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Entrepreneurship Class at Allan Hancock College Offers Cash Prize and a Grade

Last semester’s winners of the $1,000 prize in the New Venture Laboratory entrepreneurship class at Allan Hancock College brought a honey brand, Pacific Coast Honey, to market. From left to right are Bob Hatch, CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce; students Archie Mitchell, Pearl Matey Garroutte, Ruben Sarino and Nick Presher; Dave Cross, director of the Economic Development Commission; and Michelle Dettelis, owner of Dance Motions.

Last semester’s winners of the $1,000 prize in the New Venture Laboratory entrepreneurship class at Allan Hancock College brought a honey brand, Pacific Coast Honey, to market. From left to right are Bob Hatch, CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce; students Archie Mitchell, Pearl Matey Garroutte, Ruben Sarino and Nick Presher; Dave Cross, director of the Economic Development Commission; and Michelle Dettelis, owner of Dance Motions.  (Allan Hancock College photo)

By Sonja Oglesby for Allan Hancock College |

Students have the opportunity to earn more than just a grade in New Venture Laboratory (ENTR 103) class next spring at Allan Hancock College. One lucky student or group of students will win a cash prize of $1,000.

“It’s nothing like any class you’ve ever taken,” said Anne Cremarosa, director of the Small Business Entrepreneurship Center. “You’re graded, but the ultimate grade is the $1,000 prize lying on the table.”

The concept of the class is for students to develop, research and market a business idea with the assistance of their classmates and entrepreneurship mentors. At the end of the 16-week class, students present their business idea to a panel of judges to compete for the $1,000 grand prize.

“This class really demystifies the process of starting your own business,” said Ruben Sarino, whose business, Pacific Coast Honey, won the cash prize last semester. “If you have any hint of wanting to start your own business, or an idea for a product that you’d like to turn into a business, then this class can help.”

The New Venture Laboratory class is a way to help encourage entrepreneurship on the Central Coast, Cremarosa said. Students receive assistance with market research, advertising, creating prototypes of their product, and finally, applying for a provisional patent.

“In some cases, students left with a much different business plan than they came in with,” Cremarosa said.  “What was interesting to watch was the students interacting and getting feedback from each other, and from potential customers, and really turning that into something positive.”

The class meets weekly at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, and there are no prerequisites for the class.

“All you need is the desire to start something new or a new idea you want to try out,” Sarino said.

Registration is open now for New Venture Laboratory and classes begin Jan. 30. For more registration information, call the college at 805.922.6966, or toll free in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties at 866.DIAL.AHC (342.5242) x3248, or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Sonja Oglesby is a public affairs and publications technician for Allan Hancock College.




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