Friday, June 7, 2013

Student Spotlight: Entrepreneur Ryan Cocca

Ever dreamed of running your own business someday? At UNC, entrepreneurship and innovative thinking is bred through countless organizations including Carolina Creates, Carolina Challenge and the recently established minor in Entrepreneurship. These avenues allow students to embrace their greatest passions and aspirations and prepare them for the possibility of bootstrapping after college -- or for some while they are still here. Ryan Cocca, a senior at UNC, has certainly established himself as one of those people.

Cocca, a born and bred Chapel Hill-ian, has dreamed of UNC his whole life. While his dreams of being a basketball star may have been a little far-fetched, his vision of owning his own business has taken off into a reality. In 2011, Ryan co-founded Thrill City as “an independent brand and online boutique based in Chapel Hill, NC, producing quality apparel and accessories with the mission of making a positive social impact.” So, what does that mean? Essentially, it’s a streetwear company that uses the influence of clothing and media to raise awareness about different types of art in Chapel Hill.

Thrill City started as a test. Ryan created a UNC basketball T-shirt design and posted it online. Almost instantly, the Twitter-sphere began to blow up over his design and even the basketball team was talking about it. Within a period of two weeks, he’d sold over 150 shirts and Thrill City was officially in business. Since its inception, Ryan has hosted countless events to promote the brand as his designs continue to evolve and has gotten support from celebrities like Asher Roth and former UNC basketball stars like Deon Thompson, John Henson, Danny Green and Ty Lawson. In the near future, his main goals are collaborating with local artists for the T-shirt designs and establishing a clearer, more focused social media and blog presence. He hopes to spread the Thrill City motto of “Don't Sleep” and focus on further establishing its presence and importance in Chapel Hill and the Triangle.

Think you’ve got the spark to create something of your own? Like Ryan, you too can flourish and accomplish your hopes and dreams at Carolina. Check out the immense opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation at UNC below.

Minor in Entrepreneurship -
Carolina Challenge -
Entrepreneurship at Kenan-Flagler - 

To learn more about Thrill City, follow @thrillcitync on Twitter and check out these feature articles:


Ryan is a photojournalism major and an Entrepreneurship minor at UNC.