New UNCW Entrepreneurship Center director is fishing for startups


New UNCW Entrepreneurship Center director is fishing for startups

Posted Jan. 4, 2017 at 9:06 a.m.

New UNCW Entrepreneurship Center director is fishing for startups

UNCW's Diane Durance UNCW’s Diane Durance

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Throughout the journey that’s led Diane Durance to her new role as director of UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), connectivity has always been her mission. 

From starting her own telecommunications engineering firm to leading a nonprofit that supports tech ventures throughout Michigan, Durance understands entrepreneurship as both founder and collaborator, and thus the need for continual symbiosis between those spheres.

Hired by the CIE in June 2016, Durance’s greatest challenge will be to translate her abilities to a Wilmington startup scene that is both promising yet fragmented. She’ll start by luring a national aquaculture innovation event to Wilmington in 2017.
The beach town is more than just a pretty place to start a business, as local aquaculture lends itself to the marine biotech research that’s become a cornerstone for UNCW. Along with the likes of startups Live Oak/nCino and Next Glass and startup campus tekMountain, the university has substantially helped to grow Wilmington’s mini-tech scene over the past five years. 

Where the Triangle has enough startup density to provide highly-focused efforts for different growth stages, Durance believes Wilmington’s current reality is still fetal enough to require a more company-specific approach.

But this struggle to turn so many moving parts into a functional whole pretty much sums up Durance’s career.

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