Ivy Tech Community College is the only community college in Indiana and it's statewide network with over 15 regions and 23 main campuses. We were a recent Coleman Foundation award winner at the 2014 NACCE Annual Meeting and our proposed project is to host a statewide Entrepreneurship Summit for all Ivy Tech faculty and staff engaged in entrepreneurship education at the College to grow it across the State of Indiana.
Our program is fairly new, as we first launched our ENTR program in the Fall of 2011 with only a few campuses offering them to students. Since that time, we have launched 6 classes, created new certficates, finally received approval for financial aid for the certificates (whew) and offered 3 new on-line classes. The number of students went from about 50 to over 160 in just a few semesters, but only 4-5 campuses are running the courses and we still are seeing low enrollments across most all of them. This is painful since we know the program has the quality we want in the curriculum and the instructors, but the marketing of it has been challenging with a statewide audience.
It is our hope that a statewide ENTR summit in the Summer of 2015 will allow us to bring together internal stakeholders to identify challenges, strategies, actions and a plan for growing the program so our students can take their ideas and make them a reality upon graduation or when they are ready to launch their business. We also want to ensure that external stakeholders have a say in how we structure our program and could be essential partners in marketing to other audiences. We started talking about the Effectuation process during the Master Class at the NACCE conference and have since made some modifications as we reviewed the application we filed back in September.
We think the Effectuation process will allow us to take some fuzzy goals and add more meat to the outcomes we want to make. In talking with some external partners likely to be supportive of our efforts and participate in the program this summer, we learned that they were far more excited and engaged than we could have imagined. Guessing this falls under the Crazy Quilt principal and they suggested we engage them earlier than the event to help plan and already want to help market our program across the State of Indiana as they pitch small business resources through the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship run by our Lt. Governor, Sue Elspermann.
We were unsure where to start, but Sara Kiffen's guidance and recent blog post helped us understand when and where to start using the Effectuation techniques to aid our process. We are just beginning, so not sure where it will all go, but we're excited to see where it all goes. One of my personal goals is to show how our program can demonstrate new business startups across the State and in rural regions crying for something they can do to stop the tide of young people leaving for more urban pursuits. We think our program has a lot of potential to show the way to reach down into the high schools and we are just getting to adding them to our stakeholder "hit list."
Anyhow, if you have suggestions or want to know how it is going, we'll try to keep the blog posts updated as we kick the door down into 2015...Gonna be quite a ride!