Entrepreneurs Will Lead Our Comeback!

Dr. Barry O’Brien, Dean UNCP Business School

These are trying times for sure, but they are also exciting times, and the stage is being set for dramatic growth throughout our Sandhills Prosperity region.   I firmly believe entrepreneurs will lead us out of this economic downturn, as they always do.  And the stronger we make our entrepreneurship ecosystem, the faster we will recover and prosper.  That’s why I’m pumped about all the great work being done. 

Land of the Brave!

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is booming too!  Buildout of UNCP’s new $38 million business school is on track for a fall 2021 opening.  Enrollment in the business school is up, with undergraduate now at 1,200 students, and MBA at 1,110 – making  us the fastest growing business school in the state.  Finally, we have just finished a successful semester of in-class instruction.  Not easy, but we got through it by being diligent, wearing masks, socially distancing, and constantly cleaning.

New UNCP Business School, Open Fall 2021

The Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub incubator is full and helping businesses recover from the economic downturn, and across the street, buildout of the $6.5 million AS Thomas Center, our state’s only opportunity zone project, is underway.  The AS Thomas Center is set for a January 2021 opening, and will include Pembroke’s first brewpub, casual dining establishments and apartments.

Along with our booming business education programs, UNCP has expanded its agriculture and health sciences  programs to better serve the region.  As a traditional agricultural area, we are moving to help farmers and food service businesses be more innovative and improve their AgHealth competitiveness.  

Sandhills Prosperity Zone

The 10-county Sandhills Prosperity Zone includes Montgomery, Moore, Hoke, Richmond, Scotland, Robeson, Cumberland, Columbus, Bladen and Sampson counties. 

Feel free to contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions or need help.  Michael “Barry” O’Brien is the Dean of the UNCP Business School, former Dean at Francis Marion, and a graduate of UNCP.