Community and Economic Engagement

As a regionally engaged university, WCU embraces its role as both a steward of the unique place that is Western North Carolina and as a catalyst for economic and community development. Partnerships with regional businesses and industries, nonprofit and civic organizations, government agencies, communities, and municipalities represent an integral part of WCU’s core mission.


Contact Arthur Salido, Executive Director of Community and Economic Engagement and Innovation at salido@wcu.edu or 828.227.2587

Economic Development in WNC

The Rapid Center


 Students and Faculty working in the Rapid Center

The Rapid Center (formerly the Center for Rapid Product Realization) help clients refine existing products, develop new ones and improve business practices. Industry-experienced faculty and staff work with business partners to address their specific needs and to remove obstacles to product commercialization and process improvement.

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Corporation for Entrepreneurship and Innovation


 Students and Faculty of WCU partnering with local businesses.

WCU’s Corporation for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) helps entrepreneurs create and sustain vibrant businesses that generate jobs, grow our region's economy and create opportunities that retain high potential entrepreneurs, talent and intellect in our region.

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Small Business and Technology Development Center


Small business owners receiving help from the small business and technology center advocates

The SBTDC is the business and technology extension service of the University of North Carolina system. It operates 10 regional service centers offering six specialty programs for small businesses, including a center in Asheville operated by WCU.

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Center for the Study of Free Enterprise


Small business owners attending a workshop

The Center for the Study of Free Enterprise (CSFE) seeks to provide economics research and thought leadership focused on issues in economic development in our region, North Carolina and beyond.

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Local Government Training Program


Local Government Training Program

Since its inception in 1984, the Local Government Training Program (LGTP) has addressed the training needs of public officials and personnel in the 26 westernmost counties of North Carolina. The LGTP brings courses from the UNC School of Government in Chapel Hill to the western part of the state.

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North Carolina Data Dashboard


Western North Carolina

In partnership with the Center for the Study of Free Enterprise and the Gimelstob-Landry Professorship within the College of Business, we've built a source for prospective businesses and professionals to explore local, regional and state-wide economic data

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Public-Private Partnerships

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