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Entrepreneurial Center (EDGE)

It's called it the "EDGE Center," short for Entrepreneurial Development through Guided Experiences (which is a bit of a mouthful). EDGE connects students with community organizations in need of communications, marketing and creative services.

The students learn technical skills, build soft skills, and gain experience to enhance their portfolios and resumes. Businesses and not-for-profit organizations gain a low-cost resource for their marketing needs.

The EDGE Center opened in 2010 as an expansion of the Augustana Web Guild model, originally founded in 1997. The Web Guild is a self-funding student organization that provides website development services for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Today, the EDGE Center now offers an array of creative services, including web design, logo and print design, event planning, social media marketing, and video editing services.

In addition to hands-on learning experiences, EDGE also provides the same services as traditional college entrepreneurial centers. These services include an Experiential Minor in Entrepreneurial Studies, the Augustana Creative Enterprise Fund, an annual business plan pitch competition, and different types of internship opportunities.

For more information about the center, contact Doug Tschopp, director, at 309-794-7426 or dougtschopp@augustana.edu.

Entrepreneurship at Augustana

Experiential Minor in Entrepreneurial Studies

Available to students of all majors upon completion of four required courses and a related learning experience. The learning experience is done through the EDGE Center and can either be an experiential component or an entrepreneurial internship.

Internships

Students can participate in EDGE solely as an extracurricular activity, or they can register their experiences for internship credit.

EDGE also offers summer internships to at least 10 students every year. These internships are unpaid, but may be eligible for stipends or Augie Choice. Students participating in an internship, whether during the summer or the school year, dedicate time to an immersive experience. Interns learn technical skills, but they also build soft skills such as client communication and project management that are critical to running a successful business.

Summer internship stipends

Stipends are available through the Rogers Fund for up to five students per year to complete a summer internship in the EDGE Center. These summer internships are an immersive experience in which students work full-time for a minimum of 10 weeks leading the EDGE Center’s creative services. Students learn through hands-on experience providing high quality work for local small businesses and nonprofits.

Augustana Creative Enterprise Fund (ACEF)

ACEF provides grant funding for students who are interested in exploring entrepreneurship. The grant supports a range of opportunities that include, but are not limited to, business and social entrepreneurship, education ventures, and sustainable community development programs domestically and in developing countries.

Students who can effectively link the fine and performing arts or music education to the proposed venture are particularly encouraged to apply.

Business Plan Competition

Each year students are invited to submit business plans to be judged for a business pitch competition. Money is awarded to the top plans each year. Some plans start as an idea sparked in a class, maybe from a personal interest, or from EDGE Center experiences. The written plans are judged in the first round and the top plans then are presented in a “pitch” to a new set of judges in the final competition. (See the 2020 winners.)