‘The goal is to outgrow this space’

PEMBROKE — As the new director of UNC Pembroke’s Entrepreneurship Incubator, Dr. James Woods’ first job is to start up his own enterprise.

Located at 202 Main St. in Pembroke, the incubator is expected to be ready for occupancy in September. Woods, who started work in April, is standing on the ground floor of a project that is touted as a potential booster for the region’s economy.

A research scientist by training, Woods comes to Pembroke from Wake Forest Innovations, the medical center’s accelerator for scientific discovery. As a business developer, his role was to build partnerships between the university’s scientists and private industry.

As a student, Woods found inspiration in science and mentorship from teachers who introduced him to research beginning in his undergraduate years at Morehead State University. He studied psychology and biology and combined them into the study of drug and alcohol addiction and treatment.

With a doctorate in psychobiology from Purdue University, Woods did post-doctoral work in pharmaceutical testing and product development and accumulated an enviable record of scientific publications. He also earned an MBA from Ball State University.

“The mission of the Entrepreneurship Incubator is to engage the resources of the university to create businesses and jobs,” he said. “UNCP offered me the right job at the right time.”

Some of the resources Woods will have to work with are the proven track record of business consultants – UNCP’s Thomas Family Center for Entrepreneurship and UNC’s Small Business and Technology Development Center. UNCP’s business and science faculty are also key resources as are UNCP’s students.

“One of the Entrepreneurship Incubator’s premier goals is education through student engagement,” Woods said. “Working with the incubator’s start-up companies and local businesses, students will gain real world experience in marketing, accounting, operations, and more. Experiential learning like this is invaluable for students, and it looks good on their resumes.”

Woods’ summer will be consumed with the details of starting an enterprise. He is working on a vision statement, branding and policy creation.

“The goal, of course, is to outgrow this space,” he said.

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