LRU News

Lenoir-Rhyne University Center for Commercial and Social Entrepreneurship Receives $7,500 from the Unifour Foundation

Tue Jun 3 2014

HICKORY, N.C. – Lenoir Rhyne University has been notified by John Francis, Northwest Regional Associate for the North Carolina Community Foundation, of a grant award for $ 7,500 from the Unifour Foundation, to support program costs for the newly created Center for Commercial and Social Entrepreneurship.

The Unifour Foundation was created when the Hickory Merchants Association sold its local credit reporting company to a national company, enabling the establishment of the Unifour Foundation in 1999, which is one of 51 endowments that make up the Catawba Valley Community Foundation- all a part of the North Carolina Community Foundation. The Unifour Foundation promotes the general welfare among citizens in the four counties that comprise the Unifour area: Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba.

Excitement runs high as the Center for Commercial and Social Entrepreneurship begins two new degree programs this fall under the direction of Dr. Ralph Griffith, who began his work on campus in January. A key component of the Center is an incubation lab where rising entrepreneur students work directly with Dr. Griffith to develop ideas into start-up businesses that can make immediate impact on the region’s economy and work force. During this spring semester, Dr. Griffith provided direction and oversight to six students in the lab. Area residents who aspire to be business entrepreneurs may also visit the Center for advice and use of various resources to support their research and understanding.

Lenoir-Rhyne University has created the Center for Commercial and Social Entrepreneurship in response to the need to generate new businesses in the region.  A unique component of the program includes the training of social entrepreneurs who will assume leadership in various non-profits designed to meet all types of community needs. This program component is especially supportive of the University’s mission of creating responsible leadership for civic and community needs.

Initial costs for equipment, furniture, and supplies for the Center are estimated to be around $50,000. The Unifour Foundation award of $7,500 will be used specifically to purchase essential presentation equipment consisting of a monitor, screen, and projector.

Vice President for Advancement, Dr. Drew Van Horn extended praise and appreciation to the Unifour Foundation, stating “We are truly grateful to the Unifour Foundation for their willingness to partner with us in this new program.”

University Provost, Dr. Larry Hall, who envisioned much of the program, sees tremendous benefits in the future. “Growing new business majors, increasing student ethos for service leadership, increased partnerships with area business and non-profits, and on-site support for rising community entrepreneurs are just some of the benefits of this new program,” stated Dr. Hall.

A formal presentation of Unifour grants will be made on June 10, 2014 in the Keiser Community Room in the West Wing building of the SALT Block in Hickory (243 Third Avenue NE Hickory NC, 28601). Representatives receiving the grant for Lenoir-Rhyne University will include: Dr. Ralph Griffith, Assistant Professor for Entrepreneurship, Director for Center for Commercial and Social Entrepreneurship; Meg Spivey, Associate Director of Development, Institutional Advancement; Andy Anderson, Major Gifts Officer, and Dr. Barry Redmond, Coordinator for Corporate and Foundation Relations.

Lenoir-Rhyne University continues to be a “University Rising” and is very grateful to the Unifour Foundation for recognizing the tremendous community benefits that will result from the Center for Commercial and Social Entrepreneurship.

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