The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Entrepreneurs embrace the Technology Institute

Faculty and alums of Entrepreneurship & Technology Certificate Program
Dr. Rich Becherer, back row, sixth from left and Drs. Larry Ettkin and John Schearer, far right, second row, stand with new alums from the Entrepreneurship & Technology Certificate Program

Entrepreneurs embrace Technology Institute program

A diverse group of students who completed the Entrepreneurship & Technology Certificate Program at UTC enjoyed the experience so much, many of them decided to continue to meet in a newly formed alumni group.

Attorney Benjamin Pitts completed the certificate program, looking for a way to "benefit from the exposure of the accumulated academic research done in an entrepreneurial environment." Pitts and a partner recently launched a business using technology to manage network traffic.

Pitts enjoyed meeting others in the certificate program who are starting or preparing to start a business, and he says he believed there was value in helping to organize the alumni group.

"Our objective is to keep the group loose and social, so that we can get together and exchange ideas. Participants in the program had different backgrounds and objectives, but we can learn from each other," Pitts said.

The program was a joint effort initiated by the Riverbend Technology Institute, the UTC College of Business Administration, Tech2020, and the Center for Entrepreneurial Growth (CEG) in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory - managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy, New Economy Institute, and The Enterprise Center. Professors from the UTC College of Business Administration offered the fast-track, non-credit program covering topics ranging from legal issues for small business owners to creating a business plan to obtain financing.

Dr. John Schearer, director of the Riverbend Technology Institute said the certificate program meets the needs of the working person trying to start a business. "They often cannot wait four years to earn an undergraduate degree or even two years to finish a master's degree," Schearer said.

Schearer said the first class included participants with six years and more of retail, finance, manufacturing, business, and many who either started a business or were ready to start a new venture. Participants gave positive feedback at the conclusion of the certificate program, and Schearer says he is supportive of the notion to offer the certificate program again in the future.

The Riverbend Technology Institute is a public-private partnership initiative between the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, UTC, and community partners. The institute's mission is to support the establishment of high technology industries and work collaboratively in furthering the understanding and development of technology and its effective applications. The institute sponsors presentations increasing public awareness of technology, applications, technology issues, and Chattanooga's growing involvement in high tech industries.

For more information about the Riverbend Technology Institute, please call (423)425-2177.