Columbia College Launches Entrepreneurship Program

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COLUMBIA - Columbia College hosted a marketing pitch competition on campus Thursday.

Six students presented business ideas to a panel of three entrepreneur and business experts: Monica Mehta, Jonah Lupton, and Monika Rydzewski.

The winner, Meg Goddard, won $5,000 and a seat at the Fishman Center for Entrepreneurship Advisory Board.

The event was planned to introduce the college's announcement of an entrepreneurship major and minor beginning in August. It will be the only college in the area that offers an entrepreneurship major.

Steve Fishman, a Columbia College alumnus and member of the college's Board of Trustees, donated $500,000 to launch the entrepreneurship program.

"Columbia College gave me an opportunity. They game me something a lot of other schools didn't allow me to have," he said.

He explained the purpose of the entrepreneurship program is to cultivate creative ideas to make the students at Columbia College successful.

"I see students that have a lot of passion, a lot of desire, but in some cases, not enough knowledge. This is where the whole concept we came up with came from," Fishman said.

The winner of the marketing competition, Meg Goddard, is an international student from England. Her business idea was to create a product for international students when coming to the United States.

She explained there was a social component, such as a blog and social media to get the international students involved with the community and their peers. There was also a practical component to her proposal which included a package she designed that has all the essentials an international student needs after a long day of traveling.

"I am very excited to be a part of this event," Goddard said. She also expressed her interest for the upcoming entrepreneurship program.

"You can teach someone management, marketing, accounting. These are all jobs that are going to be valuable in the business world, but if you want to start your own business you need to know all of this and you also need to know how to run this business on your own," Goddard said.

Last year's winners of Columbia College's marketing competition, Brynne and Bailye Stransberry, were featured in NBC's Today Show for their product, TwoAllity rain boots. The twin sisters came up with clear colored rain boots with different pattern liners.

Fishman explained Columbia College is also focusing on strengthening the programs of Business, Arts, Nursing, and Forensic Sciences.