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IVC Entrepreneurship Department featured in the Orange County Business Journal

Irvine Valley College (IVC) Entrepreneurship Program Builds In-Demand Skills and Launches Innovative Partnerships

Originally published in the Orange County Business Journal

Entrepreneurship skills are invaluable for everyone, whether they plan to open their own business or work in any industry.

The one-of-a-kind Irvine Valley College (IVC) entrepreneurship program offers 13 concise, eight-week classes geared to help prospective and current entrepreneurs start and operate small businesses. Many of these classes are taught by experienced entrepreneurs and can lead to certificates in entrepreneurship.

IVC is one of Orange County’s top community colleges, but it offers area learners more than a pathway to a four-year university. Many established career professionals return to IVC to learn new skills or to develop their own business ideas. Current high school and college students benefit from such knowledge as well. The IVC entrepreneurship program’s focus is on developing the entrepreneurial mindset. This way of thinking is valuable across all disciplines and is applicable both to would-be entrepreneurs as well as to those seeking to work for another company.

Students taking IVC entrepreneurship courses can earn up to five Certificates of Proficiency in entrepreneurship. The available certificates include Entrepreneurial Planning and Presentation; Entrepreneurship Skills; Idea Development and Opportunity Recognition for Entrepreneurs; Research Tools for Entrepreneurs; and Understanding Entrepreneurial Operations.

The IVC entrepreneurship program also participates in partnerships and relationships with other entrepreneurship organizations within Orange County, such as the Tech Coast Venture Network (TCVN), which provides educational workshops, networking events, and mentors to aspiring business startups.

TCVN recently elected their first female president, Maryam Edah Tally, who was an IVC entrepreneurship student. Such partnerships give IVC students the opportunity to attend events such as pitch competitions, as well as the chance to acquire mentorships and internships with startup companies and serial entrepreneurs.

Studies have shown the importance of learning entrepreneurial skills at an early age, and how such an education is beneficial to developing career and life skills. IVC’s entrepreneurship program partners with five high schools in the Tustin and Irvine school districts to offer the program through dual-enrollment entrepreneurship and business classes. In this innovative program, high school students earn college credits as well as IVC entrepreneurship certificates. The college has most recently partnered with the Legacy Magnet Academy in Tustin, where junior high students also are now able to learn entrepreneurial skills.

The entrepreneurship program at IVC also hosts a weeklong summer entrepreneurship workshop for junior high and high school students to give them a taste of the entrepreneurial journey, helping them develop an entrepreneurial mindset as well as their own business startup ideas. During this workshop, students hear from industry entrepreneurs and take field trips to local maker spaces and innovation centers in Orange County while creating their business idea. Students then pitch their idea on the final day of the workshop.

Each year, the IVC entrepreneurship program hosts an Idea Pitch Competition, open to both IVC and dual-enrolled high school students. The competition creates an opportunity for all students in all areas of study to display their ideas for new and innovative products and services and be judged by local experts.

Last year, the competition format was a combination of The Voice and Shark Tank. In the first round of pitching, nine contestants were selected by entrepreneurial mentors to join their team. Mentors guided students through setting up their business ideas, pitching, and presentation skills. In the final round, the contestants pitched their ideas and business concepts to investors and entrepreneurs for a chance to win cash awards and business startup services.
This year’s two-round competition takes place virtually on April 20 and May 11.
To learn more about the IVC entrepreneurship program, visit or email Professor John Russo at