Free entrepreneurship program offered in Asheville

Western Carolina University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is partnering with Serrus Capital Partners of Greenville, South Carolina, to create a program to help educate and inspire local entrepreneurs.

The 11-week program, titled “Successful Entrepreneurship,” will launch on Tuesday, Aug. 25, at WCU’s instructional site at Biltmore Park in Asheville.

Participants must apply to be accepted into the free program, which features highly successful entrepreneurs from the Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina areas. The business owners will share their experiences and advice on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, said Darrell Parker, dean of the College of Business at WCU.

SerrusSmall“We believe this partnership with Serrus is an example of a leading trend in public education whereby public and private organization come together to facilitate regional economic development for the benefit of all the residents,” Parker said.

Serrus, which owns and develops several properties in the greater Asheville area, launched the “Successful Entrepreneurship” program in Greenville in 2013, said Leighton Cubbage, chairman and co-founder of Serrus Capital.

“To date, we have welcomed more than 350 class members,” Cubbage said. “The program has generated a lot of interest in the Upstate area, and we are delighted to work with WCU to generate excitement about entrepreneurship across state lines.”

In addition to Cubbage, speakers for the class will include Phil Drake (Drake Software, and a member of the WCU Board of Trustees), Justin Belleme (JB Media), Tom Finger (SBFI North America), Dale Freudenberger (FLS Energy) and 15 other business owners and successful entrepreneurs from the region.

Classes will be held at WCU’s Biltmore Park location beginning at 6 p.m. on the following Tuesdays: Aug. 25, Sept. 1, Sept. 8, Sept. 15, Sept. 22, Sept. 29, Oct. 6, Oct. 20, Nov. 3, Nov. 10 and Nov. 17. The class will be limited to 75 participants.

All local entrepreneurs or anyone interested in learning more about what it takes to start a business are invited to apply starting Tuesday, July 14, via the application link found at:

Those chosen to participate will be notified via email by Aug 14.

For more information about the upcoming Successful Entrepreneurship program, contact Ed Wright at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation ( or 828-278-8CEI).