037 Igniting Innovation and Entrepreneurship with UNC Wilmington CIE Director, Diane Durance

By Supportedly

Podcast Show Notes

Diane joins me today to share how the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) connects the university’s resources with entrepreneurs and venture startups. She describes the Mentor Group Program and the coworking space provided by CIE and reveals the upcoming networking and learning events. I also spoke with Claire to learn more about Skilly-do and how CIE helped her start her businesses and connect with expert mentors.



“Our mission is to connect and ignite the regional strengths and the university expertise to create innovation and entrepreneurial solutions.” – Diane Durance



This week on the Supportedly Podcast:


  • How the university’s resources help Wilmington’s businesses and community entrepreneurs.
  • How the university connects startup ventures with local professionals and retired CEOs and entrepreneurs.
  • How the Mentor Group Program connects high potential entrepreneurs with mentors.
  • The different venture stages that the mentors are looking to engage with.
  • The equipment, technology, and Media Team Services that are available in the coworking space and incubator space.
  • The networking and learning events held by the UNC Wilmington Center for Innovation.
  • Recent events and programs that helped marine fisheries and the creative economy.
  • How Skilly-do helps preschool children learn, grow, and have fun.
  • How CIE helped Claire develop her venture and connect with the right people.
  • The advice that Claire would give to new entrepreneurs.


“They’re going to connect you with the right people – because they know the right people – and they don’t hesitate. If they can help you, they are going to help you.” – Claire Holroyd



Free & Low-Cost Programs at UNC Wilmington Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship:



Connect with Diane Durance:



Connect with Claire Holroyd:



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Podcast Guests

037 Diane Durance Photo

Diane Durance

Diane Durance is the Director of the UNC Wilmington Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, an organization that provides working space, tools, networking opportunities, and mentorship to entrepreneurs and new venture startups. Diane was previously the President of MiQuest, a company that promotes entrepreneurship through publications and events. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Masters of Public Administration from the Southern Methodist University.

037- Claire Holroyd headshot

Claire Holroyd

Claire Holroyd is the Co-Founder and CEO of Skilly-do, a company that helps parents use their time effectively and help their preschool children learn through play. Claire received the John Hope Franklin Award from the Center for Documentary Studies and has a BA in Public Policy from Duke University. Claire also has an MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts. Claire’s career includes working for companies such as Qualcomm, the PlayStation Network, and Square Enix.


Podcast Host

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Steph Kissel

I utilize my background and expertise in project leadership to find creative operational solutions every day. I’m passionate about great ideas and inspired by the entrepreneurs who bring them to life (ever seen someone cry happy tears over your prototype?). I'm fortunate to work with people who share my passions and inspire me every day. Together, we're working non-stop to create cool things that empower entrepreneurs and business owners, like Supportedly.com, the place to find entrepreneurial support programs, events, and actionable content like The Supportedly Podcast. To all the providers and entrepreneurs they support, thanks for letting me tell your stories, and if you’re reading this, I hope we’ve helped make your entrepreneurial journey just a little be easier and maybe even more exciting!

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The Supportedly Podcast is a show that explores the best free and low-cost support programs helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.

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Supportedly Co-Founder and COO, Stephanie Kissel sits down with support organizations for an in-depth look at the programs offered, and how they are moving the needle for the entrepreneurs taking advantage of them. You'll hear stories from both the support provider and an entrepreneur who has been through the program.  Guests will include support providers from entrepreneurial ecosystems everywhere and the entrepreneurs they serve.

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