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CLC’s inaugural entrepreneurship bootcamp prepares future business leaders

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Aug 07, 2020

Aspiring students interested in learning how to launch, run and grow a successful business joined an entrepreneurship bootcamp at College of Lake County this summer. Two six-week sessions of this innovative program were recently completed, with 27 students immersing themselves in the essential elements necessary to create, manage, maintain and expand a small business for a sustainable future, from idea to implementation.

The program was offered through the Talent Development Services’ (TDS) arm of CLC’s Workforce and Professional Development Institute. It was overseen by TDS manager, Eric Pfligler, in partnership with Employee Connections, Inc., a community organization based in Lake County that prepares young people with the skills, techniques, knowledge and mindset to be both college and career ready. Employee Connections recruited the students who participated in this pilot program.

Student participants learned they are capable of doing more than they think. “When I step out of my comfort zone I can make things happen,” “I can really be a leader if push comes to shove. I have so much potential,” and “I am able to meet people and connect with any group on deeper levels” are just some of the things the high school students reported learning about themselves throughout this rigorous and invigorating program.

Funded through the Illinois Department of Human Services at no cost to the participants, this mastery course was taught by trainer and leadership coach, Dr. Sean Bailey, who has spent his career developing leaders and organizations. In an innovative, online classroom experience, Bailey provided practical tools on all aspects of creating and launching a successful business, including creating a business plan; economic principles; risk management; financing; technology innovations; the hiring, training and retention of employees; and business growth and expansion.

The program is structured as a blend of virtual lectures, activities, presentations and group discussions, providing an interactive environment for students to gain a wide array of practical knowledge, tools and skills. Students also collaborate through teamwork, critical thinking exercises, brainstorming and public speaking, serving to build both their business acumen, leadership skills and self-confidence.

The bootcamp culminated with the budding entrepreneurs presenting their business ideas, models and plans in a “Shark Tank”-inspired competition, judged by a panel of local business community leaders. One participating judge was Marvin Bembry, President of MKB Leadership Transformation who succinctly summed up the program: “Today’s Shark Tank event was a monumental success. These young people demonstrated the inherent potential of our next generation of potential entrepreneurs. Kudos!”

TDS and Employee Connections will continue to support these young entrepreneurs in the program to see their vison become a reality.

For more information about next year’s entrepreneurship program, visit CLC’s Talent Development Services webpage.

About College of Lake County:

The College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.