Ivy Tech announces new school for entrepreneurship

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Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 1:00 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Ivy Tech Community College has announced a new school at the Evansville campus, designed with programming to give students the skills they need to become entrepreneurs and innovators.

The Garatoni School of Entrepreneurship & Innovation will launch this fall, and the first cohort of students is now being filled.

The school has been named for South Bend Businessman Larry Garatoni and his wife Judy, following a $2.5 million gift to the college.

The School was launched in partnership with Regional Innovation and Startup Education (R.I.S.E.). It will initially offer a certificate in as little as two semesters; or a technical certificate in a year.

Eventually, the Evansville campus plans to offer an Associate of Applied Science degree in entrepreneurship, as well. The programming is open to current students who may also be earning a degree in a different program; as well as new students, small business owners, and others, who may want a stand-alone credential.

“The program will offer practical skills individuals can use immediately in areas such as marketing, finances, human resources and legal considerations,” said Ivy Tech Chancellor Daniela Vidal. “My husband and I know firsthand the challenges that business owners face and the value of having a practical education and a mentor network to convert ideas into profitable businesses.”

One student says she’s ready to use the program to make a dream come true.

“I want to start a food truck, it’s been my dream forever,” said Anna Dimaio. “I’ve always wanted to but I didn’t know how to get my feet in the door.”

Students like Dimaio will learn practical skills they can use immediately, like marketing, finances, human resources and legal work. She says she’s nervous, but excited to a leap for a woman-owned small business.

“It’s nerve wracking. It’s hard because I’m a mom, I have four kids at home, it’s going to be a lot of work,” she said. “I’m scared to fail because there’s few women that get to start their business and be successful.”

Ivy Tech officials say Indiana in the past has not been among leaders in new business start-up success. They hope this program will change that.

“It is something that is very needed, and this will contribute to make sure that we have the know-how to create successful businesses and created that business churn,” said Chancellor Vidal.

According to the Small Business Administration, within the first five years, about half of all small businesses fail. Common reasons include inadequate funding, poor planning and management missteps. In Indiana, there are more than half a million small businesses and they employ more than 1.2 million people.

In addition, Chase Coslett, a third-generation business owner and operator with 15 years of experience in Supply Chain Management, was named department chair.

There was also an unveiling of the space that will be the new Entrepreneurship and Innovation Lab. It’s named for Thomas A. Boeglin, an entrepreneur who opened and owned the first-ever jewelry store in Ferdinand for 30 years; and who was the father of Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann.

Registration for fall classes beginning Aug. 22 is now taking place.

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