Cornell University Establishes the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship

Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, has officially launched the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship. The program provides women entrepreneurs with the skills, knowledge, and resources to build their own businesses.

The free, 12-week online program is broken down into six courses that each last for two weeks. The topics include customer discovery; the legal building blocks of a business; assessing and obtaining financial resources; growth leadership for women entrepreneurs; product development and digital marketing; and communication, negotiation, and persuasiveness. The institute is housed at Cornell Law School and is taught by women faculty from various disciplines across campus. Despite the institute’s name, 90 percent of the course-material is gender-neutral and can benefit any entrepreneur.

“Our courses combine video, visuals and text in manageable ‘bites,’ all carefully paced,” said Deborah Streeter, the institute’s faculty director and the Bruce F. Failing Professor of Personal Enterprise and Small Business Management. “The concepts are reinforced with assignments, discussion and course projects that are tailored to the entrepreneur’s specific needs. In other words, the institute has combined practical, useful content; convenient and flexible accessibility; and the all-important human educator touch.”

In order to gauge the interest in this new institute, Cornell did a pilot launch of the program last semester. Originally, the university planned to enroll 5,000 participants in the program over the course of the next four years, but after receiving overwhelming demand for the pilot, the university now plans to enroll 10,000 students over the same time period. The pilot was a huge success, with participants rating the courses an average of 9.3 on a 10-point scale. Additionally, the pilot had a high completion rate with 55 percent of participating students finishing all six courses. That is notably higher than the six to nine percent of students who complete other massive open online courses at the university.

“What is exciting to me is that, through an online environment, the institute is now offering something women – from across the U.S. and the world – have been looking for: a supportive and private place to brainstorm solutions for challenges and share strategies for success,” said Professor Streeter.

Filed Under: Women's Studies


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