and commercialization goals. We offer one-on-one consultation as well as workshops and classes on topics where research, technology, engineering, and business converge.

Engineering and strategic planning is our forte´. We are a group of seasoned engineers and scientists with entrepreneurial backgrounds.

Email Matt Verber or Collin McKinney to schedule a session: and

Learn more about Matt and Collin!

Come get answers to your questions surrounding design thinking, how you can better apply it to your work, and identify future opportunities to develop your design thinking skills.

Sign up for a 30-min slot for more information

Learn more about Liz!

Contact John if you need help in:

  • Business Operations
  • Customer Experience
  • New Retail Space Planning, Design, and Construction
  • Food & Beverage Safety & Production Best Practice

Email Jonathan Collins to set up an appointment:

Learn more about Jonathan!

  • Do you have an idea for a business?
  • Do you have a passion and want to start a business around it?
  • Are you looking for next steps of how to create and build your venture?

Meet with Barbara Bell to talk through how your idea can be built from idea to impact. E-mail her today to schedule a session:


Learn more about Barbara!

Are you searching for authoritative information to plan your business or research your market? Trying to navigate thousands of search results? Not sure where to find answers to your questions? Nancy will guide you to information sources for business research.

Email Nancy for more information:

Learn more about Nancy!

Ellie is a Shuford Program alum and is currently working towards an MBA at Columbia Business School. Prior to starting school, she worked as an investment associate at NTTVC, a $500M, returns-driven fund based in Silicon Valley. She helps source, analyze and screen potential investment opportunities in addition to supporting portfolio development to encourage business growth.

She would love to chat with you about how to connect and grow your network. She is also immensely valuable in helping student ventures prepare for funding. Set up a one-on-one chat with Ellie by shooting her an email today.

Contact Ellie:

Learn More About Ellie

Stephanie serves as the Career Services Manager in the UNC Department of Computer Science. She can help provide career exploration and guidance in technical and tangentially related fields, as well as information on how to land an internship or a full-time job. Stephanie also specializes in professional development and preparing for interviews as a student. Lastly, she is also happy to speak with potential employers regarding best practices for attracting and hiring computer science students.

Email for more information:

Learn more about Stephanie!

Alex Brandwein is the founder/owner of Brandwein’s Bagels, a retail shop in downtown Chapel Hill, offering New York-style bagels and bagel sandwiches. Upon receiving his MBA from Kenan-Flagler School of Business at UNC, he launched the business in the spring of 2020 and has a wealth of experience in the ups and downs of a starting a company.

Alex is originally from New York. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011. After college, he spent seven years in investment banking and private equity in Chicago and New York. In 2018, Alex decided to come to UNC for its MBA program, to explore his entrepreneurial passions, to cultivate his leadership skills and to develop the tools necessary to start a business.

Email for more information:

Learn more about Alex!

As the Student Engagement and Events Manager at Innovate Carolina, Kimi can help you navigate the plethora of resources related to innovation and entrepreneurship that exist at Carolina. She manages the 1789 coworking space, recruits student mentors, advises multiple student clubs, hosts the annual Student Startup Meet and Greet at Launch Chapel Hill and preps a team for the ACC InVenture Prize each year. Do you have questions about programs or funding? New to entrepreneurship and not sure where to start? Email Kimi and schedule a time to chat about how to get involved in the Innovate Carolina student community.

Email for more information:

Learn more about Kimi!

All students face an unavoidable question – “How do I translate my degree into a rewarding career?” Dr. Ruiz serves on advisory boards and technology review panels at UNC as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Bio-sciences Organization (NCBIO) which is dedicated to supporting NC’s life science community through its advocacy for supportive public policy. As an adjunct professor in the Department of Biology, Dr. Ruiz is active in mentoring undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing careers in the biotech sector.

Email for more information:

Learn more about Joe!

Brian is a recognized leader in the XR industry with years of experience deploying transformative solutions for immersive education and healthcare. He designed and led immersive learning solutions for Lenovo and UNC Chapel Hill, with a focus on harmonizing XR hardware, device management, content, services, and support into successful initiatives that scale.

Brian has years of experience working in digital health, leading cross-campus health innovation projects while serving as Head of Health Technology and Informatics at UNC Chapel Hill, where he led a team of developers and taught courses in health informatics. He also co-founded the 1,500 member Health 2.0 NC Triangle group, and co-founded Triangle Startup Weekend for Health for startups in the digital health space.

Brian has expertise in all stages of immersive projects, from ideation to execution, and from product development to launching at scale. He is driven by a passion for helping organizations deploy emerging technology to improve outcomes for learning and health while making a positive impact on the world.

Brian Moynihan MBA | MA | MSIS

Founder and Principal, Dreamspace Consulting

Email for more information:

Learn more about Brian!

David Mierke is a Director of Account Success Technology & Strategy at Salesforce based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. As a veteran User Experience professional, David has over 15+ years of experience bringing physical and digital B2B + B2C products ideas to market through a business-centered, user-focused approach.

