New program ignites business opportunities

Laramie County Community College offers students and Cheyenne community members an entrepreneurship certificate program to learn how to start a business.

The program is a four-course certificate program headed by Minden Fox, a Laramie County Community College marketing instructor. The program is overseen by LCCC Business Chairperson Jeffrey Shmidl, and the business department may add input.

Shmidl said the LCCC entrepreneurship program started in 2005 and was initially designed by James Lamprecht as a degree program. The program later shifted from different departments and, until two years ago, became textbook based.

“The program became more about what an entrepreneur is and not how to become one or how to start your own business,” Shmidl said. “That changed because we realized true entrepreneurs usually just wanted to get the basics of a business plan, and start their business.”

This semester, Fox teaches three of the four courses necessary for the program, those being Introduction to Entrepreneurship, Creating a Business Plan, and Social and Internet Technologies. The fourth one to be offered is Personal Selling.

Fox said Introduction to Entrepreneurship is where students take their business ideas and perform a feasibility analysis which is used to identify a target market, location, perform research, competition and interview local entrepreneurs. Fox said this is all to start making a plan out of the business idea.

If students do not have a business idea, the course aims to look at student’s passions and interests then see if business ideas can come from those. If the feasibility isn’t there, the analysis is looked over to see what should change to allow the feasibility.

The course that follows is Creating a Business Plan, where students create a plan for their idea. Fox said last semester, Innovation Engineering offered one student one-to-one talks with them, and aimed for a goal to get the student’s business started in May of this year.

Fox said that there are no prerequisites for the program other than having passed college level English. Shmidl said students either need to pass English 810 or have tested out of it. Creating a business plan however does require having passed Introduction to Entrepreneurship. Fox said the program is meant to help students on campus or attract community members to teach them how to start their own business.

“It can literally fit with any major,” Fox said.

Students can add these four classes as if adding a minor to their majors, regardless of what major a student may be pursuing. Fox said that the program is small enough where you could take a passion, add four classes to your degree and go start your own business with it.

Shmidl said that students looking to start their own business in the future should add these courses to their degree. The certificate program can also be taken standalone, though he said that aspect is more for community members looking to start their own business.

“It doesn’t matter when you want to start a business,” Shmidl said. “These skills and tools are applicable down the road.”

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