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MSCTC looking for student entepreneurs

The new Business and Entrepreneurial Services Center at Minnesota State Community & Technical College in Detroit Lakes is "open and ready for business," says Patty Heath Gordon, director of the BES program.

The program is currently accepting applicants for summer and fall courses. Beginning this fall, the college will begin offering an associate of applied sciences degree program in business entrepeneurship.

"It's a two-year degree program, intended for employment," Gordon noted. But the credits (67 total) will also be fully transferable to a four-year college, for obtaining a bachelor's degree, she added.

Also, starting this summer, the college is planning to begin offering business courses that students can take on either a credit or non-credit basis, said Gordon.

As for the content of these courses, Gordon continued, MSCTC is seeking public input.

"We'll cater to the needs of the community," she noted. "We want to know -- what (knowledge) do people need to grow an existing business or to start a small business in this community?"

Some of the possibilities include introductory courses in entrepreneurship and marketing, sales, constructing a business plan, accounting, funding, international marketing challenges and opportunities, and information technology for small businesses.

"There's also opportunity analysis, a one-credit class about what opportunities are available -- what the 'hot jobs' are, or how to start a business (in a particular service or production area) where there's a need," Gordon said.

Basically, she added, the BES program is willing to construct courses around what the community wants to see.

"There are certain core classes that are required," she said. But there are other courses, especially for non-credit, that could be targeted to address specific needs.

"If there is a topic you are interested in (learning more about), we need to know that," Gordon added.

In addition, a counselor from the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) will be available for consulting services, on an appointment basis.

"One of the SBDC counselors from the local office in Moorhead will be on site (in Detroit Lakes) to meet with people who want to start a small business, and help them determine viability, location, marketing needs, etc. -- and help them find the resources and funding to get started," Gordon said.

Future projects of the BES will include an incubator business program (targeted to open in the fall of 2009), and a monthly speaker series (Twin Cities entrepreneur Diane Dusek is scheduled to speak at the college on June 4 at 10 a.m. in the main conference center, C-101).

Gordon also noted that the BES program "is always looking for people or business who are interested in providing funds to support advocacy for higher education and entrepreneurship."

For more information, call Patty Heath Gordon at 218-846-3804 or send e-mail to

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454