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Posted 4.16.10

The entrepreneurship program at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management and other higher education entrepreneurship centers created the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium (EEC) in Northeast Ohio to avoid brain drain and stimulate regional economic growth. They are again recruiting third- and fourth-year college students to participate in a free program this summer.

The Consortium -- comprised of Cleveland State, Ashland, Baldwin Wallace, Case Western Reserve, Cleveland State, John Carroll, Kent State, Hiram and Lake Erie colleges and universities was started with a grant from the Burton Morgan Foundation. Each school will select students from any discipline to participate in an intensive week-long entrepreneurship academy during this summer from August 8-13, 2010.

Students will learn about various aspects of developing new businesses from creating a new enterprise and new product development, seeking opportunities, obtaining financing, marketing, and operations, to understanding legal and ethical issues. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with Ohio entrepreneurs.

The goal is to develop entrepreneurs who will remain in the region after graduation. "These students will form new enterprises, create new jobs for the labor force, and generate new economic activity,” said Dr. Beth Fitz Gibbon, professor of entrepreneurship strategy at the Weatherhead School and Case Western Reserve's liaison to the Consortium.

The students will live in a dormitory for a week and will immerse themselves in relevant topics and share information with each other. They will form teams and create a new product or service throughout the week and present it to a team of judges. At the end of the week, the students representing each school will present their business concept to a panel of judges. The winning team will be awarded a package consisting of cash and gifts for their future enterprise.

PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

The winning group of students will be offered resources to make their business concept a reality. The Entrepreneurship Education Consortium is attempting to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in N.E. Ohio and to create an environment in which the winning team can pursue their endeavor.

This annual event will take place this year at Baldwin Wallace College. "This is a significant step forward for the region and our programs," said Fitz Gibbon. "It demonstrates collaboration and regionalism, which is what Northeast Ohio needs to survive. As a group, we can accomplish much more together than individually."

The initiative draws from and integrates students from every school within Case Western Reserve so students from diverse backgrounds can share their expertise. Five students (plus 1-2 alternates) will be chosen to represent the University.

In addition to the entrepreneurship workshop, students will participate in a variety of social activities in the evenings. They will have ample opportunities to network and meet a variety of leading entrepreneurs and businesspeople from the community to help them jumpstart their new business ventures.

"The economic future of our region will be shaped by students like these. Selected students will return to their home institutions, ready to start their academic year with new knowledge, new skills, and new attitudes about entrepreneurial opportunities here in Northeast Ohio," stated Fitz Gibbon. During the EEC Immersion Week, they'll live together in a dorm and immerse themselves in various aspects of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Past year's teams have included students from Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Weatherhead. Two Case Western Reserve teams have won the competition, including the inaugural team that developed the successful Fresh Fork Market business.

To be eligible, students must be entering their junior or senior year in any major. The experience is free for students and includes tuition, room and board, fees and textbooks. Interested students should apply by Monday, April 26, by forwarding the following information (PDF documents strongly preferred) to Heidi Bocan, hdd@case.edu:

* A resume and cover letter (one combined document) addressing the following: (1) reasons for interest in the EEC experience; (2) what the student will bring to the Case Western Reserve team; and (3) what the student expects to take away from the experience.

* An unofficial transcript or other list of completed courses and grades, along with cumulative GPA

For more information contact Beth Fitz Gibbon at 216-862-1514 or beth.fitzgibbon@case.edu or Jim Hurley, Assistant Dean, at 216-368-3856 or jhurley@case.edu.

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