Ivy Tech’s School of Entrepreneurship helps small business owners thrive

Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne was one of four campuses that launched a new School of Entrepreneurship in fall 2021, which is already making a difference for Indiana entrepreneurs. The School was launched in partnership with Regional Innovation and Startup Education (R.I.S.E.) to provide an Entrepreneur Certificate in as little as two semesters.

“Even before the pandemic, small businesses were struggling to find success, often because owners had a passion and a skill for developing a great product or service, but they lacked the tools needed to effectively run the business,” said Dr. Ronda Taylor, Dean of the Garatoni School of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Ivy Tech. “Our program is set up to provide practical skills they can put into action immediately around topics such as marketing, financials, human resources and legal considerations.”

According to the Small Business Administration, within the first five years, about half of all small businesses fail. Common reasons include inadequate funding, poor planning and management missteps.

The certificate program is available at campuses in Indianapolis, Bloomington, South Bend and Fort Wayne, with plans to extend the offering in fall 2022 to Columbus, Lake County and Evansville. Currently, 75 students are part of the first four cohorts that began in fall 2021, and at least 120 are expected to enroll this spring in a new set of cohorts.

Associate Professor Tony Ramey

“We are really excited to be one of Ivy Tech’s pilot campuses for the new Garatoni School of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, which is set up to give our students real-world, practical tools to launch and grow their businesses,” said Tony Ramey, associate professor at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne. “There are 22 entrepreneurs between our first two cohorts, many of whom have already been able to establish their company before completing the coursework.” 

The program provides courses and resources for coaching and mentorship as students work toward a certificate program (16 credit hours), a technical certificate (31 credit hours) or an associate of applied science degree (60 credit hours).

The Fort Wayne campus goes a step further and, upon completion of the Entrepreneurship Certificate from Ivy Tech Fort Wayne or Warsaw, students are eligible to participate in the New Venture pitch competition, where one winner will be awarded $40,000 to launch or grow their business. New Venture has been launching student/alumni businesses for more than a decade with the support of primary donors Dave and Merk Bear and J.B. Tool and Die Co.

In Indiana, there are more than half a million small businesses and they employ more than 1.2 million people.

To learn more about the program, visit our website. Registration for the next 8-week term beginning March 23 is still open for students.

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