Cassidy Hite, of White, has always had a business idea, and she has always wanted to be her own boss: “My concept for my business is to take school buses, convert them into RVs, and rent them out for a luxury vacation you can take anywhere.”
Hite chose the new entrepreneurship pathway at Georgia Highlands College to help bring her vision to life. In this pathway, students take a hands-on approach to starting a business. By engaging in outside-the-box, experiential learning, students gain the knowledge necessary to start, grow, and maintain a business.
The pathway is offered through the School of Business and Professional Studies. Students who complete the pathway will graduate in as little as two years and will have constructed a comprehensive business plan.
Hite, who is working on a plan around her school bus conversion idea, stated the faculty are top-notch and have been paramount to her success in the program, giving her the confidence to move forward with her business idea.
Michelle Douglas, of Rome, saw the GHC program as a way to grow her existing business.
“I already have my own home cleaning business, but I wasn’t really sure what to do to take it further,” Douglas said. “When I heard about the entrepreneurship pathway at GHC, I knew it was meant for me to enroll in the program.”
She described a “light bulb” moment occurred during a class discussion.
“I was talking about my cleaning business and ideas were being thrown around about how I could incorporate my own cleaning products,” Douglas said. “So, now I can provide cleaning services but also sell my clients my products which is another source of income.”
Douglas said not only does the pathway help her to learn strategies and generate new ideas for expanding her business, but it has helped her gain a new perspective as a business owner.
“This whole experience has been an amazing journey. I feel empowered,” Douglas said. “GHC has taken me to a whole new level… There’s always more to learn and room to grow when it comes to your career.”
Assistant Professor of Business Administration Shanika Wright-Turner explained the program goes beyond the classroom with multiple real-world learning opportunities, including consultation with highly successful business leaders.
On one occasion, students met with Raychel Jones, entrepreneur and creator of “I Beat Daily” The Official Producer Battle, and Co-founder of PenGame ATL, who attended the class and gave each student feedback on their ideas.
“Students were thrilled to have a successful entrepreneur work with them individually,” Wright-Turner said. “In the near future, we are looking to add a mentorship program that matches each student enrolled in the entrepreneurship pathway with a leader/entrepreneur in their area of interest. We are very excited to see the program up and running and look forward to welcoming more students in the fall.”
Visit go.highlands.edu to learn more about how to apply to the program this fall.