Grant recipients announced through CVCC’s Everyday Entrepreneur Venture Fund

Four grant recipients have been announced through CVCC’s Everyday Entrepreneur Venture Fund, a program to assist CVCC students and recent grads who want to start a business by providing a grant for a portion of their start up.



Keyley Sigmon, Madelyn Yongue, Justin Herman and Brandy Grigg were all presented with their grant this past week during a small ceremony at the Workforce Solutions Complex on the campus of Catawba Valley Community College.

All four grant winners took part in the CVCC Everyday Entrepreneur Venture Fund (EEVF) program, which was created through the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) to help students and recent graduates build new businesses through community college resources and sustain their success. The program provides training, seed funding and business mentoring.

Funds for the program provided by NACCE were matched through the CVCC Foundation, Inc.

“Justin, Keyley, Madelyn and Brandy have great business plans and will have successful businesses in our community,” Jeff Neuville, Director of CVCC’s Small Business Center. “They each put in a lot of work to refine their plans and understand their target markets. We’re pleased that CVCC’s Everyday Entrepreneur Venture Fund is able to assist them and support small businesses in our area.”

Herman is using his grant to help his small saw mill business — Good Wood Mill — purchase a skid steer, which will help him move uncut logs to his mill.

“I’ve been in carpentry and construction my whole life,” Herman said. “I probably started when I was age 8 and started getting paid when I was 12. I’ve always been around wood. I’ve enjoyed the beauty of it. It just kind of clicked with me. It’s definitely my passion. Receiving this grant been a whirlwind. The program is really good. It forces you to ask the tough questions that you need to be successful in business.”

Yongue is using her grant to complete a small building for her business — Maddie Oh’s Boutique. In the building, she will set up personal appointments, inventory accessories and make displays.

“When I came up with the EEVF program, it was another opportunity to get a start on my own boutique,” Yongue said. “I was able to get more inventory. Starting my own business was one of those dreams that I just never knew would ever happen. I kept coming to school. This (EEVF) program really helped me out a lot because I wasn’t in the financial position to up and start a business.”

Sigmon is using her grant money to purchase a sublimation printer, supplies and materials for administrative expenses toward Keyley Shae Design Co. where she makes handcrafted signs and provides artwork for her clients.

Sigmon really enjoyed the experience she went through when applying for the EEVF.

“I’m not a fan of presenting, but I actually loved getting to talk about my business in front of people that wanted to hear about it. That was fun. Once you receive the money, the possibilities are endless. I was fully able to expand. I got the grant a few weeks ago, and I’ve already seen my business grow in only a few weeks time.”

Grigg, who received her initial grant through EEVF in the fall, is using her additional funding to purchase equipment and pay for marketing materials for her company Brandelle Designs.

“It’s just been an amazing journey from graduating college in 2020 to now doing this business for over a year now,” Grigg said. “It’s surreal, but it’s really happening. It was awesome getting to see the funding committee again and show them how far I’ve come since December and where I plan on going from here.”

Participants in the program worked closely with an internal CVCC team made up of Christy Lefevers, Darcie Tumey and Jeff Neuville to develop business plans and budgets.

Grants were determined by a funding committee, which included Gary Muller (CVCC), John Bray (local businessman, CVCC Foundation), Landon Lane (local entrepreneur), Lindsey Keisler (The Chamber of Catawba County), Sabrina Cook (local business owner), David Williams (local business owner and Hickory City councilman), Luke Walling (local entrepreneur and business owner), Jerry Gaillard (local business person), and Stephanie Kissell (local entrepreneur).  

The funding committee had the opportunity to review each candidate’s business plan and financial plan and participate in an interview session to ask questions about the plans. 

A fall EEVF cycle open to CVCC students and recent graduates opens from September 7 to Sept 22. For more information visit the CVCC EEVF website

For more information on the EEVF program, please visit

From left, Christy Lefevers, Director of Accounting & Business Administration; Madelyn Yongue, owner of Maddie Oh’s Boutique; Keyley Sigmon, owner of Keyley Shae Design Co.; Brandy Grigg, owner of Brandelle Designs; Justin Herman, owner of Good Wood Mill; and Jeff Neuville, Director of CVCC’s Small Business Center.

Note: The photograph accompanying this article was taken in full recognition of COVID-19 safety protocol, and all participants voluntarily removed their masks for only a few seconds for the purpose of having the photograph taken.

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