The Carolina Challenge is the premier entrepreneurship event at UNC. Every year, dozens of teams pitch their ideas to over 150 judges at our Pitch Party in hopes of winning prize money to fund their ventures.

Past events:

Carolina Challenge Makeathon

February 10, 2019 to February 16, 2019

UNC’s week-long Makeathon is a creative, cross-campus competition which accelerates innovative ideas into physical and digital prototypes that promote positive social impact. Academically diverse student teams will compete in one of two tracks: digital or physical product development. Teams will have special access to on-campus makerspaces, app labs, workshops, and expert mentors to design, reiterate, and enhance their products, business models, and pitches. Students will also build a network of peers and community members who are skilled in innovating, making, and entrepreneurship, which will extend beyond the competition. The Makeathon culminates in a final pitch event where students and other expert judges will vote to give the teams the chance to win over $10,000 in cash and other prizes and opportunities. Learn more at the Makeathon’s website.

Pre-Makeathon Team Match and Mingle Event

January 22, 2019 | 6:30-8:30 pm | BLUE 

(1st floor of Carmichael Dorm)

If you are excited about joining the Makeathon this year but aren’t sure where to start, this event on January 22 is for you! The Team Match and Mingle Event is for students who:

  • Are new to everything making and/or entrepreneurship but want to get involved!
  • Have an idea or product, but need 2-4 teammates to help develop the idea (Reminder: Makeathon rules specify that teams must consist of 3-5 student members)
  • Already have a small team and momentum on a product or venture, but need additional teammates or skills on their team

This event will give you the opportunity to meet others who are just starting out with similar interests as you, and/or introduce you to existing teams who are open to adding new members with your skillsets!  We will help facilitate activities that will help you get to know the other attendees on a deeper level quickly (and provide the snacks to chat over), then we’ll leave it to you to continue the connections and submit your application for the Makeathon with your teammates for consideration by the January 27, 2019 at 11:59pm deadline.

Pitch Party

November 8, 2018 | 5-8 pm | Blue Zone

Apply to pitch your venture at “THE” cross-campus venture competition. This exhibition style event will give you the opportunity to present your ideas to 150 judges. Up to 10 prizes will be awarded to the teams that earn the most tokens from judges! Note: most teams who meet the criteria (see eligibility page) will get a table at the Pitch Party. We highly encourage you to attend the pitch practice on October 10th to better understand the best practices in pitching!

Think Thursday Speaker Series

November 1, 2018 | 7-8:30 pm | BLUE 

(1st floor of Carmichael Dorm)

Join us and Carolina THINK Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Club for a speaker series around problems worth solving to spark ideas and discussion around important issues our world is facing. On November 1st we will have a panel of college or recent graduate entrepreneurs that will address what it’s like to start a business while in school. Future panelists will speak on topics such as sustainability, food, healthcare, and technology, and present on issues they face in their respected field and then discuss ways that entrepreneurs are solving them.

Problems Worth Solving Speaker Series: Deborah Stroman

October 25, 2018 | 7-9 pm | 1789 Venture Lab

(near Waffle House on E. Franklin Street)

Join Carolina THINK this Thursday with Dr. Deborah Stroman, a specialized leader within the Gillings School of Global Public Health, an expert in organizational behavior in the sports business industry, and an entrpreneur-in-residence at the American Underground. You will hear about personal achievements and hardships that can be encountered throughout the journey of entrepreneurship.  We will examine experiences women and minorities must face as entrepreneurs while also learning more about Dr. Stroman and her personal advice to overcome potential biases within the entrepreneurship community.

Systems Thinking Workshop

October 24, 2018 | 7-8:30 pm | BLUE 

(1st floor of Carmichael Dorm)

Join us at BLUE innovation space for a workshop around systems thinking. In this workshop, participants will learn about feedback loops and systems mapping, and will use these tools to create visual representations of real-world problems that matter to them. We will start with the basics and provide the structure needed to go deeper into more complex systems.

Think Thursday Speaker Series

October 11, 2018 | 7-8:30 pm | BLUE 

(1st floor of Carmichael Dorm)

Join us and Carolina THINK Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Club for a speaker series around problems worth solving to spark ideas and discussion around important issues our world is facing. October 11th we will have a special guest from Venture for America who will teach us their framework for identifying and reiterating on startup ideas. Future panelists will speak on topics such as sustainability, food, healthcare, and technology, and present on issues they face in their respected field and then discuss ways that entrepreneurs are solving them.

Pitch Practice

October 10, 2018 | 5-7 pm | BLUE

(1st floor of Carmichael Dorm)

Learn how to perfect your pitch from Communications Professor Tim Flood. He will teach you about the elements of a good pitch and techniques for public speaking! This workshop will help you shine at the Carolina Challenge Pitch Party!

Design Thinking Prototyping Session

 September 18, 2018 | 6-8 pm | BLUE 

(1st floor of Carmichael Dorm)

Join us in the BLUE Makerspace for a workshop around design thinking and prototyping. After a brief design activity on getting the creative juices flowing, students will break into random teams and receive a problem to solve. We will regroup, present and evaluate our ideas, discussing lessons learned to continue to improve upon the ideas or develop new ones.

For more events related to early venturing and starting a business visit the 1789 Venture Lab Events Page.


Congratulations to our Top Teams from the 2019 Carolina Challenge Makeathon!

Phyta – Sanistation – Mind Over Matter – SP0T – Shearless – Newco Gouru – Hempsulation – UNCeats – BuddyVR

Secured – Nail It – Calendex – Breakthrough Breathing – MLDY Music – Phoenyx – Arkoudaki

Makeathon Final