a partnership between
The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Johnstown Area Regional Industries (JARI)
The Pitt-Johnstown-JARI RealWorld Link for Entrepreneurship is a partnership that fosters entrepreneurship and develops business acumen by linking college students to job shadowing and internship opportunities with successful entrepreneurs in our region. Building upon JARI's extensive network of entrepreneurs and Pitt-Johnstown's commitment to getting students ready for the real world, the RealWorld Link will create job capacity for students upon graduation and foster economic development. The RealWorld Link provides students with the skills and experience necessary to take identifiable and concrete steps toward achieving their entrepreneurial aspirations including the creation of a business, commercialization of an opportunity, invention, or other entrepreneurial activity.
A 2011 survey by the Young Entrepreneur Council found that less than one-third of respondents were offered an entrepreneurship class in college – and only 30% of those individuals felt the class was helpful. The RealWorld Link will supplement classroom instruction by providing opportunities to link theory to practice with successful entrepreneurs. In the face of a youth unemployment rate that is twice the national average in many communities, providing the support necessary for college students to create jobs for themselves and others is critical. A March 5, 2012 Time magazine article, "How Entrepreneurship Can Fix Young America," suggested strategies to foster business development by young people. Among the top-five strategies were integrating academia and the real world, investing and mentoring young entrepreneurs, and fostering entrepreneurship at the regional level. The RealWorld Link employs these strategies, and more:
- Job Shadowing
By shadowing successful entrepreneurs, students will have the opportunity to link theory to practice and develop a better understanding of the challenges and benefits of being your own boss.
Local entrepreneurs will share insights, success stories, and lessons learned to provide students with the support they need to fully understand the art and practice of entrepreneurship.
- Foster Creativity
Inventive students will be given the encouragement and opportunity to experiment and test their ideas in the real world and will be provided with advice on how to launch their ideas while still in school
By creating awareness of the available resources (i.e., financial, intellectual, and legal) to bring ideas to fruition, young entrepreneurs will be able to jump-start their entrepreneurial ventures.
Offering a forum for student entrepreneurs to cooperate and collaborate among themselves and with other regional entrepreneurs will lead to the evolution of a broad professional network.
- Business Incubator
Providing a basis for business incubation by young students will enable them to grow and test their ideas in the real world.
Students will be given the opportunity to promote their concepts and products through various methods including presentations to the business community.