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On February 16, startup teams from all 17 UNC campuses gathered at NC A&T State University for the fourth annual day-long conference and competition focused on innovative approaches to social and environmental challenges. The Social Entrepreneurship Conference is the largest event the UNC General Administration organizes each year and has featured prominent national speakers such as Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank and Tom Szaky of TerraCycle.

The competition challenges students to go into communities to assess community needs, then work in teams to develop new or improved ways of addressing those needs. The judges emphasize field research, written and oral communication, teamwork and creativity as the most important criteria for the competition.

Patrick O’Shea and Anne Steptoe, MD MBA candidates at UNC Chapel Hill, came in first place in the graduate student track of the competition for their startup MedServe. Asley Davidson took first runner up in the undergraduate track for her startup Honey Halo.

Med Serve Winning-1

MedServe is a two-year, community-based, medical education fellowship that pairs “high potential” aspiring physicians with “rock star” primary care providers in under served areas.

Fellows spend 2 years as full-time, active helpers in practices. They spend half their time in clinical roles getting to know the practice and half in community-focused roles, getting to know the local health system.

For more information, view their video.


The undergraduate social venture Honey Halo, which took first runner up in the competition, presented an innovative, spherical design for beehive boxes. Designed by Alsey Davidson (‘16), the spherical shape of the hive containers promises a markedly improved survival rate for bees over the winter, saving bee lives and beekeeper revenues.

To learn more about the conference, contact Kelley Ann Gregory at

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