Entrepreneurial Leadership Center offers Clarion University students experience opportunities

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]The Clarion University Entrepreneurial Leadership Center is designed to help create an entrepreneurial culture and environment within the Clarion University community.
The ELC was initiated in 2012 with a grant from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Clarion University is one of 14 schools to have an Entrepreneurial Leadership Center in the state system.
The ELC works closely with and supports the work of the Clarion University Small Business Development Center to provide entrepreneurial learning and experiential opportunities to students and faculty.
Faculty member and project director of the ELC Dr. Kevin Roth said, “Our emphasis is to create an environment that stimulates student and faculty involvement in the development of an ‘entrepreneurial ecosystem’ at Clarion University and the university community.”
Areas of ELC emphasis include providing “high impact” learning opportunities, exposure to available entrepreneurial resources, related curriculum development and enhancements and interactions with the entrepreneurial and small business community.
One of the initial focal areas of the ELC was on the entrepreneurial curriculum at CUP.
Roth said, “We took a look at our existing offering and examined opportunities to enhance the entrepreneurial curriculum to meet the needs of our students.”
CUP already had a concentration in entrepreneurship within the College of Business Administration, but this program was positioned for management majors.
Most recent efforts have seen the development of a new minor in entrepreneurial leadership that is available for any student regardless of their major or interest area. This minor also includes opportunities for those interested in social enterprise.
A second area the ELC focuses on is facilitating the testing of student business ideas through a “virtual incubator” concept. The ELC positions students with professionals and/or mentors to take their idea and move toward a formal business opportunity.
“The ELC gives students a chance to explore information resources and get technical assistance on issues that range from idea formation and market information to funding and start-up. The ELC works cooperatively with the SBDC in terms of the knowledge base and the eventual development of a formal business plan if that is the desired outcome,” Roth said.
The ELC has also supported CUP students with the PASSHE business plan competition.  Over the past three years, more than 100 CUP students have participated with several semi-finalists and finalists and a couple actual business start-ups.
Roth said, “[ELC] encourages students to engage in this process because of the beneficial interactions with other student ideas, entrepreneurs, faculty and administrators across the state.”
Another focus of the ELC is to provide opportunities for students to work and interact directly with business owners. It collaborates with the SBDC, which works with more than 500 small businesses and entrepreneurial firms annually. Many of these organizations have expressed interest in providing internships for the students in a wide range of areas both within and outside of the business disciplines.
The ELC works with CUP career services to make this connection.
Roth said, “Facilitating these types of interactions is absolutely a key objective of ELC.”
The ELC hopes to expand outreach efforts in the future to address the growing needs for technical assistance by social enterprise.
Most recently, ELC activities have been implemented by Alissa Graffius who currently serves as Coordinator of the ELC.
Her task is to continue to implement and bring awareness to the ELC resources and opportunities.
The ELC can be contacted through Facebook.com/ClarionELC or twitter.com/ClarionELC. Further information about the center can be found at http://www.clarion.edu/339169/.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_facebook type=”standard”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_tweetmeme type=”horizontal”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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