Center for Creative Entrepreneurship Launched by UNC Asheville and The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design


UNC Asheville and The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD) have partnered to launch the Center for Creative Entrepreneurship. The new center will create an all-in-one ecosystem to coalesce business resources and training programs to support student and community innovations and craft products. This initiative is supported by the Windgate Charitable Foundation, with an initial grant of $716,500.

Photo of the facility, courtesy of The Center for Craft, Creativity & DesignThe three-year investment includes funding for pilot programming, operational support, and facility improvements toward the renovation of The Hive AVL, a shared regional resource center for academic institutions and the location of the Center for Creative Entrepreneurship. The project constitutes the second phase of CCCD’s redevelopment project at 67 Broadway in Asheville known as The Hive AVL.

“The Center for Creative Entrepreneurship will be the Asheville area’s hub for product incubation, design thinking and creative sector entrepreneurship,” said CCCD Director Stephanie Moore. “It’s the first product incubator program for makers in the area and will serve as a cornerstone for makers in the region, particularly the students and early-stage makers who will benefit from professional connections, entrepreneurial resources, and the opportunity to work side-by-side with faculty and visiting artists.” 

UNC Asheville and the CCCD will each contribute to the unique programming in the new Center for Creative Entrepreneurship to develop maker-based businesses. By co-locating craft-related academic programming and entrepreneurial courses offered by academic partners and technical service providers, area students and faculty from universities will be able to take advantage of a collective knowledge base. UNC Asheville joins Warren Wilson College, founding academic partner, in the list of academic institutions paving the way for innovative programming that supports the business and entrepreneurial needs of the creative sector. The new center and its programming will be a part of The Hive AVL and supported by additional project partner Mountain BizWorks. A second-floor gallery also will feature student exhibitions.

“UNC Asheville is a leader in creativity and collaboration. Faculty connect our students to hands-on experiences and provide the expertise in innovation and interdisciplinary learning to advance the creative economy. The Center for Creative Entrepreneurship will take this work to the next level. We are bringing our entrepreneurs from the classroom to the community and making sure these students have the resources to succeed,” said UNC Asheville Chancellor Mary K. Grant. 

Photo of "Made in WNC," featuring work by UNC Asheville alumna Anna Toth, by Jennifer Cole Rodriguez, courtesy of The Center for Craft, Creativity & DesignThe Center for Creative Entrepreneurship announcement is part of the Jan. 8 closing event for the exhibition “Made in WNC,” at the CCCD, which includes remarks by State Senator Terry Van Duyn and Asheville Vice-Mayor Gwen Wisler, alongside The Support Center, a statewide nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution. The exhibit examines the legacy of craft-based industry (textiles, pottery, and furniture) in Western North Carolina and its influence on artists and designer-makers working in the region – the kind of work that will be advanced and fostered by the Center for Creative Entrepreneurship. 

“The Center for Creative Entrepreneurship will help introduce and support a new generation of makers,” said Brent Skidmore, assistant professor art and art history at UNC Asheville. “This intersection between UNC Asheville and the Center for Creative Entrepreneurship is where our students will have pre-professional experiences, bringing forth designs from our makerspaces and connecting to real-world professionals while getting the support that every budding maker wants. The CCE will become the nexus for unique endeavors in craft and design by offering programming that supports this new generation."


Founded in 1996, The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design is a national 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the field of craft through fostering new ideas, funding craft scholarship, and backing the next generation of makers, curators and critics. CCCD has developed a strong national reputation as a significant resource for artists, museums, academic researchers, university students and arts organizations. Each year, CCCD administers over a quarter million dollars in grants to those working in the craft field.


UNC Asheville is the designated liberal arts institution for the UNC system. Enrolling 3,900 students and offering more than 30 undergraduate majors and a Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences degree, UNC Asheville encourages students to take part in a nationally acclaimed undergraduate research program and participate in interdisciplinary learning. From internships and hands-on projects, to study abroad and community engagement, students experience an education that extends beyond campus into the vibrant City of Asheville, the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and the world.

logos of UNC Asheville; Center for Craft, Creativity & Design; The Hive