On August 28, 2023, the 10 participants in cohort six of Goodwin University’s Entrepreneurial Network (ENet) program presented their “pitches” and received their small business start-up certificates. With 100 previous graduates, ENet is an 18-college credit program for underserved and incarcerated populations that provides a quality educational experience focused on essential business skills such as accounting, management, marketing, professional presentation, and positive community impact. ENet’s goals are to assist and educate a wide range of students who can benefit from further financial independence.
The 2023 event was held at the Cybulski Community Reintegration Center in Somers, Connecticut, with some guests attending virtually. Dr. Matt Connell, ENet program director, shared with the participants: “I am so proud to have taken this educational journey with you,” and encouraged them to continue to strive in turning their entrepreneurial visions into realities.
This year’s proposed business plans included business loans, information technology services, electrical services, medical transport services, trucking services, towing services, landscaping, automotive detailing, collision repair, and real estate. Interestingly, one participant was calling in remotely from his current job at a company established by a previous ENet graduate.
Among the guest speakers was Matthew McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations, a venture capital organization and a leading source of ongoing support for innovative, growing companies. He praised the ENet participants on their “lived experiences,” and encouraged them to reach out to Connecticut Innovations for guidance in moving their dreams forward. “You really are ready to start your businesses now,” he said.
Following was Goodwin University president Mark Scheinberg, who looked back on his beginnings as a 24-year-old entrepreneur and urged the participants to keep their hopes high for success. “People’s dreams are alive and well. I’ve gone to the ribbon-cuttings for their new businesses. It’s all real.” Having watched the participants’ presentations, he noted their “depth of thought” as they outlined their plans.
After awarding their certificates to the participants, Connell reminded them that they are eligible to march in the University’s formal Commencement ceremony to be held in June 2024.
Learn more about the ENet program at www.goodwin.edu/enet.