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Ivy Tech Community College – Columbus will soon add a new program that equips business creators.

The Ivy Tech college system is launching a School of Entrepreneurship program at its Columbus campus in fall of 2022, school officials announced.

“We are excited to give this opportunity to all of our students and help them actually start their business while they are in the program,” said Donna Zeh, acting program chair for entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Columbus. “In addition to starting their business, they will be connected to the community, provided mentorship and coaching, and develop lifelong skills that can be transferred to any career.”

Ivy Tech’s entrepreneurship certificate program is already available at campuses in Indianapolis, Bloomington, South Bend and Fort Wayne. In addition to the Columbus launch, the program will also be established at the college’s Lake County and Evansville campuses this fall.

The school of entrepreneurship was launched in 2021 through a partnership with Regional Innovation and Startup Education, an entrepreneurship education organization.

“With RISE, students will build ecosystems, create a business model canvas, work with a mentor, and learn from and network with guest speakers and entrepreneurs. Students will also have the opportunity to pitch to investors for funding for their business. To date, the entrepreneurship program has assisted in the launching of many business ventures across Indiana,” Ivy Tech officials said.

According to the Small Business Administration, about half of all small businesses fail within the first five years. Common factors include insufficient funding, poor planning and mistakes in management.

The college promises to help students learn how to avoid these pitfalls and minimize risks. Furthermore, Ivy Tech provides pre-seed funding for prototyping and startup.

“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 Ronda Taylor, statewide Dean of the Garatoni School of Entrepreneurship and 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.”

Entrepreneurship students can work toward a certificate program, a technical certificate, or an associate of applied science degree. They can also choose to add the program to another degree to earn multiple credentials at the same time.

There are 75 students from the initial four cohorts that launched in 2021, and at least 120 are expected to enroll this coming fall in the new set of cohorts. Cohorts are limited to 20 students on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Ivy Tech is in an exciting period of transformation,” said Ivy Tech Columbus Chancellor Steven Combs. “This program is one more exciting initiative that will enhance the student experience and provide them with opportunities to integrate entrepreneurial skills as part of their career training.”

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