Home Local News UNC School of Law partners with Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub to assist local...

UNC School of Law partners with Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub to assist local startups

Thomas Hall, director of the Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub, chats with Clif Knight, general counsel for Bookspan LLP in NY., a member of the Institute’s Board of Advisors.

PEMBROKE — An ongoing collaboration between UNC Pembroke’s Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub and the UNC School of Law’s Institute for Innovation was highlighted during a “Celebrating Legal Service to the State” event in Chapel Hill on Wednesday. 

UNC’s law faculty and students shared impactful stories of how they have helped for-profit and nonprofit businesses and organizations from across the state. 

A featured video debuted during the event showed how the Institute for Innovation is training lawyers, supporting and protecting the dreams of entrepreneurs and strengthening economies across the state. 

North Carolina House Minority Leader Robert T. Reives II provided remarks in addition to UNC School of Law Dean Martin Brinkley, clinic faculty and two law students. 

“Startups and small businesses in rural communities face extraordinary challenges and are chronically underfunded. It’s a privilege to provide legal services for these startups and small businesses, and, in fact, it’s part of our mission,” said Marjorie White, clinical law professor and director of the Startup NC Law Clinic. 

Dennis Lowery, owner of Chicora Engineering, couldn’t be more pleased with the services he receives from the Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub. 

Lowery is one of 10 startups and small business owners operating out of the  downtown Pembroke incubator. Aside from office space, the entrepreneurs are given access to education, personalized consulting and networking opportunities. 


For the past two years, Lowery has taken advantage of free legal counseling services courtesy of the UNC law students and the Institute for Innovation. He was blown away when the institute contacted him with this opportunity. 

“The law students at UNC Chapel Hill have helped me tremendously,” Lowery said. 

Students drafted subcontractor and client agreements for Chicora, among other legal assistance and advice.    

“The contracts were tailored to my needs and interests,” he said. “As a startup, not having to pay a retainer fee to a lawyer and having this knowledge from someone willing to help get those documents in place was very helpful. I’ve used the contracts with some of the projects I’ve been working on, and they’ve been successful.” 

Opened in 2015, the Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub serves the community by helping startups and small businesses start and grow into successful companies. The Hub is an engine of economic growth and innovation for Pembroke and southeastern North Carolina.   

“I’m thankful to the Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub and UNC School of Law for allowing me to participate in this partnership, “Lowery said. “I will never be able to repay them for the time and the value they have brought to my business.”