If You Qualify, Take Advantage of Rutgers Entrepreneurship Program By Feb. 10

Readers of NJTechWeekly.com have been asking us via Twitter to investigate a program being offered by Rutgers University that appears to provide free entrepreneurship training worth $8,000. We spoke to William Bigoness, executive director of the Rutgers Center for Management Development, and Debbie McDermott who is administering the program, to find out more about what is going on.

The first thing to know about the Rutgers program is that there is a hard deadline of February 10th to get your application in to Rutgers and there were only 30 total slots available. The second thing is: only the unemployed can apply, and the New Jersey Department of Labor will check to make sure you are unemployed. There’s plenty of paperwork involved. Nevertheless, if you meet these criteria and you are a novice entrepreneur, then the program seems like a useful place to put your time.

If you are receiving unemployment insurance, however, you might want to pause before applying. A stipulation of the course is that you will not be eligible for unemployment extensions beyond the customary 26 weeks once you’ve taken advantage of this opportunity.

For tech oriented unemployed entrepreneurs, however, this could be just the thing you need. The program will give you a broader understanding of how complex it really is to get a business off the ground than just the “tech” perspective.  Bigoness says the topics you can expect to learn about are What to Expect in Being an Entrepreneur, How to Register and Manage a New Business, How to Write a Business Plan, Basic Finance and Accounting Skills, Sales & Marketing Techniques (including Online Marketing), How to Manage Your Operations, and Sources of Financing for Your Business. Registrants can expect a total of 60 “contact hours,” in a classroom setting offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting in March in Piscataway, NJ on the Rutgers Livingston Campus.

In addition, there is a mentoring component to the program. Each participant gets 20 private hours with a coach to help guide them in forming a business plan for a business that they want to launch. Teaching the courses will be both full-time and adjunct faculty members from Rutgers University as well as consultants who have started their own businesses. The executive coaches have, in some cases, formed two or three businesses in their own right, Bigoness said.

McDermott said there are several seats still available, and that the response has been extremely positive. Bigoness said that the “Federal Government and the State Government combined to provide funding to allow people who are unemployed to go back to an educational environment and acquire the skills necessary to start their own businesses.” Most of the funds came from the State of N.J.

As a courtesy we are providing contact information here. Get in touch with Debbie McDermott at the Rutgers Center for Management Development for an ETPU Application and for scheduling information. Phone: 848-445-4720 email:mcdermott@cmd.rutgers.edu.

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