Center for the Study of Free Enterprise

Dedicated to providing economics research and education to the students, faculty, and community of Western Carolina University.

Who We Are

Launched in 2017 as a part of Western Carolina University, the Center for Study of Free Enterprise (CSFE) supports our mission  through scholarly inquiry and community engagement. We focus particularly on the areas of economic development, applied research, and free enterprise. We provide research support, student scholarship, teacher training and much more in an effort to promote interdisciplinary discussion and collaboration among faculty, students, and community members.

What We Do

We work to enrich lives in our region by supporting scholars, offering free educational activities for our community, and providing easy-to-access information on public policy and the role of free enterprise in a flourishing society. Explore our current projects, read more about specific issues affecting our region, and find out how to submit your own idea for funding.

For Students

CSFE offers scholarships, fellowships, post-baccalaureate opportunities, and educational lectures for students

Scholarships and Fellowships >>

About Us >>

For Faculty

Access information, tools, and classroom materials / lesson plans designed for educational professionals of all levels.

Educational Resources >>

Submit an Idea for Funding >> 

For the Community

CSFE offers grants to individuals hoping to advance economic understanding through peer-reviewed research and public promotion.

Current Work and Publications >> 

Upcoming Events >>

Register Now

We are excited to welcome Phil Drake, software pioneer, angel investor, community leader, and founder of Drake Enterprises. This special one-night event includes a discussion of his experiences in entrepreneurship, investing, and his thoughts on the system of economic freedom that enabled his, and countless other success stories in America. available.

For more information, and to register, click the link below, or visit

The Director’s Blog

Thoughts from our Founding Director, Dr. Edward Lopez, and other invited contributors. 

Catching up with Austin Brown

Catching up with Austin Brown

We’ll occasionally use this blog to catch up with folks who have worked on past Center-supported projects. In this post, we catch up with Austin Brown. Austin graduated from WCU in 2016 with a degree in Special Studies, an option that lets WCU students set their own...

Top 5 Reasons to Attend the Fireside Chat with Ken Langone

Top 5 Reasons to Attend the Fireside Chat with Ken Langone

Business icon, philanthropist, and Cashiers resident Ken Langone is coming to WCU for a fireside chat on Monday October 22 from 5:00-6:15 p.m. Here are five reasons to check it out. 1. A great story. Ken grew up poor in Long Island and rose to business success with a...

Ken Langone: Up Close and Personal

On Monday October 22, CSFE is hosting business icon and philanthropist Ken Langone as he visits WCU for the first time. Ken and I will do a fireside chat to discuss stories and ideas from his new memoir, I Love Capitalism: An American Story. I hope that people who...

Podcast S2, E2: Dr. Craig Richardson

Dr. Edward Lopez continues this seasons’ discussion with and interview of Dr. Craig Richardson, as they discuss poverty, economic mobility, and Richardson’s latest film: Bus Stop Jobs.

Dr. Craig Richardson: Bus Stop Jobs

On November 12, 2018, The Center for the Study of Free Enterprise is presented our third installment of the 2018-19 Free Enterprise Speaker Series, Bus Stop Jobs: A Film-screening and Discussion about Poverty and Economic Mobility in North Carolina. The public event featured Dr. Craig Richardson, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for the Study of Economic Mobility at Winston-Salem State University.

Watch our livestream of the event below.



Dr. Loren Lomasky—Your Vote: Is Democracy in Decline?

On October 25, 2018, the Center for the Study of Free Enterprise presented our second installment of the 2018-19 Free Enterprise Speaker Series, Your Vote: Democracy in Decline. Presented by Professor Loren Lomasky, who considers himself a Churchillian democrat, this event explored the undersides of voting and troubling developments in democratic societies around the globe, from Turkey to Poland, Hungary to the Philippines, and here at home too.

Watch the Live Stream Below!


Upcoming Events