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Center for Commercial and Social Entrepreneurship

Founded in 2013, the Lenoir-Rhyne University Center for Commercial and Social Entrepreneurship (CCSE) looks to be the premier source for quality entrepreneurship education in higher education. The CCSE is complimented by two majors housed in the Snipes School of Business, Commercial and Social Entrepreneurship respectively. The CCSE provides opportunities for students to partner with professionals, and serves as a resource for organizations in all phases of development. Our experienced team does this by leveraging on-campus, corporate, community, and private relationships. The pillars of our program focus on creating an entrepreneurial culture, practical education, social responsibility, business development, and networking.

The program is rooted in the American ideal of free enterprise. The CCSE surrounds students, faculty, staff, and community members in an ecosystem of cross-disciplinary education, counseling, and funding. We do this with the sole intent of building companies and creating local and regional economic growth. Our incubator, housed on the Hickory campus, will raise as many as six companies annually. Companies will include for-profit, as well as, non-profit social enterprises.

CCSE Advisory Board

Ralph Griffith is a professor at Lenoir-Rhyne, and is the Director of the Center for Commercial and Social Entrepreneurship. Ralph presents and researches entrepreneurship pedagogy and works to blend experiential work into the classroom setting. Ralph is also a management consultant and has operated the Small Business Solutions Group for over a decade. In addition to consulting, Ralph is a Wordpress developer, operates a number of online business ventures, and develops UX plans for small businesses. Ralph presents and researches entrepreneurship pedagogy and works to blend experiential work into the classroom setting.

Jamie Conrad is a professor at Lenoir-Rhyne with an area of expertise in management/marketing. She enjoys mountain biking in her free time. We are super excited to work with Jamie as she helps our students by coordinating internships that better prepare them for the workforce.

Christopher C. Dremann has over 20 years experience as a patent agent and patent attorney and has written and filed more than 750 United States patent applications involving mechanical, electro-mechanical, bio-mechanical, optical and product design technologies. Christopher has his own law firm at Christopher C. Dremann, P.C. He enjoys playing poker and is a cyclist in his free time. Christopher helps our students with patent needs, and advises them if a patent is necessary.

Sabrina P. Cook, CPA is an accounting expert who works with Lowdermilk Church & Co. LLP. Sabrina’s area of expertise are business taxation, tax planning, accounting for small businesses and non-profits. Sabrina was featured in Forbes “100 Must-Follow Tax Accountants”. Sabrina provides expertise to our students on the financing aspect for their business.

David Baldwin, CPA has over 25 years of accounting experience. David has recently opened his own firm in Hickory. His services include tax, accounting, bookkeeping, payroll, audit, and business planning service. New to our advisory board, he has been a great asset to our University with assisting in our Financial Literacy Series.

Ron Elmore works with the Small Business and Technology Development Center. His area of expertise includes 32 years in the software industry with roles as major account executive, including implementation and on-going customer support, moving from an individual contributor to executive management over North and South America. Ron enjoys the mountains of NC in his free time. Ron provides insight on creating profit for business owners.

John Bray is the CEO of Vanguard Furniture. John provides valuable input in reference to leadership and focus on customer consumption, and inclusion of technology in business. We appreciate John providing his experience and expertise to our incubates.

Jon Carfagno is the Executive Director of the Hickory Museum of Art. Jon has previous experience with working incubators in Michigan, and he is an innovator that has combined professional development and curriculum initiatives. We are excited to work with Jon, and appreciate his input to continue the success of The Center for Commercial and Social Entrepreneurship.

Jeff Neuville works with the CVCC Small Business Center. His area of expertise includes start-ups, and general business. A fun fact about Jeff is that he is friends with the original winner of Survivor, Richard Hatch.

Scott Regenbogen started his newly found company Regenbogen Studios. His area of expertise is product development. We are excited to work with Scott as a small business owner he can help provide insight to our students, along with insight with product development.

Jeff Dowgos works for United Beverages of NC and his area of expertise is in Human Resources Management. We appreciate Jeff, and his work. Jeff also helps organize TEDx Hickory.

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