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For more information please feel free to contact our director, Joseph Lakatos, at jplakatos@wcu.edu or 828.227.3995. 

 Centers, Institutes, & Affiliates

Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Zahed Subhan


 The College of Business' most exciting center, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, is steered by a team of entrepreneurs who have extensive experience in facing the challenges of growing an entrepreneurial venture in the face of increasing competition.

Through several academic programs (BSBA, BSE, ME), the Center offers practical hands-on education in entrepreneurship and service-learning activities within the community and the region. We provide students with the skills necessary to think creatively, to successfully launch their own businesses, and/or to support the launch and growth of an entrepreneurial venture within an organization. 

Our faculty members are united around a pedagogy that embraces active learning, mastery, and engagement. 



Our curriculum is founded on eight core competencies:

    1. Creativity and Innovation
    2. New Product Development and Innovative Management
    3. Business Design and Operations
    4. Market Planning & Strategy
    5. Capital Funding & Asset Utilization
    6. Execution & Growth
    7. Entrepreneurial Leadership
    8. Social Entrepreneurship & Ethics

With our innovative approach to experiential learning, the Center thrusts Western Carolina University into the forefront of education in entrepreneurship, thereby stirring regional economic development.

For more information about our undergraduate and graduate programs, please feel free to contact the Director of our Center, Joseph Lakatos, at jplakatos@wcu.edu. Hope your day is going well. If not, be innovative and turn it around. Life's too short, so make the most of it. Contact us today!


Meet our Director: Joseph P. Lakatos


Joseph P. Lakatos


An award-winning educator with extensive business, accounting and legal counsel experience, Joseph P. Lakatos has joined the Western Carolina University faculty as the Wesley R. Elingburg Distinguished Professor of Business Innovation and director of WCU's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Dr. Lakatos has 20 years of industry experience as an attorney, CPA and CFE, and has been active in business development in North Carolina over the past decade. His research covers the areas of accounting, corporate governance, business ethics, entrepreneurship and securities regulation.  He received the North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence in 2011, the Last Lecture Series Award for Inspirational Teaching in 2010, and the International Business Academy Research Award in 2009.

"WCU students will benefit not only from the wealth of experience he brings to WCU as an accountant, lawyer, risk manager and merger and acquisitions expert, but also from his experience and enthusiasm as an award-winning teacher in the University of North Carolina system," said Bob Carton, associate professor and head of the Department of Entrepreneurship, Sales and Marketing, and Hospitality and Tourism.

Before discovering his love of teaching at the higher education level, the Queens, N.Y., native worked as a director of risk management and counsel for Fidelity Investments and as an attorney and auditor at New York firms.

Dr. Lakatos holds a master of laws degree in banking and financial law from the Boston University School of Law, a Master's Degree in Business Administration and a Juris Doctor from the St. John's University Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor's Degree of Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame.

He has co-authored scholarly articles on topics ranging from ethical leadership in the biotechnology industry to a piece currently in development about uncovering insider accounting fraud. In addition to his scholarly publications, Lakatos and his son, Dillon, released a children's book in 2010 titled "Angel and Diesel: A Change in Family Plans." Proceeds from the book's sale support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Lakatos serves as a spokesman for the American Cancer Society and as an ambassador for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Darrell F. Parker, dean of the WCU College of Business, said Lakatos fills an important leadership position for WCU's entrepreneurship program as the Elingburg Distinguished Professor.

"We are excited to have Joe on faculty," said Parker. "He has already had initial meetings with the college advisory board, and we expect the visibility of this program to continue to increase."

Lakatos said he was inspired to join the WCU community after witnessing the "Pride of the Catamounts" spirit on campus and within the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

"I look forward to collaborating with departments and programs across campus to help students of all disciplines pursue their life's passions in entrepreneurial and innovative ways," said Lakatos. "The CEI, alongside the Small Business and Technology Development Center, will be reaching out to the community to stir more economic development through student engagement in businesses and community organizations. It is from these successes that the 'Catamount Pride' will be spread further across the nation and provide the entrepreneurship program with more opportunities to help students go on to live successful careers and lives."

Lakatos expressed gratitude to retired Greensboro businessman Wesley R. Elingburg, a 1978 graduate of WCU, for not only contributing a gift to enable creation of the endowed professorship with matching state funds, but also supporting the entrepreneurship program.


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