Entrepreneurs are the foundation of the free enterprise system and seize opportunities to start new businesses despite considerable risks. Despite the essential role of entrepreneurial ventures in a vibrant and growing economy, the study of entrepreneurship lags other traditional fields in social science.

The Kenan Institute Frontiers of Entrepreneurship conference will convene a select and diverse group of academic researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to grow mutual understanding of vital issues and identify key research questions that future research should tackle.


Thursday, January 31

9:00 AM-9:45 AM

Check-in and Welcome Reception

9:45 AM-11:45 AM

Opening Remarks


Howard Aldrich

Kenan Professor of Sociology, UNC Chapel Hill; Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Vickie Gibbs

Executive Director, UNC Entrepreneurship Center, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Christina Lewis

Founder & CEO, All Star Code

Steve Nelson

Co-Founder, Carbon
11:45 AM-1:45 PM



Bonnie McElveen-Hunter

Founder & CEO, Pace Communications and Chair of the Board, American Red Cross
2:00 PM-3:30 PM

Workshop Sessions I, II, III

Workshop Session I: Market Genesis

How do new markets form? How does the knowledge base underpinning innovation interact with other factors to create a new industry? This session examines the foundations of business innovation and the evolution of ideas into new market segments


Mahka Moeen

Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Rajshree Agarwal

Rudolph P. Lamone Chair and Professor in Entrepreneurship; Director, Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets, University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business

Joe Colopy

Managing Director, Colopy Ventures

Arnobio Morelix

Director of Research, Startup Genome

Mary Tripsas

Associate Professor of Management and Organization, Boston College Carroll School of Management

Workshop Session II: Lowering Barriers for Diverse Entrepreneurs

Evidence suggests that barriers to financial support, mentors, and other essential facets of entrepreneurial ecosystems help explain why female and minority entrepreneurs are under-represented. This session explores opportunities to lower barriers and what else is needed from industry and policy to promote more equal opportunity.


Carolyn Rodz

Founder and CEO, Alice

Dell Gines

Senior Community Development Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Henry McKoy

Faculty Member and Director of Entrepreneurship, North Carolina Central University School of Business; Managing Director of the Eagle Angel Network, North Carolina Central University

Jessica Tabbert

CEO & Founder, J. Gisele

Qingfang Wang

Associate Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Riverside

Workshop Session III: The Future of Fintech

The explosion of applications for blockchain technologies has the potential to transform the financial services industry. These innovations and other advances have resulted in substantial venture capital flowing to the fintech industry at the same time that new technologies are altering how entrepreneurial firms raise capital. This session explores where fintech is taking us with initial coin offerings, new financial technology, and the rapid reshaping of financial infrastructure through disruptive technologies.


Olav Sorenson

Frederick Frank ‘54 and Mary C. Tanner Professor of Management, Yale School of Management

Lin William Cong

Assistant Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Eric Ghysels

Edward Bernstein Distinguished Professor of Economics, UNC- Chapel Hill; Professor of Finance, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Marina Niessner

Vice President, AQR Capital Management
4:00 PM-5:30 PM

Workshop Sessions IV, V & VI

Workshop Session IV: Founding Teams

The selection of a founding team may be the most important decision contributing to venture success. Cofounders provide the necessary skills, resources, and emotional support that entrepreneurs need to succeed. However, cofounder conflicts are also a central cause for new venture failure. Little rigorous research has been done on co-founder dynamics – that is, how co-founders select each other and work with each other over time. This session brings together leading experts on startup teams to discuss current trends in this area as well as promising areas for future research.


Chris Bingham

Philip Hettleman Distinguished Scholar, Professor and Area Chair of Strategy & Entrepreneurship, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School; Co-Director of Kenan Entrepreneurship Initiative

Emi Abramzon

Co-founder, Nearpod

Jaclyn Baumgarten

CEO & Co-Founder, Boatsetter

Y. Sekou Bermiss

Associate Professor of Management, University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business

Michael Freeman M.D.

