Entrepreneurial Network (ENet), Goodwin University

Company: Goodwin University

Location: East Hartford

Company/organization description

Since 1999, Goodwin University has been at the forefront of developing innovative solutions & programs to meet the needs of individuals traditionally underserved by higher education. GU is a private, open-enrollment, nonprofit institution that offers certificates, associates, baccalaureate & master’s degrees. Central to the GU mission, first and foremost, is service to students. 98% of students are Pell eligible, 61% 1st generation college students. 80% are women & 47% are students of color.

How do you train, educate or prepare entrepreneurs

(ENet) holistically assists & educates currently & formerly incarcerated students in CT. The 18 credit program results in a collegiate certificate, transferable into another program at GU, or, as allowable, to other colleges. It culminates in a “Shark Tank” style pitch event where students to showcase their business model plan. Students receive seed money to launch their ventures & assistance overcoming hurdles reintegrating into society like unemployment, family stress, homelessness, & poverty.

What impact did your program have in 2020?

In October 2020, ENet began its second cohort with 10 students on-campus & 10 students at Willard-Cybulski in Enfield, CT. 8 of the 10 in-facility were released & seamlessly transitioned on-campus despite COVID challenges. 7 of the 8 successfully completed the program. In total, 17 of the 20 students in the 2nd cohort finished with their 18-credit certificate. ENet is currently in its 3rd cohort & to date has "graduated" 28 students & 11 small businesses are open & successfully operating.

Nominator Justification

The Entrepreneurial Network (ENet) Program holistically assists and educates currently and formerly incarcerated students and their transition back into the community through collaboration amongst corrections, higher ed, social services and business. Students showcase their business in a “Shark Tank” style pitch event and earn an 18 credit transferable collegiate certificate. Once completed, graduates receive seed money to launch their ventures. To date 11 small businesses have opened via ENET.

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