Metropolitan Community College students interested in specializing in entrepreneurship can participate in programs and take courses that can be used as a pathway to the completion of certificates and degrees, according to Dean of Business Lori Lothringer.
Entrepreneurship courses at MCC include: introduction to entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship feasibility study, marketing for the entrepreneur, entrepreneurship legal issues, entrepreneurship financial topics, and entrepreneurship business plan.
Entrepreneurship courses are available in many modalities including online and remote, allowing students to receive college credit or earn a degree on their own schedule while working full-time in their current jobs.
"The economic consequences of COVID-19 have impacted the small business sector particularly hard," Lothringer said. "Unlike larger business entities that could weather the storm, already vulnerable revenue streams for entrepreneurs and small businesses were significantly impacted early into the pandemic."
In May, research indicated that even with stimulus support, many small businesses were gone. It has been even more devastating for restaurant owners. Those in retail and service-based businesses have also suffered.
"Although there are many challenges in our economy, this is an exciting time to start or restart a career," Lothringer said. "It takes time to create a business plan, prepare a marketing strategy, and understand critical financial and legal factors."
UNO's Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Franchising (CIEF) offers resources for students, alumni, and community members.
"In the classroom, CIEF offers an entrepreneurship major and minor, and an innovation-track entrepreneurship major that focuses on information technology innovation from an entrepreneurship lens," Assistant Director Levi Cermak said. "The Center hosts several events designed to engage students and the community in entrepreneurship."
Annual events CIEF hosts include: The BigIdea! Pitch Competition, ($850 in prize money), Maverick Business Plan ($6,000 in prize money), Breakthrough Weekend where students start a business as a team, Maverick Young Entrepreneur Boot Camp where students learn about entrepreneurship, the Midwest Entrepreneurship Conference which is attended by hundreds of students from over 30 universities in North America, and A Celebration of Entrepreneurship Gala where CIEF brings together the Omaha Entrepreneurial community to connect and celebrate its entrepreneurs and support the students.
For community entrepreneurs, CIEF offers Maverick Venture Fund (MVF), a three-semester course in venture capital where students invest money in students, alumni, and community startups. Since 2019, the MVF has invested $65,000 in six companies.
CIEF provides free consulting to anyone in the community with an idea or startup. Dr. Dale Eesley, director, and Levi Cermak, assistant director, meet with entrepreneurs to give feedback, advice, and provide next steps and introductions.
"In addition, there are numerous project-based graduate courses that are willing to address specific problems for local businesses and startups," Cermak said.
Since 2017, Grow with Google has trained more than five million people across the U.S. on how to use digital tools to grow their career or business, according to Erica Swanson, head of community engagement.
Adopting digital tools is crucial to helping entrepreneurs stay in business through the pandemic. A recent Connected Commercial Council report found that 91% of Nebraska small businesses increased their use of digital tools during the pandemic, compared to 72% nationally.
"Nearly one in three small businesses say that without digital tools they would have had to close all or part of their business as a result of the COVID-19 economic crisis," Swanson said.
In addition to Google for Startups, a program designed to support startups and to help them thrive across every corner of the World, Grow with Google offers free virtual workshops and one-on=one coaching sessions that teach entrepreneurs useful tools to help them get found on Google Search and Maps, how to use Google Analytics, and basics like email and presentations.
Article shared with permission from Midlands Business Journal.