Austin Community College board approves new entrepreneurship program

With its new associate degree program, Austin Community College hopes to help its students break into Austin's entrepreneurial economy.

With its new associate degree program, Austin Community College hopes to help its students break into Austin's entrepreneurial economy.

The Austin Community College District will offer a new associate degree in entrepreneurship starting in the fall.

The ACC board of trustees approved the program, which is expected to enroll a cohort of 24 students annually, Feb. 5.

The new applied science associate program will require a prerequisite certificate in a technical specialization, such as motorcycle repair or photography. The goal is to have students come into the entrepreneurship program with a skill set and idea already, ACC Vice President of Instruction Mike Midgley said.

"This a no-brainer," ACC Board Chairwoman Barbara Mink said. "It's way overdue."

The 60-hour program will be administered by the management department, whose budget it will share, and beoffered at multiple locations.

It will ultimately be the core program of the ACC Highland campus's Entrepreneurship Institute and Incubator, which is expected to open in late 2019 or early 2020 and will house city of Austin economic development staff.

The need for the degree is evidenced by labor market information data, according to a proposal submitted by Midgley and ACC President and CEO Richard Rhodes.

No similar degree program is available within a 50-mile radius, according to the proposal.

Midgley and Rhodes also cite Austin's business-friendly environment. The city recorded more than 44,000 small businesses in 2013—about one for every 50 people—according to American City Business Journals.

In December the ACC board approved the college’s first bachelor’s degree, an RN-to-BSN program.


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