Entrepreneur education is plentiful in our community, offering many options for individuals who are considering launching a business or for those who have businesses already up and operating. We have a strong inventory of entrepreneurship education, including formal entrepreneurship programs at each of our five regions’ universities, an integrated business & entrepreneurship program at three of our regions’ community colleges, entrepreneurship education in many of our area high schools, and workshops and entrepreneurship counseling services offered by several community organizations.
Differences in the programs include student demographics, the curriculum, and delivery models. Our universities take an interdisciplinary approach, wrapping entrepreneurship around specific areas of study (i.e. engineering, sciences, business, etc). This education is a blend of academic and practical approaches.
The community colleges and their integrated program is focused on teaching the practical aspects of launching a business, including the tools and skills necessary to be successful and resilient. There is no text book, and the programs are taught by faculty and community members who share their expertise and experiences. The student demographic at the community college is a much older demographic (average age of 32), and generally a returning student. These students generally enter the program with a business idea and are enrolled specifically to obtain the information, tools, and skills necessary to launch their business.
Spokane Community College (SCC) has been delivering their integrated business & entrepreneurship program since 2007 with impressive outcomes (see above). Interestingly, much of the success already achieved by students completing the SCC entrepreneurship program will be greatly enhanced by the collective efforts being made to create a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in our community. Evening programs are now being delivered by the community colleges in an effort to attract non-traditional students, those individuals who are already working, have launched a business, or can’t attend classes during the work day.
Other entrepreneurship education workshops and counseling services are also offered by:
- BIZ Street (Greater Spokane Incorporated)
- Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
- SNAP Financial Access
- SNAP Women’s Business Center
- NXLevel (Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce)
With many workshops and education opportunities available, entrepreneurs and small business owners should be able to find an option that works best for their situation.