The Herald-Times
It’s Your Business

Posted: Friday, July 25, 2014 2:00 am

By Steve Bryant A Bloomington voice

On Sept. 18, the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship will host its fifth annual Cook Institute for Entrepreneurship in Bloomington. Our speaker will be Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, a global leader in human capital solutions. He has a great story to share about taking a startup business and making it into a market-leading company.

The reason for the event is to showcase successful business people with Indiana ties so they can inspire the future entrepreneurs in our community and also let us know what it’s like out there, so we can make our region more competitive when it comes to starting or growing a business. We don’t have to have Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg in town to find good stories from people right in our backyard.

Jeff Smulyan, CEO of Emmis Communications in Indianapolis, was our speaker in 2013 and talked about the importance of executing ideas and taking risks. In 2012, Pat Miller, co-founder of Vera Bradley, stressed the importance of starting small, reinvesting in your business and following your passion. In 2011, Mickey Maurer from the National Bank of Indianapolis talked about the top 10 things he never learned in business school that are paramount to success in business.

Our event and our center were named after Gayle and Bill Cook, who have arguably one of the best stories in Indiana. If you have not read “The Bill Cook Story,” co-written by Bob Hammel, you’re missing out on some great insight into how to start a successful business (along with a few unsuccessful ones). Drop by the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship and we’ll lend you a copy. All of these esteemed Hoosier business leaders have stories to tell and experiences to share, and we are fortunate that we get to showcase this each year for our students and the community.

As we work collaboratively with other professionals and organizations in our region to grow our entrepreneurial ecosystem, we need to keep telling these stories, so that those who want to take their idea to the next level will understand the risks of starting a business but also will be inspired to move forward with their idea. We also need to enable strong networks and events where budding entrepreneurs can meet, share contacts and educate each other. Us “agency types” can help, but the people who have been down that road possess perspective and they are who most budding entrepreneurs want to learn from.

If you are interested in our upcoming event, contact the Cook Center at 812-330-6261 for more information.

Steve Bryant is executive director of the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington. Next week’s column will be by Bloomington’s Danise Alano-Martin.


About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.