The mission of the SOVA Innovation Hub and RISE Collaborative is to drive innovation and economic development in Southern Virginia. We’re excited to announce a new partnership with the Career Tech Academy (CTA) at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) that will introduce a work-based learning track focused on entrepreneurship. This initiative aims to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders right here in our community.

A New Avenue for Aspiring Business Leaders

The collaboration with SVHEC CTA will provide students with the tools and experiences they need to understand the particulars of starting and running a business. Through this entrepreneurial track, students will receive comprehensive instruction on business fundamentals and will be paired with local small business owners for hands-on learning experiences. This unique blend of classroom and real-world education is designed to foster an entrepreneurial mindset characterized by adaptation, flexibility, and resiliency.

Rosa Dunn and BriAna Jeffress

The Benefits of the Entrepreneurial Track

Students enrolled in this new track will:

 Learn Business Foundations
Acquire essential knowledge in business planning, marketing, finance, and operations.

Engage with Local Entrepreneurs
Participate in a mentorship program with seasoned small business owners who provide practical insights and guidance.

Develop Key Skills
Cultivate important skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, and citizenship.

CTA’s Comprehensive Training Programs

The Career Tech Academy is a year-long, hands-on training program for high school juniors and seniors from Charlotte, Halifax, and Mecklenburg Counties. CTA offers specialized training in high-demand fields such as Automation & Robotics, Energy Systems Technology, Information Technology (IT), HVAC, and Welding (currently welding and HVAC are only available to Halifax County students). After year one, students can come back for Work-Based Learning where they expand on the skill set they learned during year one. This year though entrepreneurship is being offered as a  new track within Work-Based Learning beginning Fall 2024.

A Flexible One or  Two-Year Program

Students begin in the 11th grade with foundational training in their chosen field during their junior year and have the option to return as high school seniors for advanced training or to explore a new field. This flexibility ensures that students can pursue their evolving interests and career goals.

For the first year of the Entrepreneurship track, 12th grade students are eligible to enroll in the program for one academic year, which will begin Fall 2024 and continue through Spring 2025.

Academic and Professional Advancement

By participating in CTA, students can earn:

– High school and community college credits

– A Career Studies Certificate from Danville or Southside Virginia Community Colleges

– Industry-recognized certifications

The CTA curriculum aligns with the Virginia Department of Education’s Profile of a Virginia Graduate, focusing on the development of the 5 C’s: Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Citizenship.

Work-Based Learning (WBL) is a year two CTA program only available to high school seniors.. Through this program students get placed in internships directly related to another CTE program that they have taken either through CTA or through their local high school. This year we are expanding WBL to also include a track focused on entrepreneurship. This track will expose students to all factors of creating a business as well as earn them hands-on experience by working with local businesses/entrepreneurs in our community.

Meet The Team

Rosa Dunn

Rosa Dunn
Career Tech Academy Director
Southern Virginia Higher Education Center

BriAna Jeffress

BriAna Jeffress
Career Tech Academy Work-Based Learning Program Coordinator
Southern Virginia Higher Education Center


Coming Soon
Career Tech Academy Entrepreneurship Education Coordinator
Southern Virginia Higher Education Center


The Career Tech Academy team includes Rosa Dunn, CTA Director and BriAna Jeffress, Work-Based Learning Program Coordinator, and a newly created position, the Entrepreneurship Education Coordinator, to be announced soon. 

Students & Parents: For questions, please contact CTA Director:

Businesses: Are you interested in being a Mentor or Business Partner for the Career Tech Academy students? Compete the interest form

Building a Stronger Future Together

By equipping students with entrepreneurial skills and real-world experiences, we are helping to build a strong and adaptable workforce that will benefit our entire community.

“We at the SOVA Innovation Hub are committed to supporting innovative educational programs that prepare students for success by contributing to the talent needs of local businesses today, and gaining skills they can apply  in the

dynamic job market of the future. Learning the entrepreneurship mindset and innovation skills will help students practice teamwork, communication, and problem solving. Our partnership with the Career Tech Academy reflects our dedication to fostering local talent and driving economic growth in Southern Virginia,” said Mallory Lawter, Community Manager at the SOVA Innovation Hub

The SOVA Innovation Hub and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center are two organizations leading innovation in student career and technical education, through their support of student entrepreneurship.

“We invite students, parents, and community members to explore the opportunities available through the Career Tech Academy’s entrepreneurial track. Together, we can empower the next generation of entrepreneurs and contribute to a vibrant, innovative Southern Virginia,” said Rosa Dunn, Director of the Career Tech Academy at SVHEC.

For more information about the Career Tech Academy’s entrepreneurial track please visit contact Rosa Dunn.

 Let’s work together to explore opportunities and empower the future of our community.

Southern Virginia Higher Education Center

About Southern Virginia Higher Education Center

The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) is a dynamic educational hub dedicated to transforming lives and communities through accessible, innovative learning opportunities. Located in South Boston, Virginia, SVHEC offers a range of programs and partnerships with leading colleges and universities to provide high-quality education and workforce training. With a focus on hands-on learning and industry-relevant skills, SVHEC equips students with the tools they need to succeed in today’s competitive job market. From advanced technology and healthcare to business and skilled trades, SVHEC is committed to empowering individuals and driving economic development in Southern Virginia. Explore more at

SOVA Innovation Hub

About SOVA Innovation Hub

The SOVA Innovation is a non-profit organization created to spark economic transformation in Southern Virginia. We bring together business and education partners to offer innovation programs that inspire people to pursue digital careers and entrepreneurship.

Our state-of-the-art building in South Boston, VA includes a coworking space, a training space, and the Microsoft Experience Center. To learn more visit

RISE Collaborative

 About RISE Collaborative

RISE Collaborative is a regional initiative to create a network of entrepreneurs and business service providers across Southern Virginia (GO Virginia Region 3). The initiative is co-managed by two primary entities: Longwood Office of Community & Economic Development (Farmville, Va.), which includes the Longwood Small Business Development Center (serving the region) and SOVA Innovation Hub (South Boston, Va.). RISE Collaborative provides guidance to entrepreneurs and business owners through a number of ongoing programs every year, including a virtual business bootcamp, the RISE Navigator program, the regional Business Pitch Competition, and more. For more information, visit

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