New Campus Hub Bridges Gap Between Classroom and Real World
Popular culture often romanticizes entrepreneurs as swashbuckling risk-takers who defy the odds and build empires. In the real world, those who succeed are disciplined, data-driven businesspeople who are well informed and prepared. They work long hours and take calculated risks only after doing their homework.
ECPI University has a long track record of producing such people through its College of Business, and the Richmond-Innsbrook campus is demonstrating its commitment to continuous improvement by incorporating best business practices into a new resource that will benefit students and alumni, as well as the surrounding community. It’s called the Launch Business Resource Center.
In addition to a wide range of research, technological resources, and software, it will host a regular series of events open to students, alumni, and local business leaders, including:
- Ask Me Anything – Question and answer format featuring successful entrepreneurs
- Lunch & Learn – Skills-based workshops focused on software, soft skills, and organizational/cultural development
- Launch Accelerator – Faculty and students gather to help budding entrepreneurs develop business plans, overcome persistent challenges or conduct market research
- Launch Simulator – Building simulated businesses
One business owner who plans to visit the center soon is Anthony Mijares. He’s a 2017 ECPI University Business graduate who recently started his own company, SignScapes. Having donated all the graphics at the center, he was on hand for the February grand opening. “New business owners often have to learn lessons the hard way,” he says. “A resource like Launch is going to be a real asset for my company. I can come here with a business issue and get a whole team of students lead by faculty that will help me map out a course of action, all at no cost!”
At its heart, Launch will provide ECPI University students myriad opportunities to apply what they are learning in class to real-world business solutions. Business student Jerimiah Wood has been actively involved setting up the center and says he’s already picked up some valuable lessons. “Just getting to where we are now required that we really hone our soft skills, a lot of communication and plenty of teamwork,” he says.
Building on ECPI University’s commitment to interdisciplinary education, the center will involve not just Business students, but Computer and Information Science students as well. “These two professions heavily influence one another,” says Business student Zach Mays. “Data, analytics, and technology are the life blood of successful organizations.”
Business Program Director Alvin Fowlkes says Launch will augment what students learn in the classroom by providing real-world examples, opportunities and engagement, adding, “it’s all about collaboration, innovation, and education.”