Dr. Paul Gratton of Montreat College and Jeffrey Kaplan of Venture Asheville are professional colleagues, entrepreneurs, and educators both deeply passionate about upward mobility through entrepreneurship. They met in 2017 and quickly bonded over shared interests. After four years of using the MCI in their respective organizations, they created this site to allow anyone to use the MCI.

Paul Gratton, DBA

Academic Director

Dr. Paul Gratton serves as Business Department Chair and Associate Dean of Montreat College’s School Adult and Graduate Studies Business program and enjoys being a part of startups and turnarounds, and encouraging budding entrepreneurs. With experience in both non-profit and for-profit startups, Dr. Gratton enjoys strategic planning, business modeling, and researching various topics in entrepreneurship.
Dr. Gratton earned his Doctor of Business Administration from George Fox University, his Master of Public Administration from Drake University, and a B.A. in Management Information Systems from Iowa State University.

Prior to coming to Montreat, Dr. Gratton was executive director of Central Oregon Youth Development, Inc., where he supervised and supported after-school site directors, contributed to program and curriculum development, led process development, and managed the budget. Dr. Gratton also founded and was director of operations for software start-up Weiv LLC, where he directed marketing and media for the Weiv 1.0 and Weiv 1.5 product launches and contributed to software development and testing. He was also a field test engineer for John Deere Agricultural Management Solutions, where he managed lab testing of new products and coordinated with farmers across the country to test new product features.

Dr. Gratton earned his Doctor of Business Administration from George Fox University. His dissertation focused on many key business concepts: organizational design, organizational behavior, marketing management, strategic management, systems thinking, learning organizations, healthcare, and non-profit leadership. While in the doctoral program, he published journal articles on topics ranging from healthcare to software development. Dr. Gratton earned his Master of Public Administration from Drake University and a B.A. in Management Information Systems from Iowa State University.


Jeffrey Kaplan, MSE

Ecosystem Director

Jeffrey Kaplan is the Director of Venture Asheville, helping startups create over 250 new jobs, raise over $14M investment dollars, and earn $80M in revenue in the local Asheville area. Additionally, Jeffrey is the local director of VentureSouth’s Angel Investment Group, the Asheville Angels.

Prior to leading Venture Asheville, Jeffrey earned his Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship, taught Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida, and is a published author in experiential entrepreneurship education. Outside of academia, Jeffrey has worked in sales for an Ed-Tech startup, launched and sold pet-tech startup Dogphrendly, was Product Owner and Consultant in digital product development at Anthroware. Recently Jeffrey launched – a matchmaking dating site where you “help someone you love find someone they’ll love.”  In the Asheville community, Jeffrey serves as Vice-Chairman on the Mountain Capital Community Fund, Advisory Board Member to HCA Healthcare’s Mission Fund (a $25M Health Innovation CVC Fund), as Board Member of the Asheville JCC, and advisor to UNCA’s Center of Jewish Studies.