BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus announces it has established the Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship. The center is established in recognition that the local small business and economic development community are in need of a point of entry for the practical application of entrepreneurial skills and ideas. Ivy Tech has named Steve Bryant the center’s executive director.
Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus Chancellor John Whikehart said, “Ivy Tech is honored that Gayle and Bill Cook have permitted the Center to be named for their countless contributions to our community, region and state, and to their example of the entrepreneurial spirit. Steve Bryant’s experience in maintaining important relationships with businesses in and outside of Bloomington will serve him well as he assists in the development and implementation of this unique initiative.” Whikehart added that the center, based on the previous campus models of the Center for Civic Engagement and the Indiana Center for the Life Sciences, will serve individuals, integrate studies into the credit and non-credit curriculum, and seek to engage the broader community in its activities.
The Center’s goal is to distinguish itself from other business schools and programs by its emphasis on practical application of business tools, and seeks participants for noncredit and advising programs who demonstrate the potential for entrepreneurial activity. Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus defines entrepreneur as an individual who seeks to organize and manage an innovative business undertaking, assuming risk for the sake of benefit. In addition, several academic program and certificate pathways will be developed for enrolled students who want to pursue entrepreneurial studies. The campus will also launch an annual “Cook Institute for Entrepreneurship”, modeled on the “O’Bannon Institute for Community Service”, that will include a day of activities and recognitions.
“Entrepreneurs and the companies they create have long been an economic engine for our region, our state and our nation,” said Kem Hawkins, president of Cook Medical. “Steve Bryant has shown that he understands the practical elements that are needed so companies can survive then thrive. Choosing Steve Bryant to lead the Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship is a strong first step for an important educational initiative that is sure to bring opportunity, growth and new jobs to the region for decades to come.”
“The vitality of a community depends in large measure upon its entrepreneurs – the men and women in our society who take the risks and create the companies that in turn lead to jobs and economic vitality,” said Steve Ferguson, chairman of the board of Cook Group, Inc. “Steve Bryant understands that the future of our region depends upon entrepreneurs and the jobs they create for Indiana workers and their families.”
Bryant recently served as business development and marketing manager at BioConvergence. He has extensive experience in business development, small business operations and non-profit and government relations roles. He serves on community and statewide boards and committees including Life Sciences Advisory Board for the IU Kelley School of Business, the Indiana Health Industry Forum, the Bloomington Life Sciences Partnership, Centerstone Research Institute, Region 8 Workforce Board and the Foundation of Monroe County Community Schools.
“I am honored to be part of this exciting new program to help build resources for students, entrepreneurs and the community through the Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech,” Bryant said. “I am looking forward to partnering with numerous organizations to create a successful program.”
Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus serves residents and businesses in Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, and Owen counties.
Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public post-secondary institution and the nation’s largest singly-accredited statewide community college system with more than 150,000 students enrolled annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.