Catawba College Plants a ‘CEED’

Published 8:21 am Thursday, April 7, 2016

A new entrepreneurship program and Center for Entrepreneurship and Experiential Development, or CEED, is now a part of the Ralph W. Ketner School of Business at Catawba College. An open house at the new CEED headquarters on campus, located in the former Whitener Room of the Cannon Student Center, is planned between noon and 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13. Members of the campus community and the general public are invited to attend.

During CEED’s open house, a short formal program is planned for 2:30 p.m. to include brief remarks by Catawba President Brien Lewis, CEED Director Dr. Renee Just, and Ketner School of Business Dean Jay Abraham.

Catawba announced the launch of CEED at the CEO Lecture Series at Catawba College on March 29, but set a formal unveiling of the program’s space for April 13.

CEED will have many elements.  At its foundation are its educational components, driven first and foremost by the introduction of both a Concentration within the bachelor of science business administration program, along with a minor available to all Catawba students. Four core courses and five elective courses on entrepreneurship will make up the initial curriculum that will be offered beginning in the 2016–2017 academic year.   

In addition to these new degree options, CEED will also hold entrepreneurship workshops that will be open to the entire Catawba community and feature topics from business planning to funding to making the pitch.

Dr. Renee Just, who has been appointed as CEED’s first director, believes this educational component will serve as the bedrock of CEED. “The educational elements of CEED touches everyone, whether they will ultimately launch a successful new business or not.  The skills associated with entrepreneurship are extremely important for students entering today’s business environment.”

In addition to the educational aspects, CEED will be building out both a business incubator (CEED Venture Program) and a business accelerator (CEED Catapult).  Students, faculty and other members of the Catawba community who have business ideas will be able to apply for acceptance into these programs and get important help in developing and launching them.

CEED is also developing a strong mentor network, made up of successful entrepreneurs and business people from the local community and the alumni community.  Mentors will be matched with startups and provide guidance to the entrepreneurs.

According to Abraham, “Entrepreneurship is a critical growth driver of the global economy as well as a topic of great interest to our current and incoming students.  Improving critical thinking skills, working in ambiguous environments, and increasing experiential learning opportunities are at the heart of our program.

“Everyone who has worked on putting CEED together, from Catawba administration and faculty, to our trustees and alumni, and including the local business community, has been tremendously supportive of this initiative.

“You never know where the next great business idea will come from, so why not here?” Abraham added.  “Even if we don’t find the next Facebook, the learning experience for our students will be incredible and will help them in their future business careers regardless of the size of the organization they join.”

For more information about CEED, contact Dr. Renee Just, CEED director, at 704-637-4291 or .