University of Hawaii’s – Maui Community College’s – Entrepreneurship Program “Creating Entrepreneurship Program Customer Segments”
"Can't Get Dim Sum? No Falafel? Closest Kosher Deli 2500 miles from Kahului? What do you do when your ethnic entrepreneurial strata becomes "All American" after three generations, or others became mesmerized by job security? Find out how Maui's Community College trolled the high schools in search of a student pool, to populate it's four year baccalaureate in entrepreneurship."
Maui Community College's four-year degree, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Business and Information Technology (ABIT), is the first baccalaureate in a community college in the WASC Region. It combines the best in entrepreneurial education with information technology and liberal arts. Students are expected to apply the knowledge learned to real world situations and problem solving. The comprehensive program is taught in state-of-the-art facilities and in a culturally diverse environment. Expected outcomes for graduates are: students will be prepared to start and operate their own businesses, seek employment in small to mid-sized companies, or apply for graduate studies.
The program was faced with recruitment problems that are unique to two-year colleges when attempting to compete with four-year colleges in an “uneven playing field.” Therefore, it had to differentiate itself from the terminal A.A.S. Program while looking at the very same A.A.S. path as a potential feeder. Our objective was to create a general multifaceted marketing strategy, that did not cannibalize our two-year program, while building a viable customer base in the county’s high schools.
Bridge programs may serve as a significant platform in attracting students to 2 year, and 4-year programs in entrepreneurship.
It is this Ke Alohaka Summer Bridge Program, was open to any Maui County High School Student (preference given to high school juniors and graduating seniors and students of Hawaiian ancestry). At the successful conclusion of the one-month course, the students had earned three college credits and a three hundred dollar stipend. Emphasis was placed on self-assessment, cultural enrichment, world of information, survey of occupational clusters and related academic preparation relevant to interests, values and decision-making. The college level courses were geared towards preparing students for effective career and life exploration, and planning. The students’ academic choices and activities are to be monitored for a period of three years.
My presentation will reflect the curricula of the general education program as a framework for entrepreneurial and information technology elements, which are designed to familiarize with, and attract students to the ABIT Program. The focus will be on the tools that were used to instruct opportunity creation, recognition, and evaluation. The presentation will share our successful experiences in the use of simulations, which maintained the students’ interests throughout the course, and their surprising impact on students’ perception and/or commitment to entrepreneurship education. Additionally, I will emphasize the unique application of digital technology in teaching leadership, management and networking skills, to a new generation of technocrati.
It is our belief that the evidence gathered would show the need to interact with the potential entrepreneur at an earlier stage of the mandatory educational process, and thereby create a segment of committed opportunity seekers in the undergraduate environment.
Rafael Boritzer, ABIT Program Coordinator, University of Hawaii-Maui Community College, HI