Community Entrepreneurship & Economic Development

The Charlotte Research Institute works with the community and UNC Charlotte campus to accelerate technology commercialization and champion the growth of entrepreneurial ventures. This mission is accomplished through a number of activities and services designed to bring innovation to the marketplace and spur economic growth.

R&D Resources – The Charlotte Research Institute offers access to services, equipment and facilities that can be harnessed to conduct client-sponsored R&D from commercial businesses, government agencies, foundations and other organizations.  These resources are designed to minimize time, risks and costs for early-stage companies. CRI provides resources in the form of:

Expertise – CRI can facilitate research expertise from UNC Charlotte and our other partner organizations including NCRC and Ventureprise. Specifically, CRI has research centers that have been formed to address complex problems in an interdisciplinary fashion. To learn more about our centers of excellence click here.

Facilities – CRI can provide access to wet labs and office space. 

Equipment – Our region is home to a variety of state-of-the-art equipment which is available for use by commercial businesses and innovative entrepreneurs.

Grants and Funding Partnerships – CRI has access to a number of funding opportunities and collaborative research grants. We also partner with commercial business on various grants including SBIR and STTR opportunities. To learn more about funding click here.

Start-up Workshops and Seminars – CRI promotes and conducts a number of entrepreneurial seminars and workshops throughout the year designed to facilitate the commercialization of innovative technologies and ideas in our community.

Business Innovation Competition (Charlotte Venture Challenge) – CRI has been holding a business innovation competition since 2002. The competition serves as a start-up model to launch new companies in our region. The competition process is designed to accelerate new companies through workshops, mentoring and access to a variety of entrepreneurial resources. One participant has said of the competition that it was “instrumental in helping us connect and establish an advisory board including VCs, legal and business professionals. The guidance and lessons learned were invaluable to guide and direct our company forward.”

Regional Economic Development Success = United Protective Technologies - “Since the event we have moved from a 10k sf leased space to 20k sf in our own building. We have expanded our product and coatings portfolio, and now not only supply protective films and coating to US military customers, but to several large domestic and foreign non military OEM's. UPT has grown from 5 to 21 employees, with 75% holding Engineering or Science based degrees.” (Founder’s comment in 2011.)

Sponsor Entrepreneurial Community Events – CRI sponsors and its staff members contribute to a variety of entrepreneurial community activities, programs, and educational seminars.