TCAT Elizabethtton students to get advice on starting their own business

John Thompson • Updated Jun 14, 2016 at 9:50 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Elizabethton has a 50-year tradition of turing out highly trained graduates that can be of immediate benefit to employers. Now the school is offering a program for students who want to put their skills to work for themselves.

Both students and graduates of the school may learn how to start their own businesses from the director and assistant director of the East Tennessee State University Innovation Lab. The meeting will be at 1 p.m. on June 22 in the auditorium of the Administration Building at the TCAT campus at 426 Tenn. Highway 91.

Audrey Depelteau, director of the lab, and Liz Lewis, assistant director, will discuss business incubation with a focus on the essential elements of creating a business model.

“In addition to the technology-based residential members, the ETSU Innovation Lab has assisted approximately 50 individuals and companies, including medical device developers, neutraceutical companies, farmers, students and others in developing their business model.

Several recent graduates of TCAT-Elizabethton programs in automotive, electricity,heating and airconditioning, and computer information technology have started their own business, according to TCAT Director Dean Blevins.

“Lessons learned from the ETSU Innovation Lab will go a long way in helping TCAT students be successful as they consider job opportunities in the workplace,” Blevins said.

The ETSU Innovation Lab is a high-tech business incubator. Among business incubators, 54 percent are mixed-use, 37 percent are technology, six percent have a service/niche, i.e. art, kitchen, and three percent are manufacturing, Depelteau said. The Innovation Lab is one of 31 incubators worldwide that has received the prestigious International Soft Landings Designation to recruit and assist international companies as they enter the United States market.

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