By Katelyn S. Irons | Echo
Graduates can't wait to chase their shooting stars, but the trails they wish to blaze may map through the cornfields. Instead of leaving the state, they find themselves at home in Indiana. A new organization on campus is helping to make this a reality, by placing students in job opportunities around the area.
The Calling and Career Office (CCO) began the Promising Ventures program to connect students wishing to start their own business with entrepreneurs in Indiana.
"In the CCO, it is our hope to equip students toward a trajectory to thrive in all aspects of a faithful life in response to God," Jeff Aupperle, director of Indiana employer relations. "The purpose and mission of the Promising Ventures program are designed in pursuit of that hope."
With more Taylor students desiring to work for themselves, the CCO wanted to offer more co-curricular opportunities in entrepreneurship. Aupperle worked to create a diverse network of opportunities with 70 companies for students within the Promising Ventures network in Indiana. His job as director of Indiana employer relations is to facilitate networking opportunities between these organizations and students.
"It has been such an encouraging start to Promising Ventures," said Aupperle. "Before the program even officially launched on campus this fall we had already placed 17 students in summer internships with organizations in the network. Five of those were funded internships with non-profit and start-up organizations."
The first Promising Ventures event, From the Grounds Up, was hosted earlier this month. This is a monthly event where connected entrepreneurs will come to campus and share their start-up stories over coffee. Around 40 students attended the first event.
Another event planned for Oct. 30 is Taylor Shark Tank. Like the popular television series that gave it its name, this event allows students to pitch their entrepreneurial ideas to a panel of five judges, who then select a winning project at each Shark Tank event. The victors receive partial start-up funds. Interested students need to apply by Oct. 23.
A J-Term course to immerse students in real-world projects with the Promising Ventures Network is also being planned, according to Aupperle.
"Taylor alumnus and entrepreneur Andrew Fennig ('02) is slated to teach the three-credit-hour course and I think the students who take it will have an excellent introduction to entrepreneurship," Aupperle said.
Promising Ventures was established through a $1,000,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment to promote Promising Ventures over the next five years. This is the first full academic year of the program. To learn more, contact Jeff Aupperle at firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the Calling and Career Office, located in the Union.