Ivy Tech bringing School of Entrepreneurship to Lake County campus • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine

Ivy Tech bringing School of Entrepreneurship to Lake County campus

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Ivy Tech Community College is bringing its School of Entrepreneurship to Lake County.

The college, which launched the program in fall 2021, said it will introduce the program at its Lake County campus as well as its Columbus and Evansville campuses this fall.

The certificate program was introduced at its campuses in Indianapolis, Bloomington, South Bend and Fort Wayne. There are 75 students in the first four cohorts and at least 120 are expected to enroll this spring in a new set of cohorts, the college said.

“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.”

The school was launched in partnership with Regional Innovation and Startup Education (R.I.S.E.) to provide an Entrepreneur Certificate in about two semesters.  

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

Ivy Tech’s program provides courses and resources for coaching, mentorship, and even an “Ivy Shark Tank” experience where entrepreneurs can pitch investors for funding their business. It also provides an opportunity to launch a new business or grow an existing one while the students are still with us.

Amber Ruszkowski, department chair for the entrepreneurship program at the South Bend / Elkhart campus said the program makes entrepreneurship education accessible and sets students up to successfully launch their businesses.

“The cohorted program is structured in a non-traditional format that does not feel like school,” she said.  

Ruszkowski said students form the foundational pieces of their business as their “homework” in the program.

Students can work toward a certificate program (16 credit hours), a technical certificate (31 credit hours) or an associate of applied science degree (60 credit hours).


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