It’s no secret that the entrepreneurship ecosystem at NC State has been blowing up over the years. From the explosive growth of the eClinic, to the addition of the Social Innovation Fellows, to the opening of the newly expanded Entrepreneurship Garage, NC State is flush with opportunities for students to explore an entrepreneurial mindset in and out of the classroom—across all fields of study. The latest addition to the robust group of offerings by the university? The e5x Scholarship.
The e5x Scholarship is an endowed, merit-based scholarship for undergraduate student entrepreneurs at NC State. First preference is given to qualified students who are under-represented in the NC State undergraduate student body population within the entrepreneurship ecosystem. Second preference is given to those students starting companies or interested in pursuing companies in the technology space.
This is our first official undergraduate scholarship that is specific to entrepreneurship.
Senior Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship and Academic Outreach Dr. Tom Miller explained, “This is our first official undergraduate scholarship that is specific to entrepreneurship and it’s definitely an area where we need additional investment to support the best and brightest entrepreneurially-minded students.” Considering the financial support for students and recent alumni through the Andrews Launch Accelerator and the Miller Fellowship, the e5x Scholarship fills a gap, making support available for students to apply to their educational expenses as they explore entrepreneurship at NC State.
The scholarship was endowed by NC State alumna and founder of Neo IP JiNan Glasgow George on NC State’s first annual Day of Giving. She stated, “It’s a way for me to give back to NC State as an entrepreneur myself and an investor in ventures.” George’s journey at NC State began in 1986 when she started her freshman year in the College of Engineering. During her tenure as a student at NC State, George was the recipient of the Textiles Foundation Merit Scholarship and the Freshman Merit Scholarship and also served as the president of the Society of Women Engineers. These experiences gave her unique perspective on the lacking representation of women in technical fields (a major factor in her decision to prioritize underrepresented groups in scholarship selection) as well as the importance of merit-based scholarships. With regard to the latter, George said she hopes the scholarship will help keep entrepreneurship students from being burdened by debt and “allow them to have the freedom to launch their businesses out of school.”
It’s a way for me to give back to NC State as an entrepreneur myself and an investor in ventures.
Since graduating in 1990, George has become recognized worldwide for her expertise in intellectual property, having led multiple successful ventures and having been selected as a featured speaker at IP conferences internationally. “She’s been a tremendous asset to the board and she’s helped mentor students,” remarked Dr. Miller. Through the years, George has supported NC State as a guest lecturer, student mentor, NC State Entrepreneurship advisory board member and a member of the Wolfpack Investor Network.
Where did the name “e5x” come from? George explained, “When I thought about my vision for growing entrepreneurs through NC State’s great program, it was about a 5x multiplier.” Just like her IP firm aims to help companies realize a 5x return, she intends for the scholarship to invest in entrepreneurship students who will realize a multiple of 5x or better when it comes to personal and professional growth at NC State.
While the e5x Scholarship is endowment-based, George was determined to have a “now” component, allowing the university to take immediate action supporting a student entrepreneur in the 2019-2020 academic year. This year’s scholarship of $1,800 went to Katie Lawson, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, studying industrial and systems engineering. Lawson is involved in entrepreneurship at NC State through her residency in the Albright Entrepreneurs Village and her participation as an Entrepreneurship Ambassador, where she serves in leadership on the outreach committee, creating better pathways for connecting students to entrepreneurship offerings at the university. Her other co-curricular involvement includes the NC State Baja Team and the Grand Challenge Scholars.
When approached about the award, Lawson shared, “The scholarship money I was awarded will help me fund trips to neuroscience and medical startup conferences, allowing me to network with medical start-ups, to explore the neuroplasticity field and to learn about the industry of medical startups.”
The e5x Scholarship will be awarded annually—interested NC State undergraduate students can find more information and apply on the NC State scholarships website prior to the next academic year.