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For Immediate Release


New Online Education Pathways for Entrepreneurs

Catawba Valley Community College understands the educational needs of would-be entrepreneurs who have jobs, families and busy lives.

To accommodate those unpredictable schedules while encouraging job creation in the Catawba Valley, CVCC has added an online Entrepreneurship Associate Degree. An online certificate and diploma option are also available.

“Most of our students hold down some form of employment while they start their business enterprise,” said Gary Muller, Head of Business Programs at CVCC. “The college understands the time constraints of today’s students.” Which is exactly why the college developed the online entrepreneurship educational option.

“It falls directly in line with trying to get my business started,” said student Terry Carr, a husband and father who works in retail while operating a family farm. His goal is to expand their fourth-generation farm and sell grass-fed beef directly to consumers.

Carr got business basics under his belt when he completed a Business Administration Associate Degree at CVCC in 2013. Last fall, he started coursework toward the Entrepreneurship Associate Degree so he can take his business to the next level.
“I learned so much in the business administration degree, but the entrepreneurship courses really take it off the books and into reality,” said Carr. “We’re learning how to think about the dynamics of business in the real world.”

Carr also holds the honor of winning CVCC’s 2014 Shark Tank Competition for his family farm expansion idea. The judges’ responses to and questions about his proposal were so positive, it confirmed his business plan was on the right road.

“Winning the competition was actually better than the prize,” said Carr, who received $400 for his winning business proposal. “The insight I got from the judges—who are all local business people—as they opened up and shared their experience was invaluable. I don’t know if I can put a price on it.”

He’s planning to compete in the Catawba County Chamber’s Edison Project, which awards $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second place and $3,000 for third place.

Carr appreciates the investment CVCC makes in him, his classmates and fellow Shark Tank competitors.

“Gary is the most supportive person I’ve ever worked with,” said Carr. “The guidance he and all the faculty and staff have given is incredible. They help us connect with business leaders, the Chamber of Commerce, CVCC’s Manufacturing Solutions Center and other resources to help us expand our network exponentially.”

Muller echoes Carr’s enthusiasm for the flexible options CVCC provides.

“Many people are hesitant to commit to a degree because of all the demands on their time,” explained Muller, “especially those who are launching a business. Once they experience the satisfaction of completing a few courses, they see how credits eventually accumulate and before they realize it, they have completed a certificate or a diploma,” Muller added. An investment of only four courses earns a college certificate, and 12 courses earn a diploma. “It’s rewarding for them and those of us who teach and nurture them.”

Entrepreneurs often interface first with CVCC through its Small Business Center.

“Jeff Neuville, our Small Business Center Director, is a key person in assisting student entrepreneurs as well as individuals in our community,” Muller explained. “Jeff works countless hours helping potential business owners determine the best path for them to take in their journey. Our Small Business Center and business curriculum department team help identify the first steps to be taken by budding entrepreneurs. The close partnership between our Small Business Center and business department sets us apart from other community colleges.”

The Small Business Center assistance ranges from general start-up counseling to a series of seminars that focus on different aspects of starting or growing a business. Muller, his fellow faculty members and the Small Business Center staff work diligently to cross-refer individuals who can utilize both services.

For more information on how to access CVCC’s business start-up services and degree options, contact Gary Muller, 828-327-7000 ext. 4672, or


2550 US HIGHWAY 70 SE • HICKORY, NC • 28602-8302 • 828.327.7000
Updated 10.30.2008: Administrator