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WFU awards entrepreneurship grants


December 17, 2007

Wake Forest University has awarded nine grants totaling $23,500 from the Chambers Family Fund for Entrepreneurship to seven student ventures and two faculty initiatives.

The family of John Chambers, chief executive officer of Cisco Systems, established the fund with a $1 million endowment gift in August 2002 to promote the advancement of entrepreneurial activities involving the Internet and other technological commerce.  The fund now totals more than $1.5 million, and grants, typically ranging from $1,500 to $10,000 each, are awarded twice a year by a provost-appointed committee.  Since 2004, the university has approved 52 grant applications and awarded $239,706.

The following projects were approved for fall 2007 funding:

  • Justees: For Justice, a Web-based women’s knit-top business (justeesforjustice.com) that contributes a portion of its sales to charitable causes such as breast cancer research, was awarded $3,000.  Martha Napier, a Fifth-Year Kemper Fellow who completed a studio art major in 2007, is the company’s founder.  This is her second Chambers grant.
  • College-Nation, an online networking site (www.College-Nation.com) designed exclusively for college students, was awarded $500.  Seniors Tim Chilleri and Thaddeus Rolle began developing the Web site in spring 2007.
  • Out of Line Apparel, a T-shirt company that serves as an online conduit (www.outoflineapparel.com) for students across the country to share their collegiate experience through buying, blogging about and browsing creative college T-shirts designed by students, was awarded $1,000.  Seniors Brad Chitty and Phil VanFossan began planning the business in 2006.  This is their second Chambers grant.
  • BioBotz (www.biobotz.org), an educational entertainment company aimed at teaching children cellular biology through video games, animated cartoons and storybooks, was awarded $3,000.  Six sophomores, Mike Metzmaker, Sara Branson, Ashley Edwards, Michael Epstein, Jane Lee and Elizabeth Newman, started the company over the summer after coming up with the idea during a class project in a freshman seminar they had all taken.
  • Sandie Golfwear, a women’s apparel company specializing in “fashionable and edgy” clothing and accessories for the female junior golfer, was awarded $2,500.  Sophomore Laura Ormson is the company’s founder.  She has reserved her Web domain name, Sandiegolfwear.com, and will use the funds to develop the site.
  • The Unique Sheep (theuniquesheep.com), a supplier of hand-dyed specialty yarns and knitting accessories, was awarded $4,000.  Laura Bullins, a Fifth-Year Kemper Fellow who completed her anthropology major in 2007, founded the company.
  • Filigree Nanotech Inc., an early-stage company seeking to develop nanomaterials that dramatically boost electrical conductivity, was awarded $3,000.  Claude Hou, a Babcock Graduate School of Management MBA candidate, and an associate, Chang Chen, a doctoral student in Belgium, are developing the company.
  • The Electronic Entrepreneurship Network, a proposed virtual network that would connect Wake Forest student entrepreneurs with mentors, industry professionals, service providers, potential investors and archived resources, was awarded $5,500.  Bren Varner, program director for the University Center for Entrepreneurship, is leading development of the network.
  • Images of Religious Hatred: Resisting Religious Intolerance through Education, a class project to develop a proposed Web site, was awarded $1,000.  Lynn Neal, assistant professor of religion, plans to have students in her spring 2008 course, Religious Intolerance in the United States, create a site featuring images of religious hatred accompanied by historical context, art analysis and discussion questions to foster dialogue about and education on the issue.

Applicants seeking spring 2008 funding from the Chambers Family Fund for Entrepreneurship must submit their applications by Feb. 8.

Fortune Small Business magazine rates Wake Forest’s entrepreneurship programs among the top 26 collegiate programs nationwide.

Press Contacts:

Eric Frazier
(336) 758-5237


Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237


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