Entrepreneurship minor makes innovative strides with NEOLaunchNET

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Entrepreneurship minor makes innovative strides with NEOLaunchNET

Photo from JCU.

Photo from JCU.

Photo from JCU.

Megan Grantham, Campus Editor

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“Entrepreneurship is a key cornerstone of our distinctive programs, and we are thrilled to partner with organizations like the Burton D. Morgan Foundation. LaunchNET’s mission of inspiring innovation directly connects to our Jesuit Catholic mission and heritage,” said JCU President Michael Johnson at the opening ceremony of the NEOLaunchNET.

John Carroll University’s entrepreneurship minor has officially joined the NEOLaunchNET program, which is aimed at all majors and designed to boost innovation on college campuses in Northeast Ohio.

The program provides mentorship, coaching and access to resources for students to work on personal entrepreneurship ventures.

“The beauty of LaunchNET is that it takes ideas that are not being developed for a classroom but outside the classroom, or something maybe you did in class but didn’t get to develop it as far as you’d like, and you say, ‘I wish I really could have developed that,’” said JCU communication professor Jacqueline Schmidt.

Johnson ceremoniously cut the ribbon to reveal the new creativity and entrepreneurship classroom in the basement of Grasselli Library at the official opening event on Feb. 6.

Carroll students will join those from other universities and colleges in the area — including Baldwin Wallace, Case Western Reserve, Kent State and Lorain County Community College — in becoming members of NEOLaunchNET.

As a result of being in the program with these other colleges, Schmidt says, “We also share their resources, so that [for] students from here who might want to go to the legal clinic down at Case, we can refer them down there. They have some really good prototyping at both Case and Lorain, so we can work with students in terms of sending them there.”

JCU students, faculty and representatives from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation as well as delegates from Baldwin Wallace, Case Western Reserve and LCCC were in attendance at the opening event.

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, established in 1967, is a non-profit organization aiming to advocate and support the entrepreneurial spirit of Northeast Ohio residents. NEOLaunchNET, started in 2012, has helped more than 4,100 students delve into over 3,000 entrepreneurial projects, according to JCU’s news release.

Another aspect of the program is that students can work at their own pace on their self-designed projects with the help of a mentor knowledgeable in the area the student is working with.

“We try to mentor you or match you with someone who has a specific knowledge. For example, if you have something where you’re trying to hit a certain market or a certain group of people, we’ll look into our database and see who might have some extra special expertise on that, and then we try to connect you them and prepare you for that meeting,” said  Schmidt.

Schmidt also explained how this new entrepreneurial program differs from JCU’s entrepreneurship minor. “It’s different from the minor, which is a series of courses that might give you the same opportunities, because this is for someone who just wants to something on their own.”

“We have enjoyed a long history of supporting entrepreneurship programming on the John Carroll University campus. JCU leadership has always demonstrated tenacity and creativity in developing innovative programs and we are delighted to be able to support this new chapter with the opening of LaunchNET with JCU,” said Burton D. Morgan Foundation president and CEO at the event. “We can’t wait to see the ventured generated.”

John Carroll receives a grant from the Burton Morgan Foundation of $221,000 for the initiative. It is one of only five such programs

Johnson observed how the atmosphere and core teachings of John Carroll uphold and foster the entrepreneurial spirit. “The service-learning component is key to entrepreneurship. When someone gets a theory in the classroom and actually practices doing something in real time in a service-learning context, you are connecting theory to practice. That is where a lot of entrepreneurs are born.”