\r\n\r\nWith a mission to \u201cempower people to take risks on their own creative gifts,\u201d Bluefield College recently introduced its first-ever professional certificate program for entrepreneur-minded adults interested in launching a new business and small business owners looking to improve business results.\r\n\r\nThe Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management Certificate Program, which began in August of 2015, is designed to serve a variety of students - those who already own a business, those who dream of starting a business, and those who want to improve business results.\r\n\r\n\u201cToday, professional certifications demonstrate commitment to ongoing excellence and help entrepreneurs connect with funding sources,\u201d said BC\u2019s Dr. Sharon Perot, dean of the College of Professional Programs. \u201cOur Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management Certificate Program has an advisory board comprised of successful executives in various industries, including banking, accounting and healthcare, as well as successful business owners committed to helping others.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn addition, the Business Certificate Program gives recent graduates the additional training they might need to secure employment. It also gives participants the opportunity to network with potential employers, and gives local and regional businesses a convenient way to offer professional development to its workers.\r\n\r\nOffered online and in the field, the Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management Certificate Program\u2019s primary goal, according to Dr. Perot, is to foster imagination and inspire an entrepreneurial spirit that enables both today\u2019s business owners and tomorrow\u2019s to discover innovative solutions.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis program fits busy work and family schedules,\u201d said Dr. Perot, and offers the rigor of an undergraduate level class without the expense of a full undergraduate degree program.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe online certificate program features 15 academic credit hours of coursework focused on the application of proven small business development and management strategies. Courses include how to fund and find venture capital and how to use Internet marketing strategies, and the classes are based on proven theories related to day-to-day small business management and operations. Learning outcomes include enhanced analytic and creative problem solving skills and development and implementation of innovative solutions. Participants explore project management tools, leadership theories, creation and promotion of branding, and marketing and small business technologies. In fact, they complete the program with the practical skills needed to launch a new business or to take a current one to the next level.\r\n\r\n\u201cAll of the courses are built to provide additive value to any degree or career path,\u201d said Andrew Lawrence, associate vice president for online programs. \u201cIt\u2019s innovative, engaging, and quick to earn.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe four required courses for 12 credit hours include \u201cSmall Business Management,\u201d \u201cEntrepreneurial Finance and Business Planning,\u201d \u201cStrategic Internet Marketing\u201d and \u201cEntrepreneurial Implementation,\u201d a capstone course that teaches students how to finalize a business plan and practice the execution steps needed to manage a successful business. The final business plan is presented to the program\u2019s advisory board for feedback and revisions.\r\n\r\nStudents also complete one of the following elective courses for three credit hours: \u201cFranchising for the Entrepreneur,\u201d \u201cEthics for the Entrepreneur,\u201d \u201cNew Ventures for the Entrepreneur\u201d or \u201cLeadership and Change Management.\u201d Offered in a blended format of online classes and field-based projects, the curriculum builds community amongst participants and with local or regional businesses.\r\n\r\n\u201cMore so than ever, today\u2019s business environment is demanding leaders who have an entrepreneur\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nial spirit,\u201d said Dr. Perot. \u201cIt\u2019s not only what students learn, but how they learn business acumen that sets them apart. In this program, students enhance business communication skills and their technical \u2018know-how\u2019 in the creation of websites and through the use of social media tools. They also work on real-world projects with local businesses, getting hands-on, practical experience that is immediately applicable.\u201d\r\n\r\nCourses for the program are taught by working professionals and professors with practical experience in small businesses, government, and major corporations.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis certificate is a professional program that shows our commitment and investment in the southwest Virginia region,\u201d added Dr. Perot. \u201cIt is through learning, that people become empowered to take risks on their own creative gifts.\u201d\r\n\r\nFor more information about the program, visit the BC web site at bluefield.edu\/certificate, or contact Dr. Perot by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 276-326-4226. To enroll or for details about registering for the program, contact the BC Admissions Office by email at email@example.com or by phone at 800-872-0175.