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Clemson Extension launches Columbia entrepreneurship program

CLEMSON — Clemson University Extension will help low- to moderate-income individuals launch businesses as part of new program funded by the city of Columbia.

Extension associate Stanley Green is bringing the international Ice House Entrepreneurship Program to Columbia’s Eau Claire community with the hopes of teaching working residents how to dream like entrepreneurs.
“We’re asking participants to think outside of themselves and to identify a problem that exists that they feel they can solve through the provision of a service. Entrepreneurship is about developing a business model that allows you to capitalize on solving problems in your community,” said Green, who works in the Clemson Institute for Economic and Community Development. “This program is about helping people self-discover and empowering them to take what they know and pursue their dream.”

Participants will attend one weekly, three-hour class for 10 weeks learning tips from successful entrepreneurs, business people and financial experts. Classes include case studies of people who have built successful businesses with limited resources.

“The beauty of it is that they are everyday people,” Green said. “They are not people with multiple degrees or financial backing or MBAs or corporate jobs. These are folks are out there working every day.”

Green will offer three 10-week courses over a 12-month period with the goal of helping up to 60 aspiring entrepreneurs operate business full or part time. Participation eligibility is based on income guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The program is funded with a Community Development Block Grant from the city of Columbia. The city’s Eau Claire community on the north side has suffered from increased poverty as businesses have left the area, Green said. The Ice House program will aid the city’s redevelopment efforts in the community.

Interested participants can contact Green at 803-699-3189 or icehous@clemson.edu to apply. The program is free and the first course begins Sept. 1. Applications are due by Aug. 14.

The Ice House Entrepreneurship Program was developed by the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative in partnership with Clifton Taulbert’s Building Community Institute and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

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