LAFAYETTE, Ind.  - According to the Small Business Administration, about half of all small businesses fail within the first five years of operation. Common reasons include inadequate funding, poor planning and management missteps. In Indiana, there are more than half a million small businesses that employ more than 1.2 million workers.

To assist new and existing small businesses across the region, Ivy Tech Community College Lafayette will begin the first cohort under the Garatoni School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in March.  The Garatoni School was developed in partnership with Regional Innovation and Startup Education (R.I.S.E.). The School was piloted at four Ivy Tech campuses for the 2021-2022 academic year and the Ivy Tech Lafayette campus has been added to offer the program this semester.

Ivy Tech Lafayette will kick off the first cohort on March 20 at Matchbox in downtown Lafayette. The first courses will include entrepreneurial foundations, mindset and awareness, and new venture development. Students gain insight into starting a business or making their current business more successful

The courses will be led by instructor Mark Lowe, an entrepreneur who has launched six businesses since 2003. “The courses are non-traditional in the sense that they take students through the process from an initial idea through a business plan, financing, and to launch,” said Lowe. “It’s a workshop environment to help students create a business plan and see it through to actual launch.”

Other activities include touring local businesses and meeting founders, networking with entrepreneurs, banks and venture capitalists, and hearing from guest speakers. Students will have the opportunity to pitch their business ideas in front of investors.

For more information on the Garatoni School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, contact Mark Lowe at or (765) 426-3855, the School office at (765) 269-5700, or visit

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.