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We assist faculty researchers and entrepreneurs with support services designed to increase technology commercialization through licensing and new venture creation.

The Startup Consulting Program assists university faculty with the development of a commercialization strategy for moving novel technologies toward the market. The Startup Consulting staff assigns a team of MBA students to serve as consultants to both early-stage startups and faculty members interested in evaluating a startup as a vehicle for commercializing their technology. The Startup Consulting team then provides in-depth research and analysis that leads to recommendations on a strategy for commercialization.

Client Application

* Students Apply Below

Specific areas of support include:

Technology Evaluations

Market and Competitive Analyses

Business Model Development

Pitch Presentation Coaching

Identification of Potential Funding Sources

Access to Potential Advisors/Mentors




The Startup Consulting Program provides MBA students with an experiential learning opportunity serving as consultants to early-stage, UNC-affiliated startup companies. Through these consulting projects, students are offered the chance to hone their skills in entrepreneurship and startup development through hands-on work while simultaneously expanding their entrepreneurial network of startup founders, advisors, and management teams. Eligible MBA students may apply to participate on a Startup Consulting team through our course, MBA848C: Startup Consulting, by using the online application link below.

The projects often include market research, competitive analysis, business model development, pitch presentation refinement, and validation of financing strategies. The specific scope of work is tailored to the needs of the individual startup client by the student consultant(s) with feedback from the startup client and Startup Consulting program personnel.

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Praise for Startup Consulting

“I would recommend a start-up consulting project to any student who is interested. It provides a hands on experience you will not get in a classroom setting.”

“The fact that students get the chance to work with real clients and have the ability to drive real change is nothing less than remarkable. I would indeed do it again if the opportunity arose.”

“The startup consulting project is a value add to my resume and a talking point when I have discussions with recruiters. Great Course!”

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I qualify to participate as a client in the Startup Consulting Program?

The program focuses on UNC technology-based startups in a variety of fields including biopharma/life science, healthcare IT, electronics and materials science, consumer products, and others.

How are projects sourced?

If you are interested in applying to the Startup Consulting program, apply here.

How are projects evaluated?

The consulting team will evaluate the needs of startup at project kickoff, develop a scope of work that fits these identified need areas, and provide final deliverables that focus on specific recommendations for commercialization.

What are the timelines for participation?

MBA students are matched to startups for a semester-long engagement, either in the fall (September-December) or spring (January – May).

If selected to participate in Startup Consulting, what are the expectations for the client?

We find that the most successful projects involve periodic check-ins with the client companies. Thus, we ask that clients make themselves available to the consulting team on a recurring basis throughout the engagement period. While this expectation is flexible with respect to the availability of the client, we generally find that the client will need to meet with the consulting team on a weekly or biweekly basis throughout the project period. This can be a combination of in-person meetings, conference calls, etc.