Department of Psychiatry, UCSF School of Medicine
Cofounder, CentraLink
Founding Chief Medical Officer, Triggr Health

Sonali Shah

Associate Professor of Business Administration, University of Illinois Gies College of Business

Workshop Session V: Principled Entrepreneurship Education

Recent ethical violations and legal troubles at start-up firms have highlighted a disconnect between entrepreneurial business culture and acceptable behavior. What do we know about what is driving this issue, what do we need to learn, and most importantly, how should the academic community and the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem close this gap?


Tom Byers

Professor of Entrepreneurship, Stanford School of Engineering
Co-Director, Stanford Technology Ventures Program

DeLisa Alexander

EVP and Chief People Officer, Red Hat

Laura C. Dunham

Associate Dean, Entrepreneurship, Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, University of St. Thomas

Jon Fjeld

Interim Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Acting Director of Graduate Studies, Duke University; Professor of the Practice, Professor of Philosophy, Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Duke University Fuqua School of Business

Steve Kaplan

Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance and Kessenich E.P. Faculty Director, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Laura Maydón

Managing Director, Endeavor Miami

Workshop Session VI: Spawning

Over the last decade, new firm formation has declined. Despite some evidence of a recent uptick, start-up activity remains stunted. A variety of explanations have been proposed for this phenomenon ranging from regulation to financial constraints. But, what do we really know about factors and incentives driving new firm formation? How is start-up activity affected by local economic conditions, innovation at large firms, and entrepreneur ambition, among many other factors? Perhaps most importantly, how can we disentangle causality from correlation?


Maryann Feldman

Heninger Distinguished Professor of Public Policy & Finance, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Ryan Decker

Economist, Federal Reserve Board of Governors

Sabrina T. Howell

Assistant Professor of Finance, New York University Stern School of Business

Igor Jablokov

Founder and CEO, Pyron

Matthew Rhodes-Kropf

Visiting Associate Professor, Finance, MIT Sloan School of Management
5:30 PM-7:00 PM


7:00 PM-9:00 PM



Chip Paucek

CEO and Co-Founder, 2U

Friday, February 01

7:30 AM-8:45 AM

Breakfast and Panel Discussion

The Changing Landscape of Growth Financing

As the profile of venture investors has changed significantly in the last 15 years, access to growth capital has changed substantially. This has caused various spillovers including companies staying private longer and new strategies for growth investors. Who are the winners and losers in this shifting landscape and what are unexpected consequences?


Brett Palmer

President, Small Business Investor Alliance

Bobby Franklin

President & CEO, National Venture Capital Association

Anne Glover

Chief Executive and Co-founder, Amadeus Capital Partners

David Robinson

Professor of Finance and J. Rex Fuqua Professor of International Management, Duke Fuqua School of Business
9:00 AM-10:30 AM

Workshop Sessions VII, VIII & IX

Workshop Session VII: Roundtable Discussion

What should policymakers be doing to help entrepreneurs?


Craig Buerstatte

Director, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Economic Development Administration

Rebel A. Cole

Kaye Distinguished Professor of Finance, Florida Atlantic University

John Dearie

Founder and President, Center for American Entrepreneurship

John Duca

Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Mary Moore Hamrick

National Managing Principal - Public Policy, Grant Thornton

Jason Rathje

Ph.D. Candidate, Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University

Hans Rawhouser

Assistant Professor, Management, Entrepreneurship and Technology; UNLV Lee Business School

Igor Tasic

Founder and CEO, Startup Europe Week

Xinxin Wang

Assistant Professor of Finance, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Workshop Session VIII: Strategy in Tech Environments

There is no segment of the economy that evolves more quickly than the technology sector. Traditional models of business strategy struggle to survive in such a fast-paced environment. This session explores innovation at hyper-speed and how business, policy, and educators can keep up.


David Hsu

David Hsu, Richard A. Sapp Professor of Management, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

Stanford W. Ascherman, M.D. Professor and Co-Director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, Stanford University

Rory McDonald

Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Howard Morgan

Co-Founder, First Round Capital

Chad Womack

Senior Director of STEM Initiatives and the HBCU Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship, UNCF

Workshop Session IX: Entrepreneurial Finance

How are recent trends in new financing platforms affecting capital formation among start-ups and young firms? What is the impact of digital payments on entrepreneurship and firm behavior. How can we use start-up funding data like crowd-funding and credit card information to better study early-stage financing activity? For example, following an exogenous weather shock (e.g. hurricane), do small firms increase their credit card debt and what affect would changes have on business growth?


