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October 20, 2016

Runway Program taking off in right direction

The Institute for Entrepreneurship’s Runway Program, a startup incubator exclusive to FGCU students who are aspiring entrepreneurs, is now accepting applications for the second session, which begins Jan. 9. The deadline to apply through the website is Nov. 23.

The Runway Program provides future business owners with the resources, tools and experience they need to succeed. Students are mentored by FGCU faculty and community business leaders to develop cutting-edge companies while earning a degree in any field.

A Runway Program thought board at the ETI.
A Runway Program thought board at the ETI.

The 12-week program is housed at FGCU’s Emergent Technologies Institute (ETI), located northeast of campus off Alico Road. The Institute for Entrepreneurship has equipped its ETI space with advanced prototyping machinery, including 3-D printers, computers, high-end cameras and camcorders, as well as industry-leading business and engineering software to help students further their innovations. Students are required to complete a minimum of 120 hours work at the ETI.

The Runway Program is an opportunity that the Lutgert College of BusinessInstitute for Entrepreneurship is providing at no extra cost to select students regardless of major. It is open to undergraduates and graduate students.

Entrepreneurship allows students to see the connection between what they are learning and what they can do with that knowledge.

“There’s a well-known quote,” says Greg Gottfried, a senior marketing major from Princeton, N.J., who’s participating in the fall Runway Program. “ ‘You are the sum of the five people you associate with most.’ Imagine surrounding yourself with 20 to 25 creative, intelligent, driven individuals, then think of the sum you will become. That is what it feels like to be involved in the Runway Program.”

About 50 students applied for the first semester of the program this fall, and 22 were accepted. The institute is hoping to double the number of applicants the second time around.

Through the program, students learn all the fundamentals of building a new company or expanding an existing one. They are expected to complete a business launch plan, with mentors volunteering their time and business expertise to guide them in the right direction.

At the end of the program, students get the chance to pitch their plans to an investment committee that determines which team or teams should receive additional seed funding to further their ventures. Select businesses may also be considered to compete in the Governor’s Cup on March 31 at FGCU. The competition is sponsored by the Roundtable of Entrepreneurship Educators of Florida, an organization made up of universities and community colleges dedicated to advancing entrepreneurship in Florida.

For more information, contact Amy Ridgway at 239-590-7324.

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