JCEL provides experiential learning opportunities for students through a variety of channels.
Staff and faculty coach students in the development of new products, services or non-profit endeavors, helping them complete the business planning process and positioning them to start a venture based on their idea. Coaching includes connecting students to alums and local business professionals who mentor by helping them navigate through the intricacies of conducting for and non-profit businesses like planning, marketing, operations and financials; giving them a real world perspective. JCEL also connects student entrepreneurs with service providers (such as attorneys, accountants and insurance professionals) to help them manage specific aspects of their operations.
Entrepreneurs also have access to local media contacts and service providers (such as attorneys, accounts, and other business support professionals).
Mentors, or seasoned entrepreneurs with a variety of business experiences, volunteer to work with students. These individuals have a real world appreciation of the problems that businesses face and the experience to assist new entrepreneurs in avoiding or overcoming obstacles to future development. Mentors are matched to address individual needs.
The Fast Start program introduces students from any POE to entrepreneurial concepts through one-on-one counseling sessions with staff or mentors. These meetings help students focus on their concept and its ability to serve a new or existing market, or (for non-profit ventures) constituency.
As students work their way through the process, they develop a three-page written abstract that articulates the students’ value creation concept (product, service, non-profit), makes assumptions about the market or constituency and how they would service it. Completion of Fast Start program could position them to receive a Next Step Fellowship grant. It is an excellent way for students to “stick their toe in the water” and vet their idea.