NC Biotech Venture Challenge

Recently, Larry Kennedy, CEO of Green Solutions Group, spoke at the NC Biotech Venture Challenge at UNC Charlotte. This organization supports industry research, business development, and education initiatives while advocating for strategic policy goals and mentorship in the life-science and innovation space. Larry encouraged the regional finalists and attendees to remember their “Why”, surround themselves with supportive people, and maintain a clear vision amidst challenges. Winners of the challenge compete at the regional semi-finals and state finals for monetary awards. Green Solutions Group, LLC, which received this prestigious award in spring 2022, is making a global impact on surgical training, thanks to the exposure gained from participating in this event.

In the past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with Corie Curtis Cook and Susan Jones from NC Biotech. Today, I had the privilege of attending the excellently organized NC Biotech Venture Challenge. I also invited Olena Burykina, a Ukrainian entrepreneur who recently joined my Advisory Board as a Service Program at Advisory5.

Only non-Triangle startups participated, resulting in two main contenders: Margaret Kocherga from Margik and Julian Walker from


1. won first place and $25,000.

2. Margik took second place with $10,000.

The event featured excellent food and engaging conversation. I reconnected with old friends, met new people, and took a few pictures.

Larry Kennedy, the keynote speaker from Green Solutions Group, and a past challenge winner, shared a few great insights for entrepreneurs:

  • Starting a business is very difficult and staying in business is even harder.

  • It’s important to fall back on your “why” or motivation when facing challenges with your business.

  • Personal experience shows that while winning grants is helpful, the real value comes from exposure and connections with other organizations.

  • Surrounding yourself with talented, smart people is crucial for business success.

  • Deeply understanding customer pain points and journey is important rather than just focusing on your own products.

Excited about the potential of the Charlotte region in this space, especially with the support from people like Cori and Susan.

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