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UNC Kenan-Flagler student receives startup fellowship

The UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital (EVC) Club and CommonBond, a financial technology company that helps students and graduates pay for higher education, selected Chi Nwogu (MBA ’18) to receive the inaugural CommonBond Startup Fellowship.

The fellowship represents a new partnership between CommonBond and the Business School’s EVC Club, which share a vision of helping students pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations.

Nwogu was selected to receive the $5,000 award for his creative business model, his passion for making an impact and his unique experiences that provide traction for his business ideas. His prior experience as a founding member of three sports-related startups uniquely position him to make his dream a reality.

Nwogu is setting out to build a suite of basketball “smart games” that teach children STEM skills, such as quantum computing, machine learning, augmented reality and virtual reality, to help them succeed beyond sports.

Nwogu was selected from a talented and entrepreneurially driven pool of UNC Kenan-Flagler applicants for the CommonBond Startup Fellowship.

“Entrepreneurially minded MBA students are faced with a tough decision each summer: pursue their entrepreneurial dreams for little to no pay or take a lucrative corporate internship,” said David Klein, CEO and co-founder of CommonBond, which is based in New York and has a history of supporting the development of for-profit businesses that drive social change.

“I faced a very similar decision between my first and second years of business school and was very fortunate to have won a $2,500 entrepreneurship scholarship that summer to continue pursuing CommonBond,” said Klein. “Chi’s efforts to teach STEM skills through sports align with our belief that businesses can – and should – be a positive force for change. We were extremely impressed by the quality of UNC Kenan-Flagler applicants this year, and the future looks bright for entrepreneurs who want to effect social change.”

Nwogu was in New York working with the digital startup Ballstar when he received the news that he had been selected.

“I was in the subway when I learned that I had received the CommonBond Startup Fellowship, and felt tears well up in my eyes,” said Nwogu. “I am grateful that my diligence and vision have been recognized, and I am humbled knowing that there are others who are just as deserving of this fellowship.”