Champlain College and Hula team up to develop a new generation of entrepreneurs
Champlain College and Hula, Burlington’s coworking campus and business incubator, are launching a new collaboration next semester that includes an entrepreneurship course taught in part by visiting startup founders.
The Champlain Miller Center campus in Burlington is a short drive from Hula.
“I think we have an opportunity to be at the forefront of this growing trend that seems to be happening in the United States, where college campuses are becoming more and more physically integrated with commercial development,” said Russ Scully, founder of Hula. and a Champlain College board member.
Alex Hernandez, president of Champlain College, which focuses on preparing students for careers upon graduation, said that by partnering with Hula, he hopes to break down the walls between the workplace and the classroom.
Hernandez and Scully developed the idea for the course.
“I see this as a very symbiotic relationship,” Scully said. “Hula is very focused on workforce development for companies, particularly tech companies in the area, and it really helps to try to slow down this brain drain of higher education students who end up leaving the area because they can’t find the job they want. What are you looking for.”
Hernandez will be teaching the Hula Entrepreneurship Masterclass this spring semester with Rob Lair, CEO of Hula. The course is offered by Champlain’s Skiller School of Business.
Twenty-four students have signed up for the course, which begins on January 17.
Among them is Ahmed Adan, a third-year business administration and finance student at Champlain who has started fuaywhich he calls a graphic design coding business.
“I definitely look forward to networking opportunities,” Adan said.
Also enrolling was Wolde North, a fourth-year gaming and publishing business student at Champlain. He runs the university’s rock climbing club and trains tour guides.
“I think the main thing I’m hoping to gain is just a general understanding of starting a small business and what people think about when they start a business,” North said.
Another student taking the course, Olivia Hutchins, is a business administration and digital marketing major at Champlain. She is working on an app that she hopes to have up and running by the time she graduates in May. She hopes to build a great network of business contacts through the course because the students will be invited to events in Hula.
“Those new connections will give us gateways to really learn how to build a business, but they’ll also have these connections to ask questions,” Hutchins said.
The class will bring founders and entrepreneurs as guest speakers.
“The students will be immersed in the Hula community, learning from the entrepreneurs,” Hernandez said, adding that the students will have the opportunity to tackle projects with companies in Hula.
He said OVR technologyA Hula-based company that has brought smelling into virtual reality approached a group of Champlain students to help develop its first prototype.
Champlain will install an innovation center project manager in Hula to link Hula companies with Champlain students.
“I think of it as an intern agent within Hula,” Scully said. “By having this project manager or internship agent in Hula, we can negotiate these relationships and make it really seamless and easy and efficient for both employers and students.”
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