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Middlesex has embraced an entrepreneurial spirit when it
comes to teaching this new way of thinking, finding innovative
ways to infuse entrepreneurship across campus.
A new short-term Entrepreneurship Certificate Program, as
well as several entrepreneurship-focused Business courses
are now offered. Faculty, staff and administrators work
closely with community partners, including the Deshpande
Foundation, the Merrimack Valley Small Business Center, and
E for All, to help create a stimulating curriculum that helps
students understand the roles entrepreneurship and innovation
play in a variety of fields.
The college also offers open access to the Innovation
Development and Entrepreneur Assistance (IDEA) Center,
which can help faculty, staff, students and community
members connect with the resources they need to get
started on making their ideas become a reality. (See related
story p. 10). The IDEA Center also sponsors a variety of
entrepreneurship programs each semester, including special
events, panel discussions, and workshops.
But it's Hargis' "Introduction to Entrepreneurship" course, a
Business elective, that really introduces students to thinking
like true entrepreneurs, while learning the foundational skills
they need to start and maintain success.
In the popular project-based course, students work in groups
to start a real business. They have to generate a business
idea, calculate start-up costs, keep track of profit and loss,
set up an e-commerce website, as well as market and sell
their products or services all while engaging in a little
friendly competition.
"Each group participates in a pitch contest to a panel of judges
made up of prominent business owners in our community. The
teams have to learn how to talk about their business, express
its value, and present it to others. It's kind of like the popular
television show `Shark Tank,'" said Hargis.
After the students pitch their businesses, the panelists
select a winning group. The winning group receives a $200
cash prize, which most groups then give to a charity of their
choosing, explained Hargis.
Every semester students come in with a wide variety of ideas.
Previous student projects have ranged from selling homemade
sweets, bracelets, duffle bags, T-shirts and sarongs, to
starting a business-card design business.
"The most successful entrepreneurs are those who don't
wait for everything to line up for them," explained Hargis.
"They line it up as they go along, based on what they have
in front of them.
"This way of thinking comes naturally to a lot of our students.
They are looking for ways to solve a problem, but they want
to do it in their own way," she said. "They aren't afraid to try
new and different things to see what works."
Tura Linderholm
For more information about entrepreneurship at Middlesex visit:
Entrepreneurship @ MCC
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