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Pikes Peak Community College Supports Student Entrepreneurs with Ground Breaking Program

Monday, October 31, 2016   (0 Comments)
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Pikes Peak Community College Supports Student Entrepreneurs with Ground Breaking Program

Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC), partnering with three other local higher-education institutions, is getting real with area students to help them become entrepreneurs.  The institutions are represented by President Lance Bolton, Pikes Peak Community College; President Jill Tiefenthaler, Colorado College; Chancellor Pam Schockly-Zalabak (University of Colorado Colorado Springs; and Superintendent Lt. General Michelle Johnson; United States Air Force Academy.  They have been working together for two years, discussing ways to combine resources to help students and the local economy.

As a result, these partner institutions have offered an intensive four-week program focused on taking student business ideas to the next level.  This summer’s program, hosted by PPCC, was attended by students from all four colleges, and offered a course on entrepreneurship designed and facilitated by USAFA business management instructors.

The program introduced entrepreneurial concepts, including ideation, feasibility, product market fit, legal, marketing and sales, and financials and fundraising.  It was supported by local entrepreneurs who spoke about their real world experiences and offered to connect with students after the program.  On day one, students presented their individual ideas, voted for their top four choices, then formed teams around the idea winners.

Team work and collaboration is a backbone to entrepreneurial success, which requires a diverse skill set to move an idea through the many steps toward implementation, and students received first-hand experience in the rough and tumble world of being a new entrepreneur.  Students had to convince others of the significance of their idea, form a team to work with them, take their idea from inception through feasibility, define their audience and market segments, create a prototype and test it.  And finally, they had to develop a six-minute pitch presentation with a tag line, statistical support, and real world examples of the application of their idea.  It was a four-week intense immersion into what it takes to be an entrepreneur resulting in real results that some students are continuing to work on today.

At the end of the course, students provided feedback that was extremely positive and impactful.  One student wrote, “The course was thorough. I feel like I gained a lot of valuable information, the instructors had a wealth of knowledge, and overall I thought that I gained enough to truly start my own business.”  Another student commented, “The best aspects of the course were being able to meet and hear from so many people.  On top of that we covered so much important information that has opened my mind and actually made me excited to take on the challenge of creating a start up.”

This program offered for the last two summers created a launching pad for a year round program in a new space called the Quad Innovation Center.  The Quad will be located in downtown Colorado Springs and is projected to open in early 2017.

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