You CAN expand your knowledge while nurturing your big ideas! The Entrepreneurial Studies Institute (ESI) offers the courses, professors, mentors and resources you need to launch and grow your business. We’ll help you develop a comprehensive understanding of entrepreneurship and provide the tools to identify business opportunities, join entrepreneurial ventures or work for an established organization. ESI graduates are in demand by growth-oriented companies wanting to incorporate entrepreneurial vision and innovation in their firms.
Whether you’re straight out of high school, took a break from your education to start your business or already have a degree: we’re here for you. Any credit or noncredit AACC student, regardless of their field of study, can take advantage of the services and resources of the Entrepreneurial Studies Institute. In fact, while many of our students pursue an associate degree in Entrepreneurial Studies, more students earn a certificate in Entrepreneurship while studying to become massage therapists, personal trainers, electricians, child care providers, restauranteurs, architects and more.
Our curriculum is founded on the concept of engaged learning, meaning it’s designed for students to be actively involved, but you should plan on taking it a step further. Prepare to be enthusiastic, collaborative, open to new ideas and willing to put yourself out there when it comes to learning. Our instructors and advisors serve as coaches who are eager to work with you. All have been executives, small business owners or entrepreneurs and know how scary and exciting it can be to start your own business. Know they will encourage you every step of the way, and if you hang in there, soak in the knowledge and try hard, you’re bound to see improvements in your public speaking, time management, negotiation skills and leadership.
The Entrepreneurial Studies Institute offers an associate of applied science degree in entrepreneurship, and for students majoring in other fields who are looking for a value-added credential, we offer the six-course (18 credit) credit certificate. For individuals working in licensed professions, there is a four-course (12 credit) certificate to help you start your business as an electrician, a CPA, an HVAC professional, etc.
Already have a degree and interested in picking up a course or two? You’re welcome to enroll in a single credit course or choose from dozens of noncredit courses in business, entrepreneurship and technology that can help you better manage your books, write a business plan or set up your internet business.
No more theory-only instruction! Get ready to apply your learning to the real world and to your professional pursuits with useful, practical, hands-on information from faculty with experience as business executives and entrepreneurs. They not only teach, they coach and lead. Start your academic planning with an academic advisor, but if you would like to learn more about the Entrepreneurial Studies Institute or which offerings are best for you, we are here to help.
Robyn Hickey, office manager
Thomisha Duru-Nnebue, Ph.D., adjunct faculty
Business management and entrepreneurial studies
Coaching, nonprofit management, business consulting
LaTanya Eggleston, assistant professor
Business coaching and communications
Ken Jarvis, professor
Kevin Logan, adjunct faculty
Lindsay McCulloch, associate professor
Art as a business
Geoff Snavely, adjunct faculty
Sales, customer service, entrepreneurship
Mecaël Yuan, adjunct professor
Any credit or noncredit AACC student, regardless of their field of study, can use the Hatchery, apply for scholarships and participate in the competitions.
Careers Center Room 326, Arnold
Hundreds of students have benefited from the Hatchery’s fully equipped business library, private and workgroup spaces, conference room and computers loaded with software applications helpful to those starting new ventures. In addition to Microsoft Office products and the current term’s textbooks, you’ll have access to a color printer.
The Hatchery is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Ratcliffe Foundation believes in supporting student entrepreneurs with their education regardless of the venture. Each student may earn up to the lifetime maximum of $12,000! Since its inception in 2003, the foundation has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships, internship awards and seed funds to several hundred students. Internship awards to cover costs not covered by scholarships also are available.
Each fall, credit and noncredit students compete for cash prizes for the best new big idea. Students record and submit online their two-minute pitch of a unique or original idea that solves a problem or creates a convenience.
In AACC’s version of the ABC Network’s “Shark Tank,” credit and noncredit students who have successfully completed an AACC course in the last year compete for money to support their business venture. They present a comprehensive business plan and pitch their idea to a panel of judges. In spring 2023, eight businesses received seed funds ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 for a total of $75,000. Four companies received a one-year membership in the Hatchery, AACC's student business incubator, and 19 new $12,000 scholarships were awarded. This competition provided more than $300,000 for students!
Connect with students, hear amazing speakers and participate in fun field trips to New York City, Hershey Park and other places. Guest lecturers speak on sales and marketing, creativity and idea generation, stress management, accounting tips and legal issues. The Entrepreneurs' Club (E-Club) meets the second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Careers 326. Any student from any field or major can attend the meetings, join the field trips and use the information in their business ventures.
HawkTrade is a student business trade show held each fall and spring featuring AACC students, Ratcliffe Scholars and Ratcliffe Scholar alumni who are in business or who are gathering feedback to launch their businesses.
Learn more about HawkTrade.