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Nichols graduates have long gone on to start their own companies, in a range of businesses from financial services and armored car transport to commercial office cleaning and software development.
But the Nichols Certificate in Entrepreneurship, a just-launched, four-course program, is opening that world wider to all Nichols students.
This fall, the new program, in the making for two years, is offering Management and Organizational Behavior for Entrepreneurs, in which students create an initial plan for starting a new business.
The remaining three courses—Entrepreneurial Management, Business Finance for Entrepreneurs, and Sales and Marketing for Entrepreneurs—will bolster the skills needed to make that plan a reality, says Art Duhaime, Management program chair.
Duhaime, who helped create the program, notes that the courses will give aspiring entrepreneurs an advantage in the marketplace. Among other tasks, he says, students in the certificate program will concentrate on how to enlighten the public about a product they are not aware of and how to hit that market fast and on a limited budget.
“New enterprises are facing different issues than established companies are,” Duhaime explains. “For instance, they can’t afford to hire expert consultants and need to rely more on their own resources.”
Duhaime also emphasizes that the certificate program can benefit all majors at Nichols. “Say you have a liberal arts major or a teaching certificate,” he says. “Even there you could be thinking, ‘I might want to set up a counseling or tutoring business.’ Many good business ideas fall by the wayside because their owners can’t make those businesses operational.”
The certificate program culminates in a semester-long, hands-on final project in which students can extensively shadow the leaders of existing start-up companies or take a practicum that puts them on track to launch their own enterprises.
“It makes Nichols more competitive in the marketplace,” Nichols Associate Dean of Business Studies, Luanne Westerling (pictured with Duhaime) says of the certificate program, adding that it extends the College’s mission of teaching leadership.
“I’ve never met an entrepreneur who is not a leader,” Westerling says.