At Georgia Highlands College (GHC), budding entrepreneurs can now gain and hone the skills necessary to imagine, create and run a successful venture thanks to GHC’s new Entrepreneurship pathway launching in the 2021 spring semester.
Currently, the Entrepreneurship pathway, which is housed under the School of Business and Professional Studies, is geared toward individuals who may not need nor want a full bachelor’s degree in order to get started on their new business venture.
In this pathway, students will take a hands-on approach to starting a business and will have constructed a comprehensive business plan upon completion.
“Students will tackle real world challenges through experiential learning,” Assistant Professor of Business Administration Shanika Wright-Turner said. “They will have the opportunity to hear from successful business leaders and they will also participate in the GHC Charger Innovation Challenge, which is a student-based competition similar to the popular TV show ‘Shark Tank.’”
The plan to bring this type of program to communities across northwest Georgia was important to faculty at GHC.
“Innovation is the vital spark of our economy. This includes not only the ideas that launch new businesses, but those that improve existing ones,” Dean of School of Business and Professional Studies Melanie Largin said. “In GHC’s role as an economic driver for our region, we saw the need to implement a program that could graduate students with the tools they needed to bring innovative ideas into fruition quickly.”
The pathway will be taught in spring 2021 via an eClassroom format with plans to later offer additional class options.
“eClassroom is different than typical online instruction,” Largin said. “With an eClassroom, you meet with an instructor and participate in activities and lecture in real time. This format also gives you an opportunity to ask questions of your professor and interact with your peers.”
Wright-Turner and Assistant Professor of Business Administration and Economics Oris Guillaume both developed courses for the pathway and will be teaching various courses. Both are faculty with industry knowledge and experience in entrepreneurship.
“In addition, the content of our program has been guided by a successful entrepreneur, Mr. Pat Manna,” Largin said. “Mr. Manna initiated from ‘zero’ to ‘breaking critical mass’ three startup companies, with one culminating in an initial public offering, and has advised business programs at the Citadel, the College of Charleston, Fordham University and New York University. He has helped GHC launch the Charger Innovation Challenge and begin development of a mentor network.”
Largin added that though the program is perfect for those who want to start a business, it is also designed for anyone looking to “launch innovative changes at their own companies.”
“Our goal is to equip our students with the tools to start a small business or continue growing their venture,” Wright-Turner said. “You can start or improve a business based on any concept you’re passionate about, given that there is a need in the market, you have an entrepreneurial mindset and you grow from your mistakes.”