A subject matter expert on UX, Product Strategy, Process Optimization, Design Thinking, Business Strategy, and User Centered Design, David trains, consults, and teaches small and large companies nationwide, as well as co-teaches MBA courses on innovation and entrepreneurship at Northwestern University and accelerators.

Director, Account Success Technology & Strategy at Salesforce

Email for more information:

Learn more about David!


Dr. Romani leads Innovate Carolina’s Design and Innovation for the Public Good team’s mission to create new ideas, products and ventures that solve the most challenging problems in the state of North Carolina and beyond.  This includes the Graduate Certificate in Innovation for the Public Good and providing the design framework supporting the Carolina NEXT Strategic Plan.  At Loyola University of Maryland Bill was the Founding Entrepreneur in Residence and directed their interdisciplinary minor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He has served as an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and has held visiting appointments at Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering and in the Temple University Klein College of Communication.

His teaching and research interests include Design Thinking and Innovation, values-based storytelling, and developing equitable, community-based criteria for impact investing. He has been a Principle Investigator on several federal, state and foundation level grants and is a widely published author in peer reviewed journals. Outside of his academic roles Dr. Romani has worked for the AARP Foundation and led non-profit ventures focused on improving equity and access to quality education, housing and healthcare.  His current project, Stories, Context, and Lived Experiences of the Black Entrepreneur, is a collection of firsthand accounts of Black entrepreneurs who are disrupting long term anti-black structural inequities in redlined communities.

Director of Design and Public Innovation at Innovate Carolina

Email for more information:

Learn more about Bill!

You can also connect with peer mentors who are students so you can both navigate your entrepreneurship journey together.


Rida Bayraktar is a senior studying Computer Science and Religious Studies at UNC. She is also a social entrepreneur as the Founder of Pink STREAM, a non-profit organization to educate and empower K-12 girls in STREAM fields (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Arts, and Math).

Since 2018, Pink STREAM has impacted over 1.2k students journey in STREAM with courses and workshops covering a wide range of topics: robotics, coding, electronics, 3D printing, AI, virtual reality and more.

Rida has been awarded the 1789 Venture Fund, Burch Fellowship, Davis Project for Peace, Bryan Fellowship, and Kenan Biddle Partnership. She was part of the CUBE through Campus Y and Launch Chapel Hill Summer Accelerator. She has been chosen as the Student Changemaker by Innovate Carolina, and one of the Top 5 under 25 Innovators by Triangle Business Journal. Her work has also been recognized in the news, including the Daily Tar Heel, Grep Beat, Spectrum News, and

Alongside her entrepreneurial efforts and educational programs, she is a public speaker about the gender gap in STEM and girls empowerment.

Category of services:

How to form a nonprofit
Educational startups
Entrepreneur life as a student
Collective Impact Organization model (how to work collectively with other organizations for more impact)

Email for more information:

Hi there! My name is Aadit Mehta; I am from Fayetteville, North Carolina majoring in Business Administration and Computer Science. I am fascinated by education technology and am passionate about utilizing tech to develop better equitable education and opportunities for public education students. I love adventuring with friends, working out, and I grew up playing and watching almost every sport, but nothing beats college basketball.

In the last 3 years, I co-founded ChngTheWrld, a clothing company dedicated to environmental change, and launched SAT123, a tutoring company with fully asynchronous, group, and individual tutoring with multiple cohorts and teachers. Along the way, I launched multiple e-commerce sites as well and have built a foundation in building companies up to $20k in monthly revenue, utilizing Wix and Shopify’s services, and early-stage marketing. 


Email for more information:

Hiba is a doctoral student interested in systems thinking and implementation science to improve maternal health outcomes. Growing up in Florida, she pursued her bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of South Florida and moved to North Carolina to complete her masters degree in global health at Duke University. She is passionate about improving healthcare systems to increase to and quality of care. 

 Email for more information:

Contact Shri if you need help in:

  • Support for students who are working on a startup and want to familiarize themselves with best practices when it comes to iterating product or collecting and digesting user feedback. Areas of support are below.
  • Conducting effective user interviews.
  • Translating feedback into product changes.
  • Product Strategy.
  • Growth and Marketing strategy and more.

Email Shri Kolanukuduru to set up an appointment:

  • You have an idea, but you’re stuck trying build a product around your idea?
  • You have a product but you’re unable to build a waterproof business case around your product?
  • You have a business case but you’re unsure how to scale your product technically or commercially?
  • You have a scalable product but you’re unsure how to scale your team?

If you identify with any of the above statements, we should talk. I’m Marvin Diaz and I’ve spent the last 7 years building digital products for big tech, early-stage startups and everything in between. I’ve also been a tech entrepreneur in the past and am keenly aware of the dilemmas and challenges that Innovators and Entrepreneurs face on a daily basis. Pre or post-market launch, I’ve been in your shoes before and I’m happy to help turn your idea into a successful product!

Email Marvin to setup an appointment:

Learn more about Marvin!