PEMBROKE — University leaders recently celebrated a milestone for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Thomas Family Center for Entrepreneurship.
A graduation ceremony was held Sept. 14 for Lumbee Tribal Enterprises, an IT company that called the business incubator home for the past two years.
The company has branched out on its own — which is the overall goal for the remaining businesses, said Thomas Hall, Thomas Family Center for Entrepreneurship executive director.
“The goal is to move companies out into the community,” Hall said. “The center has a plan of action where anyone with a business idea, or existing business owners, can come to the center for help.
“The center supports growth for the southeast region of North Carolina and has developed strong partnerships statewide to help businesses in any industry.”
Terry Hunt, president of Lumbee Tribal Enterprises, thanked the staff during the ceremony. He was joined by Ron Oxendine, chief operating officer, and Harvey Godwin Jr., Lumbee Tribe chairman. Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings and Barry O’Brien, dean of UNCP’s School of Business, were among others in attendance.
“The incubator and the Thomas Center’s staff has helped more than I could ever imagine,” Hunt said.
“We worked on all aspects of the company, such as contract recruitment, local partnerships, human resources, computer skills, business marketing, and general business development.”
The company’s new headquarters is at Foxglove Place on Candy Park Road.
Lumbee Tribe Enterprises LLC was the first company to locate its business within the incubator in downtown Pembroke. The business is a leading provider of information technology, systems engineering, enterprise applications, professional services and program management to the U.S. Department of Defense and other federal agencies.
The incubator, located at 202 Main St. in Pembroke, is designed to provide start-up clients access to the resources and expertise offered at UNCP and the local area.
The center provides opportunities for UNCP students to get hands-on learning experiences through internships and other learning opportunities.
The incubator has space for nine private offices. Seven of those spaces are filled. Construction is underway to provide space for an additional 16 flex offices.
“Over the past year we are grateful for the support the university, Robeson County, and the state has given the Thomas Center,” Hall said.
“We have been able to connect and help so many businesses and organizations statewide and we look forward to what the future holds.”
Mark Locklear is a public communications specialist for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s office of Communications & Marketing.