Leora Klapper

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, The World Bank

Sameeksha Desai

Director of Knowledge Creation and Research in Entrepreneurship, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Eric Glustrom

Founder, Watson Institute

Angela Hung

Senior Economist; Director for Financial and Economic Decision Making, RAND Corporation

Chris Wheat

Director of Business Research, JP Morgan Chase Institute
11:00 AM-12:30 PM

Workshop Sessions X, XI & XII

Workshop Session X: Roundtable Discussion – Who are the winners and losers from innovation?

Recent attention has focused on immigration and trade as forces leading to lower real wages for American workers. Similar sentiments exist in other developed economies. The role of innovation has been less prominent though evidence suggests that many skilled professions are coming under pressure from automation and other rapidly evolving technologies. This session explores the winners and losers from innovation in developed and developing economies and policies needed to address dislocations.


Melissa Bradley

Founder, Venture DC/Project 500; Senior Fellow - Metropolitan Policy Program, Brooking

Peter Cornelius

Managing Director, AlpInvest Partners/The Carlyle Group

Michael Ewens

Assoc. Professor of Finance and Entrepreneurship, California Institute of Technology

Kristoph Kleiner

Assistant Professor in Finance, Kelley School of Business at Indiana University

Michael Roach

J. Thomas and Nancy W. Clark Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business

Amit Singh

President and CEO, Spectraforce

Workshop Session XI: What does an entrepreneur have to know about business? And, how should they learn it?

Entrepreneurs know the importance of investing in themselves—building valuable skills and improving their strengths over time. But how important are traditional business skills such as knowledge of finance, accounting, etc. compared to skills focused on innovation, design, and identifying market opportunities? Are the technical skills valued in traditional business disciplines compatible with the attributes of successful entrepreneurs, such as the ability to recognize business opportunities, create value for the customer, and a willingness to take risks? These are important questions for entrepreneurs given their ubiquitous time constraints, but it is also a fundamental issue for educators training future entrepreneurs. This session explores how we can identify the base-line knowledge a successful entrepreneur requires and the optimal mechanism for obtaining it.


Bernard Bell

Executive Director, Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship, UNC College of Arts and Sciences

Sangeeta Bharadwaj-Badal

Principal Scientist, Entrepreneurship, Gallup Builder Initiative

Starr Marcello

Executive Director; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, University of Chicago Polsky Center

Phil Weilerstein

President, VentureWell

Bilal Zia

Senior Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

Workshop Session XII: Grant Recipient Workshop

This workshop provides an opportunity for an update and feedback on research sponsored by the 2018 Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Conference small grants program.


David Robinson

Professor of Finance and J. Rex Fuqua Professor of International Management, Duke Fuqua School of Business

Lin William Cong

Assistant Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Andrea Contigiani

PhD Candidate in Management, The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania

Sabrina T. Howell

Assistant Professor of Finance, New York University Stern School of Business
12:45 PM-2:15 PM

Luncheon Keynote and Closing Remarks


Teresa Amabile

Ford Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Chris Bingham

Philip Hettleman Distinguished Scholar, Professor and Area Chair of Strategy & Entrepreneurship, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School; Co-Director of Kenan Entrepreneurship Initiative

Greg Brown

Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Scholar of Finance, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School; Executive Director, Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise


Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

We Put Knowledge to Work

Fundamental to our belief in a free society is an economic system described as “free enterprise” which is dependent upon individual initiative. This encompasses social and ethical standards derived from this system and embodied in a democratic society.

The Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise fosters mutual understanding and appreciation between members of the private enterprise sector, the academic community, and their government, and to encourage cooperative efforts among these groups.

The Kenan Institute serves these communities as a national center for scholarly research, joint exploration of issues, and course development all associated with the principal theme of preservation, encouragement, and understanding of private enterprise.


A Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise Event