Entrepreneurship Program Gets Students Started on the Business Track

Manchester, CT – July 11, 2012 . . . Gregory Stevens knows how to shine. In his fledgling business, that is -- and in the Entrepreneurship Program at Manchester Community College.

Stevens has created a small business named Artistic Projections. It specializes in projecting impressively large images onto buildings and other public venues. He won $1,000 to help move his venture along using the business and communication skills he learned in the MCC Entrepreneurship Program. One other thing he got from the class? “Confidence,” he said.

Stevens’ $1,000 prize came from winning two separate competitions that MCC business students enter annually. Earlier this year, his performance in the Statewide Community College Elevator Pitch Competition took the $500 first prize. One week later, in a first for an MCC student, his written plan for a personal business was judged the best among ten other college competitors.

An “elevator pitch” is a spoken presentation an entrepreneur might give to a potential investor during a one-minute elevator ride, explains Stevens’ teacher, MCC Associate Professor Theresa Janeczek. She is quick to point out that students from the MCC program have won this competition three of the past four years. Both Stevens and Janeczek readily admit that while the money and the trophies are a nice reward, the experience and confidence gained from training for the competition is the real prize.

“I didn’t think I would be nervous,” Stevens said about the elevator pitch competition, “but I was. I managed to push through and did okay.”

Stevens, from Hebron, now speaks and thinks like a businessman. He talks about “building equity” in his company, for example, and about the value of networking with other young entrepreneurs he met at the competition and in class. He is taking to heart the advice Janeczek dishes out to all her young entrepreneurs: “Do what you love.”

Janeczek’s other advice, includes: acquire the 21st century communication, business and management skills you will need to succeed. The complete entrepreneurship curriculum includes the study of accounting practices, law, marketing and business leadership. Along with teaching students how to recognize opportunity, raise money, register a company and think critically to overcome problems, the MCC program puts young entrepreneurs in touch with a network of like people and a range of organizations that promote entrepreneurship – not the least of which is The Entrepreneurship Foundation. It provides a host of services for student companies and college entrepreneurship educators.

Janeczek’s program, too, has become an ongoing source of help for the businesses her students create. She keeps all of their business cards, and hears from them regularly.

Brandon Rankl of Bolton was one of MCC’s very first entrepreneurship graduates when the program began in Fall 2008. His business – Mr. Junk – began as a school project and earned an "Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship" Award.

The MCC entrepreneurship program “was more than a little influential” in the business’s success, Rankl said. Although he had thought of starting his own business before, the class experience helped him “realize it was doable,” he said. When he was laid off from his job, he made his part-time venture into a full-time business for himself – fully apprised of the risks involved, he said.

Now, after years as a part-time student and full-time businessman, Rankl has graduated from MCC with his associate degree and a company that is grossing six figures annually.

He plans to pursue his bachelor’s degree at Central Connecticut State University next.

Students interested in more information about the Entrepreneurship degree and certificate programs at MCC should visit the college’s website at www.mcc.commnet.edu or call the Business, Engineering and Technology division office at 860-512-2623.

Manchester Community College’s Entrepreneurship Center offers resources for small businesses throughout the area, and complements the college’s entrepreneurship degree and certificate programs. It soon will be moving to the college’s new arts and education center located on Main Street in downtown Manchester The Entrepreneurship Center will be a part of Manchester’s downtown renewal program and its ongoing series of workshops will be held there. The facility, housed in a building donated to the town by First Niagara Bank, will include an art gallery and classroom space, and is scheduled for completion in July.

Students of any age who possess the desire to pursue higher education are welcome at Manchester Community College. MCC is proud of its academic excellence, new facilities, flexible schedules, small classes, low tuition and faculty with both academic and “real world” credentials. The College offers over 60 programs, transfer options, financial aid and scholarships, as well as access to baccalaureate degrees through guaranteed admissions programs with several universities. MCC is situated on a park-like campus and is easily accessible from I-84.

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News Item Posted On: July 11, 2012
For Additional Information Contact: Charlene Tappan at 860-512-2912