Ball State receives $ 50,000 to create new tech entrepreneurship course

A new course will arrive at Ball State in the spring semester of 2022 that will merge the Department of Computer Science and the Entrepreneurship Center. The course, Digitizing Muncie, aims to bring together computer science and entrepreneurship students to form software-based startups.

As they have often collaborated on events in the past, Krystal Geyer, Deputy Director of the Entrepreneurship Center, and Huseyin Ergin, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, will present their collaborative course next semester.

“This genre was born out of a mutual interest in entrepreneurship and getting our students to develop more technologically advanced businesses,” Geyer said.

Ergin said that many students who graduate and work for a large tech company like Facebook or Amazon often start looking for new challenges around five years after starting work, which has led many to start building their own businesses in Canada. startup – one of the main reasons he and Geyer felt this partnership. was important.

Geyer and Ergin’s partnership eventually evolved into talks of working exclusively with each other in creating the course. This year, an opportunity to complete the project came in the form of a $ 50,000 prize from Elevate Ventures, an Indianapolis-based entrepreneurship firm Geyer had previously forged close ties with through the university relations team.

Geyer ultimately applied for the award and Ball State received the grant on August 11, along with the Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne, the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and the University of Evansville.

“We’ve been working on this concept for about three years, so it was an opportunity to put some money behind it and really deliver what we thought about,” said Geyer.

Their hard work will pay off when they present their course, which will be open to juniors and seniors from all departments courtesy of Ergin and Geyer – the course co-professors.

“The basis is that my students come to the table with a lot of ideas but not the technical skills to build them,” Geyer said. “[Ergin’s] students have skills but usually come up with ideas for others and don’t necessarily build their own. ”

Huseyin Ergin, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, is launching the “Digitizing Muncie” Entrepreneurship Course in the Spring Semester 2022. The course will teach computer science and entrepreneurship skills to students of all majors. Huseyin Ergin, photo provided

Although they have yet to begin marketing the course, Ergin and Geyer said they have seen some enthusiasm among students in their respective departments.

“I introduced it to our CS [computer science] welcome event… and my classes and I have seen a lot of interest among computer science students, ”Ergin said.

The course will guide students through every step of the process of building a software-based startup, from the idea phase to business creation and user acquisition.

Geyer often tells students that they should start thinking about becoming entrepreneurs while in school, as they have less to lose with the back-up plan of a degree and the safety net provided by the college. She added that many companies that people know today, such as Dropbox and Facebook, were founded by students.

“It’s a great place to start with an idea, with a less risky environment,” Ergin said. “They are free to experiment.

As well as helping students experiment and start their own businesses, Ergin and Geyer also hope that many students will eventually stay in or near Muncie after graduation so that they can contribute to the development and growth of their industry. technological.

“That’s why I named it ‘Digitizing Muncie’,” Ergin said. “It’s going to affect Muncie.”

Geyer said she hopes students will develop an idea, validate it with a user base, and possibly launch businesses after college that will hopefully stay in the area.

“We are ambitious,” Geyer said. “It sounds ambitious, and it’s really ambitious what we’re trying to do, but… it’s absolutely not unheard of.”

Contact Joey Sills with comments at [email protected] or on Twitter @sillsjoey.

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